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For if ye forgive men their TRESPASSES, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their TRESPASSES, neither will your Father forgive your TRESPASSES. ( Matthew 6:14-15 )
To pass over, to go beyond one's right in place or act; to injure another; to do that which annoys or inconveniences another; any violation of law, civil or moral; it may relate to a person, a community, or the state, or to offenses against God. The Hebrew 'asham ("sin"), is used very frequently in the Old Testament when the trespass is a violation of law of which God is the author. The Greek word is paraptoma.
In the Old Testament an offering was demanded when the offense was against God:
a female lamb; in other cases, according to the magnitude of the wrong, a ram or a goat; the offering was to be preceded by a confession by the one committing the trespass. If the trespass was against a human being, the wrong-doer must make it right with the person, and when reconciliation should have been effected, then the offering for sin was to be made. See under SACRIFICE, "Trespass Offering." If a person's property has been injured, then the trespasser shall add a fifth to the value of the property injured and give that to the injured party (Leviticus 6:5). Zaccheus, wanting to make full restitution, went beyond the demands of the Law (Luke 19:1-9).
The New Testament teaching on the subject is, first to be reconciled to the brother and then offer, or worship (Matthew 5:23,24). In all cases, also, the offended party must forgive if the offender shall say, "I repent" (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). We have been alienated by our trespasses from God (Ephesians 2:1). It was the Father's good will to reconcile all to Himself through Christ (Colossians 1:20-22). We must be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20,21). This being done, our trespasses shall be forgiven and we shall be justified.
David Roberts Dungan
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