Remission – definition

Remission definition
Correctly understanding these terms leads to a better
understanding of the character of God and the Gospel.

Traditional Legal Model – Removing the record of sin thus cancelling the need for the sinner to pay a penalty.

Biblical Healing Model – Healing the sinner from the damage of sin to his character as in curing a disease. (But not necessarily removing the natural consequences or after-effects of the sin.)

Dictionary definitions related to spiritual uses:

Modern Dictionary

Remission noun
2.pardon; forgiveness, as of sins or offenses.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Remission noun
Forgiveness; pardon; that is, the giving up of the punishment due to a crime; as the remission of sins.

How do we most often hear that word used today? Isn’t it in connection with cancer? It is used to mean the cancer is resolved or at last (apparently) cured at the time.

Does that mean the doctor has used white out on a medical record to erase and to blot out any reference to the fact a person ever had cancer? No, it means the cancer has gone into remission, the problem is apparently solved but the record is still there.

Remission and Forgiveness

What is the most important part of remission or healing in a spiritual sense? What most needs to be healed? Let’s look at some verses that use “remission”

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt 26:28)

“Remission” is the Greek word “aphesis” (G859) which is translated:

AV-remission 9, forgiveness 6, deliverance 1, liberty 1; 17

It is a noun coming from the verb “aphiemi” (G863) used for forgiveness as received by the sinner.

This is where understanding the original words translated as “forgiveness” is important. If you remember or have read the link above, you will know that forgiveness is a transaction involving two parties; it is both given by one (the forgiver) and received by the other (the forgivee).

When God is granting forgiveness the word is charizomai:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph 4:31-32)

Paul is saying that God has already forgiven (charizomai, G5483) the Ephesians who are obviously still quite involved in sin – verse 31.

When we are receiving forgiveness the word is aphiemi:

If we confess our sins, [then] he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Receiving forgiveness (aphiemi G863) is conditional on recognizing our condition and accepting that God is forgiving. Remission of sins is very much related to that process. It involves becoming kind, tenderhearted and forgiving as it says in Ephesians 4:32 and much more; even becoming Christ-like to the point where we are cured of the desire to sin.

“To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,” (Luke 1:77)

“Remission,” in that verse, is from the Greek “aphesis” (G859) which is the noun form of the verb “aphiemi.”

Remission is More Than Forgiveness

Does the knowledge of salvation only result in knowing our sins are forgiven or can it do more?

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32)

Is “them that obey” speaking merely of them that have had the record of their sins blotted out? Notice this progression:

Acts 2:38 remission of sins shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Acts 5:32 to them that obey the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given

Clearly, remission is paralleled with obedience resulting in reception of the Spirit of God.

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

Could “through his name” refer to through His character; through having knowledge of and trust in His true character?

Obedience = to stop sinning = removal/remission of acts of sinning.

No Remission Without Blood

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb 9:22)

See a video discussion of that verse.

That involves a deeper study of our concept of God’s justice. We think blood needs to be shed for God to blot out our sins. But does God need blood; does He have to kill someone or some animal before He can forgive? The amazing thing is that no, He does not need blood to forgive but we need to have our concept of justice met before we can receive receive (accept that God has granted us) forgiveness.

More Verses on Sin Being Removed

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions [not a record of them] from us.” (Psa 103:12)

“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins [not a record of them] into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions [not a record of them] for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin [He is cleansing “us” merely our record].” (1 John 1:7)

Each of those verses is speaking of the remission (we could say cure) of sins through God writing His law in people’s hearts causing them the keep the law. It is not merely the removal of a record.

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