Remedy for sin: a ‘gospel sermon’

Number 611 • February 4, 2021

A “Gospel Sermon”

Mark 2:16-17 (and parallels) provides a basis for calling Jesus the “Great Physician.” In replying to complaints from self-righteous persons about his association with sinners Jesus made an analogy: sin is a spiritual sickness; he is a spiritual physician – not remote and detached but directly involved with his patients. Those who recognize and realize they are sick seek his attention and receive it. Our prime concern should be that of Jesus – healing the sin-sick soul, removal of sin and its consequences from human lives. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan, #pardon, #sin

Last words (for now) about forgiveness

Number 580 • November 1, 2020


This will conclude a four part essay on forgiveness. Not all your questions – not even all the questions that have been asked of me – are given attention, but I have tried to answer the most frequently asked ones. The most often asked and seldom answered adequately, having to do with “the unpardonable sin,” the last in this segment, is the last we shall attend to in the essay. The answers given are left open to some extent, inviting you to do additional study on your own – or ask more specific questions. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

The penultimate word about forgiveness

Number 579 • October 31, 2020


This will have some disconnected comments on various aspects of the problem of how and when and whom to forgive in order to be forgiven yourself, as discussed in two prior segments of the essay. Some of these are frequently asked questions; some are simply extensions and addenda to prior comments.


Some like to think forgiveness granted when requested for one wrongdoing implies and includes forgiveness for all wrongs and errors even if not mentioned in the request. Maybe so, if one makes a general but non-specific confession with implied general repentance and correction, but if it is an effort to secure a general forgiveness and amnesty without repentance or correction, it will be rejected and denied. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

More about forgiveness


Number 578 • October 30, 2020


Response to Periodical Number 573, was quick and not always positive or polite. Not much was said in the essay about forgiveness to be given to you – that wasn’t the central point. But the suggested “test” regarding forgiveness to be given to others by you and the unlikelihood of being forgiven if you yourself were unforgiving seems to have been disconcerting and upsetting, striking a particularly sensitive and painful nerve.

As a lame and late retrospective apology and defense, I need to add a bit to the narrative for clarity and balance. I have in fact written about forgiveness at other times – some of which I will repeat here shortly – but do not always remember and admit that most writings, not only mine but those of others, are probably taken as stand-alone declarations. People may forget, or may not have received and understood any prior statements one has made. They do not, perhaps cannot, put things together to form a cogent understanding and conclusion. So each argument must be treated fully, if not comprehensively, in each iteration. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

How forgiving and forgiven are you?

Number 573 • October 25, 2020


Let’s get right to the point: If you are unforgiving you will be unforgiven. Jesus said it: (Ask God to) forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…. If you forgive others your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).

This principle applies in many ways. If you are not merciful to others you will not receive mercy – at least not from God (James 2:13). One who refuses to hear the cries of a needy brother will not be heard when he himself cries out in need or distress (Proverbs 21:13, compare James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:17). If you are not doing for or to others as required it will not be done to or for you when you require it. Don’t stop with Matthew 6 – continue without break into Matthew 7. The kind of judgment (reasonable, harsh, hypocritical, double standard, etc) you give others determines the kind of judgment you will receive. For example: Matthew 7:1ff. Those who judge with strict judgment, without mercy, without consideration of extenuating or mitigating circumstances, etc. will receive no mercy, etc when they are judged (compare James 2:13).


It is not just ignoring the sin and those who wrong us, turning a blind eye or refusing to notice, refusing to hold others accountable. God does not overlook sins and neither should His people – God does not tell us to do so. Forgiveness does not mean sin somehow becomes invisible, to God or to any others. God’s omniscience means He always knows, without mistakes and without gaps, what was, what is, and what will be. At every moment He knows even the future as if it were the past (Isaiah 46:8-10). He knows what has been done, whether error has been corrected, whether any necessary thing remains to be done, whether and when it will be done. He does not close His eyes to anything.

