Mankind needs to thank God for the fact that Jesus came to Earth, died at Calvary and rose again the third day. Without the blood of Christ, no man could be saved from sin. The debt of sin is too great for man to repay, but Christ paid the debt for all men.
If man will obey God, he can have eternal life. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). The hope of all Christians rests in this fact.
Yet, on the day of judgment, how many who have obeyed the Gospel to receive forgiveness will be turned away because they never could forgive others?
Matthew records a parable of the Lord dealing with this subject. (Matthew 18:21-35). Here, the Lord tells of a servant who could not possibly pay the debt he owed. Still, the master forgave the debt. However, this same man found a fellow servant who owed him a much smaller amount and refused to forgive him when he said he could not pay. The servant begged for mercy, but the man had none for him and had the man cast into prison.
Other servants told the master of the forgiven servant’s treatment of his fellow man. The master, being angry, delivered the servant he had forgiven to the tormentors.
Christians today need to understand this parable. The one who owed so much represents man. God’s word says that all have sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save. Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2 and 53:6).
The debt for man’s sin is one man could never repay, for he is without the means of repayment. There is no offering to make, no sacrifice to burn that will forgive man of sin.
Yet, God has made a way possible for man to have forgiveness of sins through Christ (Titus 2:11-14). If one is willing to accept the pardon God offers, abiding by the commandments of God through obedience to the Gospel, God will forgive. This pardon is extended to all mankind — if man will obey.
Is the forgiven one willing to forgive others? The parable teaches that this is a must for Christians. No trespass against man is as great as man’s against God, yet God was willing to forgive. Man must be willing to do as God has done and forgive others. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:32).
Man must learn to forgive one another or souls will be lost. Notice Paul’s words, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such and one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).
Man must learn to forgive.