Everyone asks for forgiveness, even great saints.
Even the fathers who lived in the deserts gave this piece of advice to whoever asked them for a word of benefit which is “stay in your cell and cry over your
And in the pray that God taught us, that we pray
many times everyday, at its ending we have: “And
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us.”
And asking for forgiveness is necessary, because
no one lives without sinning, even if his life was one
day on Earth. And St. John the apostle says: “If we
say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and
the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8) as St. James the
apostle says: “… For we all stumble in many things.”
(Js 3:2). How wonderful is the saying of St. Paul the
apostle “… sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Ti 1:15).
So long as there is sin, then we have to ask for
forgiveness, so that God’s mercies reach us and He
forgives our sins…
God is merciful and forgiving by nature.
It was said about Him in the pslam that He is
good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy
(Ps 86:5). And no doubt His forgiveness comes out of
His mercy, and out of His knowledge of our human
nature which has a physical body and lives in a
tangible world. Prophet David says about that “For He
knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
(Ps 103:14). And so he praises in the same psalm
and says “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not
all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who
heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from
destruction” (Ps 103:2). And Prophet Moses said
about the Lord “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful
and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in
goodness… forgiving iniquity and transgression and
sin, by no means clearing the guilty” (Ex 34:6, 7).
God forgives. But forgiveness has conditions
1. The first condition for forgiveness is
And it is a main condition; without it forgiveness
can never happen. And the Lord Christ concentrates
on this condition and says “…but unless you repent
you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3, 5). And so, His
Glory, was concerned to invite sinners to forgiveness
(Mt 9:13). And at the beginning of His preaching He
used to say to people: “Repent, and believe in the
gospel.” (Mk 1:15). Also John the Baptist used to say
to Pharisees and Sadducees “Who warned you to flee
from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy
of repentance” (Mt 3:7, 8)…
And repentance means regret and humility as we
saw in the repentance of Prophet David who said in
his repentance “All night I make my bed swim; I
drench my couch with my tears.” (Ps 6) and said “My
soul clings to the dust” (Ps 119:25).
And the real repentance means in its content not
returning to the sin again. The repentants that history
told us about did not only refrain from sin but grew in
the life of virtue until they became saints.
Real repentance, when grows reaches God’s love
and the Lord said about the repentant who wet His
feet with her tears that “her sins, which are many,
are forgiven, for she loved much” (Lk 7:47). And He
added from the other side that “to whom little is
forgiven, the same loves little”.
2. With repentance, the repentant works on
treating the results of sin as much as he
The most significant example of this is the saying
of Zacchaeus the tax collector in his repentance
“…and if I have taken anything from anyone by false
accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Lk 19:8) therefore he
deserved the saying of the Lord about him “Today
salvation has come to this house…”.
Therefore, if someone was unjust with against
someone else, it is not enough that he goes to his
confession father, confesses and asks for absolution
to forgive his sin, but he should remove this
unjustness from this unjustly treated person and give
him back his right… So should who steals do, he
should return back what he stole to its owner… And
so should happen with the rest of the sins, as much
as possible, to gain forgiveness…
3. One of the conditions of God’s forgiveness to
you also is that you also forgive who did
wrong against you…
And this is clear from the saying of the Lord
Christ “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Lk 6:37).
This is a condition. And the Lord has stressed on this
condition in specific, in the Lord’s prayer which He
taught us. And He said after it “For if you forgive men
their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also
forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses.” (Mt 6:14, 15)… He repeats the condition
and refrains from forgiving if we do not forgive. And
so He taught us to say in our prayer “And forgive us
our debts, As we forgive our debtors” (Mt 6:12). And
He explains that in His saying “For with the same
measure that you use, it will be measured back to
you.” (Lk 6:38).