God does not refuse to see or become unable to see sin once it has been forgiven. He does not remove it from his ledger, His book of remembrance, once He forgives it – nor does He ask us to do so. Like any good accountant God has separate parts to His ledger: (1) Accounts Receivable/Payable (what is still owed and must be paid); (2) Accounts Paid – payments made are duly noted and recorded so that one does not become charged again for debts already paid and therefore closed to further transactions.

God sees and knows constantly and always debts incurred, payments made, and amount still owed. When it is marked “truly and fully paid” it will not be remembered or charged against the person again. That is the extent of God’s forgetting: He will not bring a forgiven matter against the forgiven person again (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17).

Forgiveness is not a refusal to retaliate with a blow for a blow, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, or life for a life. One can refrain from retaliation but still harbor bitterness, ill will and resentment, holding the guilty accountable and rejecting the offending person. Jesus said if your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he then repents, forgive him (Luke 17:3).

It is not putting the offender on probation while we adjudicate and consider how inexcusable his behavior was, and then promise to forgive if and as long as no further offenses are forthcoming.


Since we are urged to forgive in the same way and to the same extent and with the same attitude as God displays in forgiving us (Ephesians 4:29-32), we can better understand what forgiveness is by observing what God does when He forgives. He does not remove the notation of wrong from His record. The blotting out of sins that accompanies conversion (Acts 3:19) is nothing more than moving the item from accounts payable to accounts paid and no longer to be charged against the convert. His actions toward the forgiven are as if the sin had never occurred at all. As in the case of the “prodigal son” (Luke 15:11-24) the once-away once-spiritually-dead son is restored to his rightful place, home again and alive to his father again. In God’s forgiveness the guilt is lifted, certain (though perhaps not all) consequences are removed, one is not bound in place as a current transgressor but is free to move forward toward the goals and rewards of the restored transgressor.


  1. Do you secretly rejoice when some misfortune happens to the one who offended or sinned against you? Does it please you to think “karma” has bitten your offender?
  2. Do you purposely avoid contact, or being present where he is? Do you speak to him only when necessary, never initiate conversation?
  3. Do you remember and can’t forget the wrong committed and how it hurt you, how it made you feel? Do you brood over it, silently meditating and still resenting the wrong done to you – perhaps even over-dramatizing the trauma and reliving the experience?
  4. If your offender needed help or asked you to pray for him, would you do it? Would you do good for him or pray for him without being asked?
  5. Have you talked with the one who sinned against you, telling him his fault and asking about your own fault – perhaps you caused him to sin against you? Have you asked him to repent and accept your forgiveness – have you asked him to accept your repentance and forgive you for your improper attitude and actions against him?
  6. Do you ask God, when praying for yourself, to help you find a way to be reconciled and restored to fellowship with your offender or one you have offended? Do you even want to be reconciled with him and in fellowship with him, serving and worshiping God together with him?


Be careful not to forgive yourself too easily for unforgiven and unforgivable sins against God, others, and yourself. You are not the final arbiter, judge, or jury. Refusing forgiveness offered to you by others, or by God, is a form of unforgiveness – which will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15), as we noted at the beginning of this essay. Refusing to forgive, refusing to be forgiven or to accept forgiveness is also a form of unforgiveness. I recall vividly a man who told me, “I have been such a bad person and my sins are so terrible that I cannot forgive myself, and I could not respect anyone, not even God, who would forgive me for the things I’ve done.” Refusing to forgive yourself is also unforgiveness. Forgiving yourself is a matter of acknowledging the wrongs and accepting forgiveness, then letting them and the associated guilt go and moving forward in the new direction you are allowed to take. You can’t change your past nor can you live in it. You can let it be the past – by God’s grace the forgiven past – and thankfully reach toward the promises of the future with Him. The principle applies to anyone from whom you are estranged and want to be reconciled.


Don’t insist that the other person take the first step. If you are an offender you should take the first step (Matthew 5:23-24). If you are the offended don’t wait for the offender to take the first step. Let him know you are open to reconciliation and that you are seeking renewed fellowship with him (Matthew 18:15-17) and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Both the offender and the offended are hindered from proper worship to God until the separating matter has been corrected.

