In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Forgiveness is much more than pardon. Pardon is not a New Testament word at all; it does not occur in the New Testament, only in the Old Testament. Pardon is only the remitting the punishment of sins; forgiveness goes deeper — it is the taking away the memory of sins; it is an act of the heart which cancels both the punishment and the sin itself. Both words, "pardon" from the French, and "forgiveness" from the English, or Saxon, both have in them the word "gift." It is a gift. Both the remitting the penalty, and the banishment of the thought of the wrong thing that has been done out of the heart, both are a gift. But forgiveness is the greater gift; it is pardon and forgiveness as well, for if you are forgiven, the sin itself is divided from the person forgiven, as though it had never been. All that is wanted is to go for your forgiveness in a right state of mind. That state of mind means four things.
I. You must feel and confess that you have sinned — sinned against God. It is not enough to feel that you have sinned against man, or to your own injury: you must feel and own from the bottom of your heart that you have offended God. "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned."
II. You must have a sincere and holy resolve in you heart that you will not commit that sin any more; that you will lead a better and religious life. This resolve must be firm and earnest, with a deep sense of your own weakness and inability to keep the promise; but you are prepared to meet any sacrifice, and overcome all difficulties, God helping you.
III. You must come with the faith that God can, and will, and does forgive you, for the sake of Him who has already paid all your debt, and satisfied His justice.
IV. You must be in a state of forgiveness, forgiveness with all who have ever injured you. These four are the only prerequisites which God has laid down as necessary for the forgiveness of every sin. Besides these, not only you need not, you must not bring anything in your hand. No merit, no plea, but that you are a poor sinner, and that "God is love," and that Christ has died for you and instead of you, and suffered your punishment. Can those forgiven sins ever rise up again? Never, never! See what God says upon that subject: "The scapegoat is borne away into a land not inhabited." Who shall see them, or talk about them, where there is none to speak? "A land not inhabited." They shall not be mentioned. They are nailed to the cross. They are dead and buried, and there is no resurrection to a forgiven sin. God has put them behind His back, where He cannot see them! Do you say I make it too easy? Would it not be presumptuous to believe in such an instant and complete forgiveness? Would there not be encouragements for the careless to go on and sin again, because they can again be so easily forgiven? Let me tell you what will be the effect. The feeling of that forgiveness, the wonderful surprise that you are forgiven; that God's eye is on you; that you are His own dear child, and that you may, notwithstanding all the past, serve Him and please Him, and be happy in this world and go to heaven when you die; this will melt you to tears, it will melt your heart to tears. You will be so soft. Your penitence, after you feel forgiven, will be much deeper than before you were forgiven.
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;