And St. Peter the apostle asked the Master, the
Lord saying “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.” (Mt 18:21,
22). Meaning up to countless number of times. Then
He gave them the parable of the servant who owed
his master ten thousand talents. But as he was not
able to pay, his master released him, and forgave him
the debt. And when that servant went out, and he
met someone who owed him a hundred denarii and
he did not forgive him… the master of that servant
returned and ordered him to be punished because he
did not show mercy towards his brother so he became
unworthy of mercy.
4. Another condition is not to judge others.
And in that the Lord says “Judge not, that you be
not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you
will be judged…” (Mt 7:1, 2)… This means that for
God not to judge you but forgive you, you have to not
judge others and not condemn them…
_God’s work in Forgiveness_
We move to another point.
1. He does not punish for it:
And in that the chanter says about God’s
forgiveness: “He has not dealt with us according to
our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.”
(Ps 103:10). And the Lord says in the Prophet
Ezekiel’s book about the repentant “But if a wicked
man turns from all his sins which he has committed…
he shall surely live; he shall not die” (Ez 18:21).
And what is meant by not punishing is not
punishing in eternity because the repentant can be
punished on Earth like what happened to David
although his sin was forgiven (2 S 12:7-13).
2. The Lord also in His forgiveness, covers the
sin and does not impute for it.
And in that prophet David says in the psalm
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose
sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD
does not impute iniquity” (Ps 32:1, 2). And St. Paul
the apostle repeated these two verses in his epistle to
Romans (Ro 4:7, 8) and said “that God was in Christ
reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their
trespasses to them” (2 Co 5:19)… Then in forgiving,
there is also reconciliation with God.
3. But also in God’s forgiveness for our sins, He
does not remember them anymore.
As was said about that, in Prophet Jeremiah’s
Book, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I
will remember no more” (Jr 31:34). And said about
the repentant, in Prophet Ezekiel’s Book, “None of the
transgressions which he has committed shall be
remembered against him” (Ez 18:22).
And so in forgiveness, he removes sin from the
man as was said in the psalm “As far as the east
is from the west, So far has He removed our
transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12).
And in that distancing, He moves it to the Lord
Christ’s Cross, as per the promise that was said to
David “The LORD also has put away your sin; you
shall not die” (2 S 12:13).
And Prophet Isaiah said about that “All we like sheep
have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his
own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity
of us all” (Is 53:6).
4. And some of the deepest sayings in forgiving
sins, is that God erases them.
And that is what David asked for in the fiftieth
psalm when he said to the Lord “According to the
multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my
transgressions” (Ps 51:1).
Bu God also washes the repentant and cleanses
him. And so Davis says to him in the same psalm
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse
me from my sin.” And more that that he says “Wash
me, and I shall be whiter than snow” and “And
cleanse me from my sin”.
The next point is that sins that God forgive:
These are all the sins that the man repents for.
Either sins of work, senses thoughts and heart, or
Some of these are also the unintentional sins as
was mentioned in the Leviticus Book about the
trespass offering and sin offering: “If a person sins
unintentionally against any of the commandments of
the LORD in anything which ought not to be done,
and does any of them…” (Lv 4:1), he brings an
offering… “So the priest shall make atonement for
him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did
not know it, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Lv 5:17,
The offering for forgiveness and the atonement
for forgiveness, although Prophet David said “Who
can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret
faults. Keep back Your servant also from
presumptuous sins” (Ps 19:12).
So secret faults also need repentance and forgiving.
We notice that we pray in the three Holy prayer
“Absolve, forgive, and remit, O God, our
transgressions; those which we have committed
willingly and those we have committed
unwillingly, those which we have committed
knowingly and those which we have committed
unknowingly, the hidden and manifest, O Lord
So the sins committed willingly need forgiveness.
So does the sins committed in ignorance and done
unknowingly. And so does the secret sins…
And no doubt, every one of these needs
explaining and elaboration.
And we say in our prayers also “O Lord, forgive us
our sins. O Lord, forgive us our iniquities. O Lord,
forgive us our trespasses.” And this also needs
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