The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Forgiveness of Sins or Forsaking of Sins

An angel announced to Joseph that he was to call Mary’s child “Jesus” (Saviour) for He would save His people from their sins. Notice that the angel didn’t say that He would save His people from hell, but from their sins. It is necessary to be delivered from sin. My belief is that this is a life-long process (He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ—Philippians 1:6)

Was the purpose of Jesus’ death to allow Him to grant forgiveness of sins? How could that be? For if His death was necessary in order to grant forgiveness, how could He forgive people prior to His death. Here is one example:

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. (Matt 9:2-7 NAS95)

The concept that Jesus’ death was for the forgiveness of sins seems to be held in conjunction with the notion that salvation has no relation to our behaviour, whether good or bad, rather that it depends on faith in Christ, or results in the act of “accepting Christ as one’s personal Saviour.” The implication is that such a person is then “saved from hell” and could spend the rest of his life being cruel to others—even raping and torturing to death women and girls, and still be acceptable to God because of his faith or acceptance of Christ. This implication, of course, is never actually stated by those who hold this belief. But they quote Ephesians 2:9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Of course, salvation is not the result of self-effort, but it is significantly related to our life style.

What did Jesus teach about the result of good deeds and of evil deeds?

… an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28,28 ESV)

But didn’t Paul teach concerning salvation, that works were of no avail? Not according to Romans 2:6-11 ESV
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

What Paul did teach in his letter to Titus, is that salvation results from the enabling grace of God to live righteously that Christ made available though His sacrifice on our behalf is appropriated by faith.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
(Titus 2:11-15

So salvation is the process of being saved from sin itself, and not merely being saved from hell.

Perhaps one of the reasons that many dismiss righteousness as unnecessary in order to be accepted by God, is the translation of “αφεσις΅ as “forgiveness” in relation to Christ’s provision for man through His death on their behalf. The word occurs 16 times in the New Testament, and in 15 of those times virtually every translation renders the word as “forgiveness,” and 13 of those occur in the phrase “forgiveness of sins.” For example in Matthew where our Lord institutes the eucharist or communion, He said concerning the wine according to the ESV, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” And again in Ephesians 1:7 the ESV has Paul saying, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” But again, if it were necessary for Jesus to shed His blood in order to forgive, then how did He forgive people their sins prior to His death? Again, in Mark 2:5, it is recorded that Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And in Luke 8:48, it is recorded that Jesus said to the woman who kissed His feet and wet them with her tears, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Let’s consider the one verse, Luke 4:18, that contains “αφεσις” in which it would be senseless to translate “αφεσις” as “forgiveness.” If we did it would read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim forgiveness to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to send away in forgiveness those who are oppressed (broken in pieces, shattered).” Captives don’t need forgiveness; they need deliverance from their bondage— release. Broken, oppressed people don’t need forgiveness, they need deliverance from oppression.

I believe that the word “αφεσις” carries the meaning of “deliverance” in all 16 verses. Jesus didn’t die in order to grant “forgiveness of sins” but to grant “deliverance from sins” or on our part “forsaking of sins.”

It is believed that the noun “αφεσις” is derived from the verb “αφιημι.” The latter word occurs 133 times in the New Testament. I checked out its meaning for the 40 times it is used in Matthew. I found that there seems to be three distinct meanings of the word:

“Allow” 9 times: 3:15, 5:40, 7:4, 8:22, 13:30, 15:14, 19:44, 22:25, 23:13

“Leave” or “forsake” 18 times: 4:4, 4:20, 4:22, 5:24, 8:15, 13:36, 15: 12, 19:27, 19:29, 19:14, 22:22, 23:23, 24:2, 24:40, 24:41, 26:44, 26:56, 27:50

“Forgive” 12 times: 6:12, 6:14, 6:15, 9:2, 9:5, 9:6, 12:31, 12:32, 18:21, 18:27, 18:32, 18:35

It seems be the case that since “αφιημι” sometimes means “forgive” that translators presumed that the derived word “αφεσις” sometimes or even usually means “forgiveness.”

I have seen no evidence that the word “αφεσις” ever means “forgiveness.” The word occurs twice in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament—Number 36:4 and Deuteronomy 15:2. Clearly, it cannot be construed to mean “forgiveness” in either of those verses.

My general conclusion: Jesus lovingly died on our behalf to deliver us from our sins—not merely to forgive our sins. If the latter were the case, the implication is that righteous living is unnecessary in order to be acceptable to God.

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I’m with you 100%,


Mt 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness (aka remission-removal-dismission-deliverance-pardon) of sins.

