Biblical Forgiveness: Are There Two Types?

Biblical Forgivenessby Ray Foucher.  The study in this booklet shows, by looking at the original words, that forgiveness is a two-part transaction. God forgives every sin, the question is whether or not we receive that forgiveness. There are actually different Greek words for forgiveness granted and forgiveness received. One is always unconditional while the other is always conditional.

Charazomai (Strong’s G5483) is used for forgiveness unconditionally granted as in:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32)

Notice Paul is saying to the Ephesians “God … hath forgiven you” while also telling them to put away the bitterness, wrath etc (verse 31) that they still had in their hearts. They were not, at that point, in a forgiving mood yet God had forgiven them.

Aphiemi (Strong’s G863) is used for forgiveness received which is conditional, obviously, on recognizing our need and receiving the forgiveness as in:

“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)

In that case, aphiemi has the meaning of “to send away.” What is being removed and sent away from the sinner is the guilt and shame of a wrong act.

With this in mind, when reading every New Testament verse that uses forgiveness, forgiven etc, a careful examination of the context will tell you which Greek word is being used. Forgiveness is a two-part transaction; it is both given and received. And Forgiveness is good news indeed!

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