Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Forgiveness is a big thing in God's Kingdom. And this verse shows us how we can live in that forgiveness. First of all, we realize and understand that we are forgiven. We live in the humility of knowing that we are imperfect people in whom God is working. And, on the basis of Christ's sacrifice for us, His finished work on Calvary's cross and resurrection from the death it brought, we receive forgiveness from God. Thank you, Jesus! Our sins no longer hold us; we are set free from their grip. He speaks to us as He did to the woman caught in adultery, "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." And secondly, on the basis of our own forgiveness, what we have received, we can then give that same forgiveness to others. In that same encounter with the woman caught in adultery, Jesus spoke to her accusers, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." And the scripture goes on to tell us, At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there (John 8).
In what we call The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6), Jesus teaches us to pray in this way: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." And He goes on to make this commentary: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Sounds pretty important to me. And Jesus modeled this on His cross, did He not, as He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus forgave us as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. We forgive others because we, too, become His lambs, His sheep, as we receive that forgiveness.
Yes, in view of God's mercy to us, we can forgive others. Not because necessarily they deserve it, but because we have been forgiven, we forgive. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Under the Old Covenant, trespass offerings were given to God. Perhaps forgiving others is one way to sacrifice to the Lord in the New Covenant. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you (Romans 12:1-3). We are all sinners saved by grace for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23, 24).