Why Must We Forgive?: A Review

The forgiveness Christians receive in Christ is the foundation for forgiveness of others

Gale highlights the importance of confessing our sins because, “when we confess our sins, we align ourselves with God” (5). We are acknowledging our sin for what it really is and affirming the goodness of God’s law. And God isn’t only merciful to forgive our sins. This verse says that he is faithful and just, reminding us of the transaction that is taking place in forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s work on our behalf.

 

Why Must We Forgive? By Stan Gale

Every Christian knows that we are called to forgive others. But as soon as we talk about what that means, disagreements abound. Stanley Gale has a new booklet out on the important topic of Christian forgiveness as part of the Cultivating Biblical Godliness series published by Reformation Heritage Books.

In about 30 pages, Gale tackles some of the questions and disagreements that surface when we think deeply about this doctrine, while teaching the forgiveness Christians receive in Christ as the foundation for forgiveness reciprocated to others. This foundation is why we must forgive. Gale asserts that refusing to forgive “undermines, or at least underestimates, the power of the gospel itself” (2). Here are some of the questions he tackles:

“What part, then, does our forgiveness play in our ongoing relationship with God?” (4)

“Why must we ask God forgiveness if we already stand completely and continually forgiven by him?” (5)

Is “forgive and forget” a biblical concept? (17)

What about those times when the person who sinned against us doesn’t ask for forgiveness?(19)

I’m not going to give all of Gale’s answers because it would be more helpful to read his own words. But I thought I’d share how this small book gets you thinking and praying by discussing one of these. Gale affirms that it is important to ask God forgiveness when we sin. He cites 1 John 1:8 and 1:10 to show from God’s word that Christians continue to sin. The verse in between these two says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

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