This is a modified version of a letter I wrote to a friend last night. My friend posted some thought: these motivated me to read the Bible for explicit instance and institutions of forgiveness -- aim being for first human, though I broadened out. As I read, I inclined to agree with another's distinction. There are two forms to forgiveness.
The first form of forgiveness is that we push ourselves to move past instances when we have been harmed and acted against. The second is an active forgiveness that is reciprocal to the action of forgiveness requested -- by sorrow, requested of forgiveness, apology, etc. The first is exponentially harder unless we have been given the opportunity of the second -- and acted upon it.
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-9 NKJV)."
The Lord himself has forgiven all, but we only have his forgiveness when we confess that we have sin in us to be forgiven. To do elsewise is an active rejection of the forgiveness and the salvation. Thus it is that we have Confession and Absolution with any full service of Word and Sacrament.
In Genesis 50- Joseph's brothers begged of Joseph to forgive them and threw themselves at his feet and upon his mercy. (See esp. Genesis 50:18-20.)
In Exodus 10- Pharaoh begged Moses to petition God on his behalf and forgive him after the plague locusts, but he changed his mind and God hardened his heart after the locusts were taken from Egypt. (See esp. Exodus 10:16-18.)
In Exodus 32 and 34, and throughout Leviticus and Numbers, the Lord holds his righteous anger against Israel and Himself only explicitly forgives when Moses petitions him on behalf of the people.
Matthew 18:21 and 22 is where Jesus says how we ought to forgive, upon Peter's asking. "Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" However, in an interesting fact of rhetoric I have noticed recently, this comes immediately following ht often cited passage regarding how to confront our brothers, Matthew 18:15-20.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:13-16)."
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:3-11)..."
"Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—' (Hebrews 8:8)"
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34).”
"But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin (Hebrews 10:15-18)."
In all, we view and act and forgive in love as Christ gave the penultimate forgiveness, and when we do not -- as we cannot forgive all being adulterated -- that Forgiveness stands for us and for the forgiveness we fail for to give. God required that the purest blood be shed for there to be the highest forgiveness and then he shed blood purer than the purest man had of him to offer, so all forgiveness possible was accomplished.
"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2)."
I wish that you all be well.
You are blessed.
You are 'simul iustus et peccator'.
God bless, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
(And may His peace be with you, as it surely is.)
I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
(1 John 2:12-14)