As I mentioned last week, this is the most comprehensive study on forgiveness that I have ever made. There are dozens of great references. Probably best to copy and paste to place in your study file.

Matthew 18:21-35
A University in Wisconsin Catalog announced a new course on, “Inter-personnel Forgiveness.” This course may offer some insight on the subject, however; the best answer is given in the Bible … By forgiving others as God has forgiven us.

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

Look again at verse 21, Peter thought that he was really being generous when he said this because two or three times was all you had to forgive according to the rabbis. Simon Peter was willing to forgive seven times, but Peter’s generosity was little as to Jesus’ new provision in verse 22. That is four hundred and ninety times. By that time, things might be pretty well worked out.

If not, both of them would have reached old age to the extent that it wouldn’t amount to much anyway! Four hundred and ninety times is going to the limit—and that is exactly the point Jesus is making.

In this story Jesus is using this far-out illustration to prove a point. The amount this servant owed his lord was about twelve million dollars. That is a lot of money to forgive anyone. But, a hundred pence amounted to about seventeen dollars. Compare that to 12 million.

Because God has forgiven us, we are to forgive each other. If God forgave our sins in the same way we forgive others, none of us would be forgiven. But after we have become children of God, because we have been forgiven, we are to forgive others.

Please read: Matthew 5:43-48. No book except the Bible teaches that God completely forgives sin Psalm 51:1, 9; Isaiah 38:17; Hebrews 10:17.

The initiative comes from Him John 3:16; Colossians 2:13 because He is ready to forgive Luke 15:11-32. He is a God of grace and pardon Nehemiah 9:17; Daniel 9:9.

Sin deserves divine punishment because it is a violation of God’s holy character Gen. 2:17; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Peter 1:16, but His pardon is gracious Psalm 130:4; Romans 5:6-8.
In order for God to forgive sin, two conditions are necessary. A life must be taken as a substitute for that of the sinner Leviticus 17:11, 14; Hebrews 9:22, and the sinner must come to God’s sacrifice in a spirit of repentance and faith Mark 1:4; Acts 10:43; James 5:15.
Forgiveness in the New Testament is directly linked to Christ Acts 5:31; Colossian 1:14, His sacrificial death on the cross Romans 4:24, and His resurrection 2 Corinthians 5:15.
He was the morally perfect sacrifice Romans 8:3, the final and ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament sacrifices Hebrews 9:11-10:18. Since He bore the law’s death penalty against sinners Galatians 3:10-13, those who trust in His sacrifice are freed from that penalty. By faith sinners are forgiven “justified” in Paul’s terminology Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:8-9. Those who are forgiven sin’s penalty also die to its controlling power in their lives Romans 6:1-23.
Christ’s resurrection was more than proof of His deity or innocence; it was related in a special way to His forgiveness. Christ’s resurrection was an act by which God wiped out the false charges against Him; it was God’s declaration of the perfect righteousness of His Son, the Second Adam, and of His acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice 1 Timothy 3:16.

Because He has been acquitted and declared righteous, this is also true for those whom He represents. Thus, Christ’s resurrection was a necessary condition for the forgiveness of man’s sins 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. To be forgiven is to be identified with Christ in His crucifixion and resurrection.
Christ has the authority to forgive sins Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 9:11-10:18. This forgiveness is an essential part of the gospel message Acts 2:38; 5:31. But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (attributing to Satan a deed done by Jesus through the power of God’s Spirit) is an unpardonable sin Mark 3:28-29, not because God cannot or will not forgive such a sin but because such a hard-hearted person has put himself beyond the possibility of repentance and faith.
God’s forgiveness of us demands that we forgive others, because grace brings responsibility and obligation Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 6:37. Jesus placed no limits on the extent to which Christians are to forgive their fellowmen Matthew 18:22, 35; Luke 17:4. A forgiving spirit shows that one is a true follower of Christ Matthew 5:43-48; Mark 11:25.

1. There is God’s spirit of forgiveness … the King.
2. There is the Servant’s spirit of un-forgiveness.


A. We must all give account … just as Jesus accounts for each of us. Verse 24. The King required it of the servant.
B. We are brought to the King by the Holy Spirit, The Word of God, or some person.
C. We are led to see the great debt we owe the King. In this case approx. 12 million dollars.
D. We are bankrupt by our sin … cannot pay our sin debt. Not by silver, gold, good works, sacrifices, etc. … nothing can pay the debt we owe the King.
E. We must face the justice of a Just God in verse 25.
F. We cry out for mercy … our only hope is that God will love us enough and have compassion to forgive in verse 26.
G. We hear the love and forgiveness of a loving God in verse 27.


He gives here the steps of un-forgiveness:

A. He finds a person who owes him money, approx. $17.00.
B. He attacked the person who owed him money.
C. He rejected the cry for mercy and forgiveness.
D. He acted selfishly and worldly.
E. Others were grieved by his action in verse 31.

Of course he owed him the debt … it was a legal debt … BUT, THE KING FORGAVE HIM OF HIS DEBT.

Which one fits you best?

Are you like the King or are you like the servant….

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