How many times is forgiveness mentioned in the Bible? The word “forgiveness” is mentioned in the NIV bible fourteen times. Once in the Old Testament and thirteen times in the New Testament.
The concept of forgiveness is mentioned more frequently. For example, the word “forgive” appears forty-two times in the Old Testament and thirty-three times in the New Testament. The word “forgiven” appears seventeen times in the Old Testament and twenty-eight times in the New Testament. The word “forgiving” appears six times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.
The word “forgiveness” appears in the NIV in the following verses:
- “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” (Psalms 130:4)
- “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
- “And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4)
- “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,” (Luke 1:77)
- “He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
- “and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)
- “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38)
- “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” (Acts 5:31)
- “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)
- “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38)
- “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18)
- “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
- “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14)
- “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
Matthew 6:14-15 reads, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
According to Jesus (these are the “red” words), forgiving someone is essential for our own salvation in God’s eyes. Who are we to question Jesus? We must release the other person from blame, give it up to God, and move on. This does not mean we have to forget. As a matter of fact, that is probably impossible. Just don’t take it back from God. Make it His to keep.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of forgiving someone. It is a feeling of freedom. When we refuse to forgive someone, we are chained to the anger and resentment that will eventually consume us. It truly is like a cancer that eats us from the inside out. Lewis Smedes wrote this about forgiveness in his book Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”
I’ve hopefully given you some things to think about but I want to ask again, what is forgiveness? The Bible points us to Jesus and His desire, if not need, to save us from our sins. Peter said in Acts 10:39-43, “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Matthew 18:21-22 records, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not just seven times but seventy-seven times!’” We must continue to forgive to receive God’s blessing. It is His will.
As we get closer to Easter, we need to remember that Jesus died on the Cross to forgive us of our sins. In the last moments of His life, He called out to God. Do you remember what he said? He said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do?” God forgave them and He still forgives us because of that one moment. Can you do the same?