The forgiveness offered by God is for all men who will obey God’s will. It has been and is his desire for all men to be saved (I Timothy 2:4).
God sent his Son to pay a debt that man could not and cannot pay — the debt of sin. By the shedding of his blood at Calvary, Christ opened the way of salvation to all the obedient (Hebrews 5:8, 9).
Christians can know the joy and peace of being forgiven of all their sins. As Paul told the saints at Rome, we too are debtors to mankind (Rom. 1:14, 15). Telling all men about Christ and the blessing of forgiveness must be part of the Christian life.
Knowing this forgiveness, and understanding the way it came about through God’s plan, and Christ’s willingness to give himself for man, should inspire one to live as Christ lived. The love that God showed should show in one’s relationship to others.
Christians need to stand ready to forgive even as God has forgiven. Jesus taught this while on the earth. Notice the following parable taught by Jesus.
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, ‘lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’ And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?’ And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses" (Matthew 18:21-35).
This great lesson is one some find hard to put into practice. It is contrary to the world’s idea of how men should interact. How dare someone cause harm to "me" and expect forgiveness. Holding a grudge is a way of life with some, never forgetting a wrong, always ready to bring up old "hatchets" at a moment’s notice.
Christians must realize how great a debt was forgiven them when they obeyed God. The servant in the parable was so relieved when he was forgiven by his master. What a relief he must have felt. Yet his worldly nature burst out when he dealt with his fellow servant. Paul wrote, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:6-10).
The attitude of the forgiven servant was — forgiveness was just for him, not for him to show to others. His attitude in no way conveyed the mercy he had received from his master.