When you sinned against God who took the first step to make a way back to Him? He did, by supplying a redeemer savior and opening a path for you to Himself in Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

The reason for seeking and giving forgiveness is not to find an excuse for condemning and destroying others but to save them, and to save yourself (Acts 2:40, Philippians 2:12-13).


Walking in the light (1 John 1:5-10) means you are doing what you know is right and avoiding what you know is wrong. “Walking in the light” is not synonymous with “being a Christian.” Nobody is perfect, making no mistakes, committing no sins. But if one finds he is wrong then repents and corrects it and seeks God’s forgiveness he will be forgiven. If one finds he is wrong and does not repent it, correct it, and seek forgiveness for it he is no longer walking in the light. Forgiveness is not automatic. Grace is not forgiveness – it is a way toward forgiveness. When one becomes aware of sin it must be repented and whatever else is necessary must be done in order to secure forgiveness. Walking in the light means growing in faith and knowledge and grace (2 Peter 3:18) – as one learns one adapts, one changes if necessary to comply with the new understanding of God’s will.

#geraldcowan #forgiveness

Had God not chosen to reveal himself

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, Ephesians 1.7-9

Without the Bible, what could we know about God? Very little could be known about God had he not chosen to reveal himself. That revelation came in the form of his son, Jesus, who often said that he and the Father were one.

Through Jesus we are able to know what God wants and expects of us. He passed to us what God told him to say. The New Testament is this message in written form. It is through Jesus that we have redemption or forgiveness of our sins. His life was given in place of my own. His blood was shed though it should have been mine.

I do not now nor will I ever deserve God’s grace. But he gives it freely to any who would agree to the terms that he set forth. Have you received his grace? Are you forgiven?

#risingjoy #Ephesians #forgiveness

No worry about sins

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” Hebrews 10. 16-17

The author of the book of Hebrews writes to Jews converted to Christ who are thinking of returning to the practice of the old law. The purpose of his writing is to demonstrate how Christ is superior to the old law in every way. That being the case, they needed to continue to serve Christ and follow him. Our verses today are a quote from Jeremiah 31.33-34 referring to the future and what was to come. Under the old law sacrifices for sin had to be made each year. It was a reminder that the sacrifice of bulls and goats could not take away sin, Hebrews 10.4-5. Then God sent Jesus to earth in the body of a human. Jesus came to do the will of God and be the sacrifice that would bring forgiveness for our sins. If we obey God, that forgiveness is ours to have. We can have direct contact with God through Jesus and we do not have to go through another person. God’s law is no longer written on stone tablets. It is written in the Bible where we can read it and make it a part of our lives. With Jesus’ death on the cross, we can have forgiveness and not just a reminder. If I am forgiven, then I do not have to worry about those sins any more. God does not remember them. I stand clean in his presence not because of what I have done. Jesus paid the price for me!

#risingjoy #Hebrews #forgiveness

Sin, faith, duty

Some think that Luke has collected three separate sayings of Jesus in Lk 17.1-10, with little connection between them. That assumes much.

Jesus might well have said these three things in this order. Even if he did not, it also assumes that Luke is clumsy.

No such assumptions are needed. There can be seen a clear connection among the three points.

  1. The business of the kingdom is forgiveness of sin, 1-4. Don’t be a cause of sin, 1-2. Be a cause of forgiveness, 3-4.
  2. For that forgiving spirit, the apostles felt the need for a greater faith, 5-6. In one sense, Jesus anticipates Nike: Just do it. Faith is to be exercised. For it to grow it must be put into action.
  3. Duty in the kingdom deserves no special praise, 7-10, but it must be done. What is this duty? Again, seeking forgiveness for all.

#Luke #faith #forgiveness #duty

Forgive my sin: Exodus 10.17

“Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to the Lord your God, so that he will just take this death away from me.”

Exodus 10.17

The second time forgiveness of sin is mentioned in the Bible is on the lips of Pharaoh, after the eight plague. Even pagans had an understanding of sin and its consequences.

Our repentance should desire more than avoiding the death brought by sin. It should look toward the holy nature of God and be motived by desire to enter his presence.

