Sin, Judgment, and Forgiveness

We cannot understand the meaning of forgiveness until we understand the meaning of the words sin and judgment.


By definition, sin (Gr. harmartano) is an act or behavior and references the choices we make to meet our needs with disregard (in disobedience) to God's provisions to meet those needs. It is not behavior that makes God mad or us bad, but that makes us sick.

This is exactly what Adam did in the Garden of Eden which resulted in God's judgment upon the human race (Genesis 3 and Romans 5).

[Note: Sin (Gr. hamartia) is also understood as the condition of sinfulness, an inward element, governing principle, or organized power which produces an action or behavior." This is our fallen human nature.]


God the Righteous Judge could have imposed any judgment he wanted on Adam's disobedience, including a $100K fine (to be silly) or actually whatever else we might want to imagine. But the judgment God imposed was the departure of his Light (who he is) from man's spirit, the inmost chamber of his being. The result of the judgment was spiritual, psychological, and physical death and darkness, and ultimately, eternal death.

The word death in any language means separation. It does not mean annihilation. Man had a beginning, but he will not have an end. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God with the "cause and effect" result of darkness. This means, we can be physically alive but separated from God - that is, we can be spiritually dead and in psychological (mental and emotional) darkness while we live (Colossians 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:6). This is the judgment of sin we experience in this life that is manifested by broken health and unhappiness.

(Note: Physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. We may also say that psychological death is the disconnect of the body and soul from the born again spirit where the Holy Spirit or Life of Christ is resident. This is the aspect of redemption addressed by Christ in John 15:1-8. Eternal death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God for eternity.)


The best definition for the word forgiveness is removal. It begins with God's removal of our spiritual separation from him (this is reconciliation) by our faith to trust Christ's Blood as the only payment he will accept to satisfy his judgment against the human race because of Adam's disobedience (Romans 5:10).

Forgiveness is also the removal of the physical and psychological contamination and brokenness - which are the "cause and effect, sowing and reaping" lifetime consequences of the choices we make in the darkness - when we trust in Christ's Resurrected Life, imparted to us (our spirit) in the new birth experience.


Prayer for the forgiveness (removal) of the eternal consequence (judgment) of sin is based upon our faith to trust God's provision of Christ Blood as explained above.

Prayer for the forgiveness (removal) of the "cause and effect, sowing and reaping" lifetime consequences or judgment of sin is based on our faith to receive (connect to, abide in) God's provision of the Resurrected Life of Christ (mentioned above) which enables us to make redemptive choices that result in our healing, (the removal of our brokenness).

This means, God is not arbitrarily, selectively, or even mystically forgiving (removing) the consequences of one particular sin or another based on our good works, penitent behavior, tearful pleading and begging, or anything else short of receiving (connecting to) his provisions which are the dynamic for their removal (Romans 1:16-17).


Our forgiveness of others is two-fold and is possible only as the Life of Christ within us enables it. Forgiving others begins with withholding (removing) our judgment to punish their offensive behavior toward us. It is completed as Christ lives his life through us to impact their lives for the healing (removal) of the hurt and pain which motivated their offensive actions.

This is the meaning of "forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:13).

Don Loy Whisnant, DCC, LCPC/The Grace Perspective #805

The Source of Your Strength to Fully Forgive

You really have no ability to forgive others except Christ in you and living through you makes it possible. This is the truest meaning of "Forgive (in the same manner) as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13b).

Our best understanding of the word "forgiveness" is "removal." God removed his judgment against the human race (because of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden) through the death of Christ. By our trust in the efficiency of Christ's death in our behalf to satisfy in full that judgment, we are united by the Holy Spirit through spiritual immersion into Christ and made beneficiaries of its efficacy.

"Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed by the Holy Spirit into spiritual union with Christ Jesus were immersed into (united with him in) the efficacy of his death." - Romans 6:3 (GracePoint paraphrased)

The call of God to us to forgive begins with the removal of our judgment against those who have failed our standards and expectations for them. This means we withhold our punishment on the basis that the punishment has already been exacted and the penalty has already been paid by the blood of Christ at Calvary.

But there is another aspect of forgiveness. God has also made provision for the removal (healing) of our defilement and brokenness because of our wrong choices: This through the efficacy of the resurrected Life of Christ imparted to us when we trusted in Christ as indicated above.

"We were therefore united with him in the efficacy of his death by the Holy Spirit through spiritual immersion into Christ in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory (Life) of the Father, we too may live a new life." - Romans 6:4 (GracePoint paraphrased)

"If we have been united with him like this in the efficacy of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the efficacy of his resurrection." - Romans 6:5 (GracePoint paraphrased)

The call of God to us to forgive those who have offended us includes also that we serve them as a resource for the flow of Christ's resurrected life into their lives for the removal (healing) of their brokenness.

Don Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 7H31

Understanding Forgiveness

Forgiveness may be the most important concept for you to understand right now. Forgiveness means “removal.” It is two-fold:

The first is the removal of God’s judgment against us because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. We receive that forgiveness the moment we trust Christ’s death on the cross as the only payment God will accept to satisfy that judgment. It is a one-time event – like in a court room. That means, when you trusted the payment Christ made for you, God removed (forgave) the judgment. You do not need to seek that forgiveness again because you already have it.

The second is the removal of our sinful condition (of our bodies, minds, emotions, and wills) which remains even after the judgment against us has been removed (forgiven). This forgiveness or removal is not a one-time event but is on-going or progressive as we make choices each day to receive God’s provisions for our healing. It is the forgiveness Christ taught his disciples to pray for in the Disciples’ Prayer (the “Lord’s Prayer”).

Don Loy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 10J20

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