Consider further… weigh up the translational evidence HERE. And here’s more… Mk 1:4; 3:29; Lk 1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:3; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:22; 10:18.
And FYI… in its various cognates <ἄφεσις> aphesis appears in the LXX some 44 times.

maybe righteous living is a result of understanding that Jesus did what he did. You always want to say that people want to do bad. Why is that? If I realize that someone did something incredibly awesome for me, and saw how it would change my life, why would I just say oh well I’m going to continue to do bad. Your view is skewed.

And, most of the time people choose not to do what YOU CALL Righteous LIVING because they’ve had some religious a hole tell them how they need to be as opposed to really taking the time to explain how living a certain way will render benefits. You are a pill.:wink:

You sometimes are interesting. :astonished:

I’m always interesting, Chad. :laughing:

I am well familiar with this verse and the usual translation of it. It’s one of the 13 verses to which I referred in which the phrase has been translated as “the forgiveness of sins.” I know of no justification for so translating it. I believe that the phrase should be translated as “the deliverance from sins” or possibly “the forsaking of sins.”

But “the forgiveness of sins” IS a reasonable rendering of the Greek — as per the many translations noted; and NONE of that has anything to do with anyone disavowing righteousness as you claim.

Just because you lack sufficient understand of the Greek isn’t grounds for dismissing it.

Deliverance” is fine because that’s what the release from sin is… “forgiveness.” If forsaking were the intent then <ἐγκαταλείπω> egkataleipō would have been used — it’s not.

Acts 13:38-39 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;

Acts 13:38 GNT γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν, ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, ὅτι διὰ τούτου ὑμῖν ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν

ἄφεσις,n {af’-es-is}
1) release from bondage or imprisonment 2) forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty

But what makes it a reasonable rendering in your eyes? You have provided no justification except that many translators so render it (of which I am well aware).

I am not saying that translating it as “forgiveness of sins” is intrinsically “disavowing righteousness” but clearly many use it to prove that righteousness is “good, but not necessary” in order to be saved from hell.
Such people are much more interested in their personal salvation from hell in the afterlife, than they are in their personal salvation from wrongdoing in this life.

(BAGD) Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker…

ἄφεσις = release from, pardon, cancellation of an obligation, a punishment, or guilt. In relation to Mt 26:28 = forgiveness of sins i.e., cancellation of the guilt of sin.

1Clem 53:5 O mighty love! O unsurpassable perfection! The servant is bold with his Master; he asketh forgiveness for the multitude, or he demandeth that himself also be blotted out with them.

1Clem 53:5 ω μεγαλης αγαπης, ω τελειοτητος ανυπερβλητου• παρρησιαζεται θεραπων προς κυριον, αιτειται αφεσιν τω πληθει η και εαυτον εξαλειφθηναι μετ αυτων αξιοι.

ἄφεσις = dismissal, release — metaphorically from sins, pardon, remission of a penalty.

Liddell & Scott…
ἄφεσις = a letting go, setting free: a quittance, discharge: remission, forgiveness: a starting of horses in a race, the starting-post itself.

There at least is enough evidence to be seen and considered.

Hmm… maybe more people are coming to the realisation of the falsity of a supposed post-mortem hell to be allegedly saved from?

If that is the evidence of your experience of believers I couldn’t challenge that.

Padion argued that this term means a “release” that delivers us from sins. May it be that BAG’s “release from,” Abbott-Smith’s “release,” and Lidell & Scott’s “setting free,” are all recognizing the possibility of the translation Paidion favors?

Which is why I also wrote this…

Paidion was making a case for “forsaking” as an *alternative rendering to fit the position he was/is pushing — it’s NOT there.

Well, he writes, “Captives need deliverance from their bondage— release,” and specifies, "I believe it should be translated as “the deliverance from sins.” You agree that’s a legit translation, but assert “forgiveness… is what the release from sins is.”

It strikes me that the agreed upon possible translation, released or delivered from sins, involves some ambiguity, and that Paidion thinks it points not simply to being delivered from the penalty of sins, but from our bondage to them (and so assumes such a deliverance would involve the forsaking of them).

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Yeah… that’s all theologically lovely, and I agree, BUT there is NO “ambiguity” WHERE the text supplies the context of <ἁμαρτιῶν> hamartiōn i.e., SINS — that’s WHY the translators en masse render ἄφεσις accordingly, as per my original link up the page, AND the evidence immediately above. You talk about sticking with the narrative of the TEXT — that’s all I’m doing. I can’t believe you guys don’t know this stuff?

Again… “and so assumes such a deliverance would involve the forsaking of them” is a fine theological point BUT it is NOT what the text/s says — different word/s different context/s.

