The Berean Expositor
Volume 6 - Page 56 of 151
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The question of sin evidently is not the leading theme of the epistles of the mystery.
To understand how God has dealt with that, Romans and Hebrews will supply full
teaching. The prison epistles, moreover, do not differentiate between SIN and SINS, or
rather, they deal only with sins, sin itself not coming within their scope. While, however,
it may be true that other themes than the question of sin and justification are before us
(God in His condescension puts our hearts at rest regarding this), redemption carries with
it the forgiveness of our sins. The word forgiveness is aphesis.
Emission, dismission, and remission are among its most primitive meanings. It is
derived from aphiemi, which means "to send away." "Then Jesus sent the multitude
away" (Matt. 13: 36); and "Jesus cried with (emitted) a loud voice" (Mark 15: 37). "Let
not the husband put away his wife" (I Cor. 7: 11).
It will be seen that the root idea of dismissal is the leading one and it can be easily
traced in the secondary meaning "forgiveness." Let us learn the lesson while it is before
us, not to read back secondary meanings. The same applies to the rendering "forsook" in
Matt. 26: 56. Rom. 4: 7 declares that it is a blessed condition to be in, to have one's
sins forgiven, and may we not forget this as we contemplate all the spiritual blessings that
are ours in Christ.
An inspired corollary to forgiveness, and an exceedingly comforting one, is that
forgiven sin is forgotten sin. "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more"
(Heb. 10: 17, 18). The same chapter indicates further that by virtue of the once offered
sacrifice, "we being once cleansed have no more conscience of sins" (Heb. 10: 2). If under
the law with its typical blood of bulls and goats which can never take away sins there was
blessedness, how much more ground of rejoicing have we who have the much better
reality? The sins that have been "dismissed" have not been merely driven off to return
again and imperil our peace. They have been "borne" in the body of Christ on the tree
(I Pet. 2: 24). For them He suffered (I Pet. 3: 18), for them He died (I Cor. 15: 3).
Christ has made a purification for sins (Heb. 1: 3), He has made a propitiation for the sins
of His people (Heb. 2: 17), He has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9: 26),
He has died unto sin once for all (Rom. 6: 10). All this and more lies at the foundation
of forgiveness. We trace the mercy of God in this blessing of forgiveness, but we trace
no more; we see a display of His righteousness. "He is faithful and JUST to forgive us
our sins" (I John 1: 9), as He is "JUST and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus"
(Rom. 3: 26). Herein is our confidence and boasting, and already we begin to anticipate
the conclusion, "to the praise of His glory."
The word translated "sins" in the A.V. of Eph. 1: 7 should have been translated
"trespasses." There is a DIFFERENCE, God does not use different words without intent.
Eph. 2: 1 uses both words together. Sin (hamartia) means a missing of the mark, a
coming short; trespass (paraptõma) means a falling aside.  Rom. 11: 11, 12 renders it
"fall," Rom. 5: 15 "offence," Gal. 6: 1 "fault," Col. 2: 13 "trespass." This last
passage adds to the ground of our assurance by saying "having forgiven you ALL