Creed: The Forgiveness of Sins

May 22, 2022 Speaker: Mike Law Series: Apostles' Creed

Topic: Topical Scripture: Luke 7:36–50



  1. Authorship and Purpose
  2. Why Preach Through the Apostles’ Creed?
  3. Structure of the Sermon

Main Idea: We are forgiven by God so that we can forgive like God.

1. What Is Sin?

     a. The Nature of Sin 

J.I. Packer: “Sin is lawlessness in relation to God as lawgiver, rebellion in relation to God as rightful ruler, missing the mark in relation to God as our designer, guilt in relation to God as judge, and unclean in relation to God as the holy one. Sin is perversity touching each one of us everywhere and at every point of our lives.”[1]

         i. Sin is Transgressing God’s Law [1 John 3:4, Genesis 2:16–17]

        ii. Sin is Rebellion Against God [Genesis 2:16–17]

       iii. Sin is Failing to Live Up to God’s Law [Romans 3:23]

       iv. Sin is Uncleanness in the Presence of God [Psalm 51:2, Isaiah 1:16]

        v. Sin is Principally Against God [Psalm 51:4]

     b. The Sinfulness of Sin

Ralph Venning: “Sin attempts nothing less than the de-throning and un-godding of God himself. It has unmanned man, made him a fool, a beast, a devil, and subjected him to the wrath of God, and made him liable to eternal damnation. It has made men deny that God is, or affirm that he is like themselves. It has put the Lord of life to death and shamefully crucified the Lord of Glory. It is always resisting the Holy [Spirit]. It is continually practicing the defiling, the deceiving, and the destruction of all men. What a prodigious, monstrous, devilish thing sin is!”[2]

     c. The Judgment of Sin [Isaiah 26:21, Psalm 37:38]

     d. The Forgiveness of Sin or of Sins? [Luke 7:47]

2. What Is Forgiveness?

     a. Forgiveness is Like Cancelling a Debt [Luke 7:41–42, cf. Matthew 6:12, Luke 11:4]

     b. Forgiveness is Extended by the Offended Party

     c. Forgiveness Removes Expectation of Repayment and Retribution [Psalm 130:3–4, Romans 2:4]

     d. Forgiveness Does Not Cancel the Immorality of the Iniquity

Definition: Forgiveness is the extension of a pardon from the offended party where the expectation of repayment or the threat of retribution is removed.

3. How Can We Be Forgiven?

     a. Who Forgives Sins? [Isaiah 43:25, cf. Luke 7:48, Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:10]

     b. A Divine Dilemma? [Exodus 34:6–7]

     c. Pardon Through Payment [Colossians 2:14, John 19:30]

     d. To be Forgiven, Confess Your Sins [1 John 1:8–9]

     e. Forgiveness Leads to Love [Luke 7:47]

 4. How Can We Forgive?

     a. Location in the Creed and in Church History

     b. The Obligation to Forgive [Ephesians 4:31–32, Colossians 3:12–13, Matthew 18:21–35, James 2:13] 

John Owen: “Our forgiving of others will not procure forgiveness for ourselves, but our not forgiving of others proves that we ourselves are not forgiven.”[3]

     c. Questions About Forgiveness

         i. What About Those Outside the Church? [Mark 11:25]

        ii. What About Those Who Do Not Repent?

       iii. What Do You Do When Someone Has Sinned Against You?

            1. Forgive

            2. Confront [Matthew 18:15-20, Matthew 7:1–5]

            3. Cover [Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 19:11, 1 Peter 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13:5]


Charles Spurgeon: “Eyes that have wept over our own sin will always be most ready to weep over the sins of others. If you have judged yourselves with candor, you will not judge others with severity. You will be more ready to pity than to condemn, more anxious to hide a multitude of sins than to punish a single sinner.”[4]

[1] J.I. Packer, Growing in Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), 79.

[2] Ralph Venning, The Sinfulness of Sin (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1993), 172–173.

[3] John Owen, vol. 6, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold (Edinburg: T&T Clark, 1862), 497.

[4] C.H. Spurgeon [It's from a sermon on the text, Titus 3:3–8, entitled, THE MAINTENANCE OF GOOD WORKS, NO. 2042, given on September 2, 1888 at Metropolitan Tabernacle.]

To learn more about what Arlington Baptist Church believes, read our Statement of Faith.

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