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Forgiveness of sin(s): OT vs NT

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: COLOSSIANS 1: 14

People received forgiveness of sins before the coming of Jesus Christ. During the life of Christ on earth, he forgave sins and people also were forgiven. After the cross of Christ, people still receive forgiveness. Though they are all forgiven, the nature or character of the forgiveness differs.


Before the cross and under the Law, forgiveness of sin was possible by following the requirement in the law for specific sins committed. Almost all sins were atoned for by the sacrifice of a lamb and some of the sins too, the offender would have to be removed from among people or stoned to death, (John 8: 4- 5).

Sin was not totally removed and this necessitated yearly reminders and offerings of animals. Forgiveness was obtained on the condition of repentance. Forgiveness was also for sins already committed. Any new sin committed after forgiveness is treated as a new case, (John 5: 14).

Before the cross, man had to forgive his neighbour before God could also forgive him or even answer his prayers. After the cross, that is, after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, forgiveness is now based solely on the shed blood of Jesus Christ and it is a forgiveness for all sins.

No one is supposed to be killed or stoned for any sin. All sins have been atoned for by Christ. After the cross forgiveness is granted once, when a person believes the gospel of Christ. This forgiveness covers all past, present and future sins. This implies that even when a man sins after being forgiven in Christ, his sin is not counted against him.

He is only expected to change his ways, that is repent from the wrong act, but his repentance does not in any way become the basis upon which he is forgiven. No condition is attached to our forgiveness in Christ. After the cross, we are expected to forgive others of their sins but forgiving others does not become the condition for our forgiveness in Christ (Hebrews 10: 1-18).

Forgiveness before the cross is selective, temporal and conditional. Forgiveness after the cross is for all sins, it is eternal and unconditional for the man in Christ. As Christians, we have total, eternal and complete one time forgiveness in Christ.

This knowledge for the man who is born again with a new nature does not result in abuse of God's forgiveness but result in making him bold and confident in defeating the voice of the accuser and making him reign in life or righteousness. We have a total, one time complete eternal forgiveness in Christ Jesus.


The word “Forgiveness/remission” means “to send away your sin. Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Vs 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Vs 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Vs 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, [even] to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

Vs 42 and he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead. Vs 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins”.

In verses 40-41 we read of how that Jesus rose from the dead. … Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Here is a notable difference from what was seen under the Old Covenant. Acts 13:38 “Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins”.

Forgiveness of sins is preached and received by sinners. Thus, for a man to receive forgiveness of sin under the new covenant, he will believe that message that is preached to him. Acts 16:15 “And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us.

Vs 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Vs 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

Vs 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour”. That they may RECEIVE forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness of sin is received by faith in the gospel.

Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Vs 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. The law will charge sin but faith does not impute sin. Faith in the gospel declares a man righteous.

2nd Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Vs 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Vs 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. God in Christ doesn’t impute sin. Under the old covenant, what we see is a man taking steps of reconciliation towards God, offering sacrifices, praying...etc.

In the New Testament what we see is that God was the one who took steps of reconciling man. Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins.

Forgiveness of sins in the New Testament is tied to the blood of Jesus. Under the Old Testament they offered blood of bulls and goats. The price paid – redemption – is the blood of Jesus. Thus we see a difference between the two covenants.

Under the old covenant forgiveness of sin was conditional. It was a reward for what the man had done – prayer, offering, and confession of sin. Under the new covenant forgiveness is not conditional; it’s based on the death of Jesus.

This knowledge is so important because many still take examples from the 4 gospels and the Old Testament and use such to preach to people to be saved. All is predicated on the death of Jesus. A man believes in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and he receives forgiveness of sins.


Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Jesus spoke of a new covenant. It means the old is no longer in force or of any effect. Hebrews 8:7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Vs 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…Vs 13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away”.

Thus we see how remission of sins was going to be done under this new covenant – by the shedding of the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

The death of Jesus has granted me forgiveness of sins. It is not conditional because it is based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Nothing is therefore required of me.

# Disseminating the truth

# Bringing freedom

# Perfecting the saints

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