God's word is open and available and rich with truth for anyone who desires it, if one can read. Often, a little help from Christians is important, and that is what you are getting. A little graciousness is in order.
Jesus, in His immeasurable compassion for those who were committing a grave sin, chose to not retain their sins against them, so that when they repent, God will be able to forgive them.
Jesus, no hypocrite, was demonstrating his own command:
If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Wow, there are some really beautiful pearls being cast in this thread. That's all I have to say.
When we stand before the Judgment Seat, we will have retained only two things from our earthly life: what God gave us, and what we did with what He gave us.
What forgiveness does, is provide the opportunity for reconciliation.
Say you sin against me. Maybe you don't even want a relationship with me right at that point. Or maybe you want something else more, and enough to hurt our relationship. Or maybe you're just ignorant. Whatever the case is. Ignorance ... purposefulness ... forgiveness, if real and complete, takes them both into account and deals with both, completely.
Regardless ... I choose forgive you, so that as far as I'm concerned I've dealt with the sinful action and its consequences, and the door is now open for you to reconcile with me. The forgiveness on my end is real and complete.
The cycle becomes complete once you come to me and allow reconciliation to happen on your end also. By acknowledging that you hurt our relationship and by allowing my forgiveness to heal that hurt, by receiving it and letting that remove whatever guilt or shame there is on your end now that you've realized what you did and how that has affected your relationship with me. The relationship can then continue unhindered, as if nothing has happened. Because forgiveness, when understood and enacted properly, is immensely powerful. So powerful, in fact, that once it's been allowed to do what it does, the original offense is a non-issue. That's how God can say "I don't even remember your sin anymore". And how the Bible can say that He removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (which is infinity). He no longer takes it into account. It's like it never happened, as far as the relationship aspect is concerned.
Relationships are always two-sided, see? God took care of His end of the deal, and the door is now open to us to step into that and receive it and build a real relationship with Him, should we so desire. That's how Saul, the persecutor, can come to Jesus, receive forgiveness, be permitted reconciliation with Him, and become Paul the apostle. Paul may say "Jesus came to forgive sinners of which I am chief" but his relationship with the Lord is now free from that sin, and there's nothing in the way between the two to hinder them from living happily ever after. Did Paul still have to deal with suspicion from other believers and did it take some years for him to establish himself and prove himself? Yes. But that was between Paul and those people, and not between Paul and Jesus. So other consequences still happened but Paul was able to come to Jesus, every day, unhindered, and allow himself to be transformed into a new person by the power of Christ's Spirit.
That's about as basic as I can make it. Let me know if you need further explanation.
Of course the relationship between two people is a lot different than a relationship between God and a person. Because God brings His own Person to the table, and with that His power and abilities. I don't have His kind of power, of course, and I'm not God. So any parallels drawn there are going to be limited, evidently.
Far as God is concerned, you're forgiven. Jesus isn't going to die again. What He did, He did once, for all, for everyone. God's forgiveness has always worked the same way, because from the beginning, God has ALWAYS been interested in reconciliation with His wayward creatures and has provided opportunity for that to happen, time and again.
But to step into that, again, you have to individually accept your part of the deal. There's a plate at the table for you. But you'd have to come to the table and start eating, for it to be a reality in your life. Again, a limited metaphor, but there you have it.
Remember Jesus came to undo everything that Adam's original behavior caused. The greatest part of that is to restore us to a relationship with God, the same relationship Adam and Eve had, free and unhindered. If you view it from where God sits and what His intentions were, then it'll probably make more sense than viewing it from a human level. Because all of this was initiated by God, for His own purpose.
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