“There is NO “ambiguity” WHERE the text supplies the context hamartion i.e., SINS — that’s WHY translators en masse render ἄφεσις accordingly… I can’t believe you guys don’t know this stuff?”

davo, I don’t base my belief in Jesus’ mission on this term, and I’m awful dense. But I’m not grasping why you say the word, “sins” (pl?), requires the variant ‘forgiveness,’ and removes any ambiguity,
or means that this term can’t have the flavor here that it does e.g. in translations of it in Luke 4:18.
Can you spell out your logic for the less literate?

(BTW, amid the dominant tradition, I notice that TLV has “removal” of sins, TLB has “took away,” and YLT/AMP has “remission” -‘a diminution of a disease’s intensity’?).

Bob… we all know you are neither dense nor dumb or even illiterate.

The reason I use the plural is because that’s how the Greek reads across the NT where ἄφεσιν / ἁμαρτιῶν run together in the text… generally speaking, words ending in <ων> are in the plural (that doesn’t apply to names however).

The release / removal / remission / forgiveness / deliverance / took away, etc are ALL (as per the texts in view where the Gk. phrase occurs) the work of God. Sure, some of the texts involve the injunction of repentance (Paidion’s “forsaking” etc) BUT the said forgiveness IS the work of God.

As for Lk 4:18that reflects the core or base meaning of the word AND THE CONTEXT then reflects that rendering. I might add that that is its predominant use in the LXX… the NT writers use it primarily in relation to the release, i.e., the forgiveness of sins and transgressions.

I hope that helps.

lol, and thanks. Sure, I’m Greek literate enough to recognize a plural, and I assumed this ‘deliverance’ is presented as God’s work. But I’m still oblivious as to why you say such a “context” means that this term can only mean “forgiveness” here, rather than what you call its’ core meaning as in Luke 4:18.

Doesn’t Paidion and those who see the Bible as able to specify that Jesus “takes away” sin, or that by the Spirit “you’ve been set free from sin and have become slaves of God” (Rom 6:18) also assume those life transforming things are 'the work of God," tho also requiring our own cooperative response?

Does everything that requires ‘God’s work’ necessarily mean that our own cooperative actions aren’t needed to experience that? Isn’t it Biblically possible to synergistically hold that you need “to work out your salvation,” knowing “it is God who works in you to will and to do”? Or am I completely missing the logic of your contention?

Lol… YEP as it turns out you pretty much are!

I HAVEN’T argued against ANY of that… in fact Bob didn’t read or SEE of my “I agree” previously stated with regards to the theological themes etc?


I wish I had the words of ALL those translators for you who render as their translations DO in accord with what I’ve previously demonstrated. NONE give the rendition ‘forsaking’ that Paidion argues for, and in contradistinction says he finds absolutely NO evidence of justifying the standard reading — REALLY please!?

Again, even on the weight of numbers and you not knowing, as I pointed out to you, the base meaning etc — WHY would you NOT believe “forgiveness” or “remission” is the correct renderings WHEN the context where those words are used is SINS? I previously pointed this out BUT you to seem to find Paidion’s contention more compelling — staggers me??

Bob, I’ve done some homework for you… these are all the NT texts where the Greek word <ἄφεσις> aphesis appears — which is typically translated by “forgiveness” or “remission” OR their direct equivalent in the BULK of the translations of these texts, of which MOST are relative to SINS

Mt 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mk 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mk 3:29 …but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—

Lk 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.

Lk 3:3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

Lk 24:47 …and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Acts 13:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.

Acts 26:18 …to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…

Col 1:14 …in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Heb 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Heb 10:18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Now IF you are convinced that of the 16 verse the sole verse that doesn’t have some direct bearing to SIN and as such apparently MEANS forsaking AND you can read THAT into its place, or for that matter, reading THAT into any of these texts THEN… well who knows??

Paidion maintains… “Jesus didn’t die in order to grant “forgiveness of sins” but to grant “deliverance from sins” or on our part “forsaking of sins.”

Both forgiveness AND deliverance are in essence and reality equivalent… so Paidion’s first objection is a contradiction. Secondly and more importantly, AND my main contention… <ἄφεσις> aphesis can NOWHERE be understood as “forsaking” — it is just poor exegesis to claim otherwise AND I think I’ve demonstrated that sufficiently already. I am NOT arguing against the theological arguments relative to the forsaking of sins BUT THAT is not the predominant focus nor claim of the OP.

Well, my question was precisely why YOU believe that the (unmissable) referring to “sins” makes “forgiveness” aphesisonly possible translation? It may well be correct, but I’d argued that deliverance (Lidell & Scott’s “setting free”) from our bondage to “sins” in our life may also be a possible meaning.

And apologetically, I’m still not seeing what definitive logic you are providing to answer my question.

(P.S. You appear to assume that I have to support everything Paidion thinks–e.g. if he thinks that aphesis should be translated ‘forsake;’ but I don’t and haven’t. I did take him to favor ‘deliverance’.)