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Morrish Bible Dictionary

10 Forgiveness Remission

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There are two words, ἄφεσις and πάρεσις, thus rendered, the former being of very constant use, and the latter occurring but once.

ἄφεσις(from ἀφίημι, to 'let go,' hence 'to let go free from a charge') was to be characteristic of John the Baptist's testimony, "to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins." Luke 1:77 . Hence we find him preaching "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Mark 1:4 ; Luke 3:3 . To let go free of charge by God is necessarily in righteousness, hence we read in Hebrews 9:22 that "without shedding of blood" there could be "no remission." We also find that the cup at the institution of the Lord's Supper ( Matthew 26:28 ) was the symbol of "the blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." ἄφεσιςis identified with redemption in two passages. Ephesians 1:7 ; and Colossians 1:14 . In Luke 24:47 , the ground having been laid in Christ's death, the testimony of it is sent forth by the risen Christ: "repentance and remission of sins" was henceforth to be "preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Hence in Acts 2:38 , to those who were reached in conscience by the testimony of Peter, remission of sins was presented as the first characteristic blessing which became theirs, by taking upon them Christ's name. For "Him hath God exalted by his right hand," he further witnesses in Acts 5:31 "to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins:" in Acts 10:43 , opening the door of the kingdom still wider, to the Gentile audience gathered with Cornelius, he is able to bring forward the testimony of all the prophets "that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." From Acts 26:18 we know it was part of Paul's commission, even as he first preached it in the Gentile city of Antioch, Acts 13:38,39 . One more passage, Hebrews 10:18 , identifies it with the remembrance of sins no more, now enjoyed by the Christian, and to be made good to Israel under the New Covenant, Hebrews 10:16,17 . It is ἄφεσις in all these passages, which are all its occurrences save Luke 4:18 , where it occurs twice as 'deliverance' and 'liberty,' and Mark 3:29 , where it is 'forgiveness.'

ἄφεσιςis better translated by 'remission': to forgive, as a gracious act towards another, is χαρίζομαι as in Ephesians 4:32 ; Colossians 2:13 ; Colossians 3:13 ; etc.

πάρεσις(from παρίημι, 'to let pass, relax') occurs only in Romans 3:25 , where the A.V. renders it 'remission,' not observing the distinction that the passage makes between God's ways as to the sins of those before the cross, and after it, now that propitiation has been made through faith in His blood. The more the place of 'remission' is seen, as in the texts quoted above, the more the importance of the change of word will be felt here where we must read "for the passing over [see margin] of sins done aforetime through the forbearance of God." The cross declared God's righteousness in so passing over the sins of past ages, while at the same time it laid the ground for Him now to be "just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."

It was not that under the law there was not provision by which a sinner of Israel might have the forgiveness of sins, but every fresh sin had to be met with fresh sacrifice and fresh forgiveness. And even on the great day of atonement there was a "remembrance again" made of sins every year. Moreover, the Prophets, as David, in Psalm 32 ; Psalm 85:2 ; Psalm 103 etc.; Isaiah in many passages; Jeremiah in connection with the New Covenant ( Jeremiah 31 .) — all of them, as Peter can say, had borne testimony to the forgiveness of God. But it was not the revealed ground upon which they of old stood; there could not have been declared before the cross God's righteousness in sin's judgement: it would have taken out from Judaism before the time, as Hebrews 10:2 shows. Hence the change of word by the apostle in Romans 3:25 . Theirs was not the ἄφεσιςof accomplished redemption, not the 'no more conscience of sins' — that is characteristic of the christian position.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for '10 Forgiveness Remission '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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