#votd #Exodus #forgiveness

June 2018 Issue of Christian Worker (Sin and Salvation: Part 2)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Dead to Sin, Alive to God (Tom Wacaster)
  • Jesus: The Sinless Sacrifice (Cody Westbrook)
  • The Joy of Forgiveness (Logan Summers)
  • Soberly, Righteously, Godly (Tim Ayers)
  • Heaven, the Home of the Saved (Mike Bonner)
  • Responding to Heaven’s Invitation (Russell M. Kline)
  • To Seek and Save the Lost (John Grubb)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2018 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-living, #christian-worker, #forgiveness, #heaven, #jesus, #obedience-to-god, #salvation, #sin

Christopher Underwood’s Encouragement Note April 2018

Psalm 130:3-4: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”

God has always wanted faithful followers of his commandments even when God knows no man is without sin. The writer of Ecclesiastes 7:20 said “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins”.

The writer of Psalm 139 reminds us that wherever we go, wherever we rest, whatever word is on the tip of our tongue the Lord knows it all. Knowing our secrets are never secrets should humble us when considering the all-knowing God.

We must treasure the blessing of forgiveness daily and let the forgiveness be reflected to everyone you meet. It gives us that immediate self-correction so we do not think more highly of ourselves when looking at others.

Be happy that God does not want us to perish because of Satan’s worldly temptations and tricks.

It is important to know that God chooses to offer forgiveness to all that are willing to accept God’s forgiveness. God has made forgiveness available freely and daily in the safety of his love.

2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Have a great day

#Encouragement-Note #forgiveness

Very real and eternal things

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17 ESV)

И мир проходит, и похоть его, а исполняющий волю Божию пребывает вовек. (1-e Иоанна 2:17 Russian)

O LORD God Almighty ~ thank you dear Father in heaven for the loving kindness you demonstrate to all people in the world on this new day. Help me to focus with intensity upon the very real and eternal things you are preparing for all those who love and obey your Son. Forgive me for the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years that were wasted on visualizing mundane things that will soon disappear from sight. Reveal your eternal blessings as I concentrate more specifically upon your inspired Scriptures. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley #forgiveness

Hide your face: Psalm 51.9

“Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt!”

Psalm 51.9

King David repented of his sin. That repentance — and not sinlessness — earned him the title of being a man after God’s own heart. Sin against God can only be forgiven by God. Confession lays one’s sins before the Lord in hope of forgiveness.

Through Christ, what are the two processes to find forgiveness for the one outside of Christ and the disciple who follows the Lord?

#forgiveness #repentance #confession #VOTD

Made alive: Colossians 2.13 VOTD

“And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions.”

Colossians 2.13

God brings those who are spiritually dead to life. Those who are separated from him are reconciled. This happens at baptism, which is done through faith in God’s power, v. 12, which works at the cross, v. 13.

Sin results in death, obedience in life. God reverses the effects of sin. What other good results does God produce in us?

#regeneration #forgiveness #VOTD

‘Tell Jesus That’

By Johnny O. Trail — Just recently a sound gospel preacher wrote an article that taught a person’s sins are not forgiven until the point of baptism. That is, one cannot be saved prior to being immersed into Christ. This article was posted on Facebook, and a well-known “progressive” in churches of Christ responded by saying, “Tell Jesus that.” The implication of the statement is that Jesus would tell a person that they could be saved prior to baptism or without being baptized.

Personally, I find such a statement to be rather childish and ridiculous in nature. It is sad to think about having to defend baptism for forgiveness of sins (Acts 22.16) to one who calls himself a member of the Lord’s body. It is not up to me to tell Jesus anything. It is my duty to humbly and obediently follow His will. In light of this fact, the Master Himself tells humankind to be baptized for the purpose of salvation (Mark 16.15-16; c.f. Matthew 28.19). If Jesus commanded it, I need to do it. No further debate should be required.

It is presumptuous and sinful to contradict the will of God regarding any matter. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation. Hebrew 5.8-9 says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” This passage teaches many things about the mission, nature, and importance of Christ as it pertains to salvation. Continue reading

#baptism, #forgiveness