What Does Forgiveness Mean?

While God does call us to forgive others, the Bible primarily emphasizes God’s forgiveness. This forgiveness is inseparably connected to atonement. God does not overlook sin. Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice has covered it. This substitution results in God removing any charge against us (2 Corinthians 5:19), i.e., forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not dependent on our actions. The Bible teaches forgiveness is a present reality because it was already won by Christ: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). Nothing more can be added because his payment was complete (Hebrews 10:18).

This payment was made for all sin (1 John 1:7) of all people (1 John 2:2). It is personally received through faith.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7

Study Forgiveness in the Scriptures

2 Corinthians 5:19

Ephesians 1:7

Hebrews 10:18

1 John 1:7

1 John 2:2

More on Forgiveness


How Do You Know if You’ve Been Forgiven by God?

When does God forgive? How do we know if we’ve really been forgiven?


Does God’s Forgiveness Give us a License to Sin?

A common response to the teaching that forgiveness is God’s gift is the thought that this then gives people the license to sin all the more. But Scripture doesn’t support that argument.

These words matter. Discover why.

Free Bible Study

Discover who Heavenly Father really is and what he wants for your life in our free, online Bible study.