Original Research

Forgiveness: A Christocentric perspective

Francois P. Möller
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1938 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1938 | © 2015 Francois P. Möller | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 February 2015 | Published: 18 November 2015

About the author(s)

Francois P. Möller, Auckland Park Theological Seminary, Auckland Park, South Africa and Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


Forgiveness is at the core of Christianity and is a gift of God in conquering sin and its destructive fruits. It is therefore important to understand the biblical principles and norms in this regard. This will be done from a dogmatic-ethical view that will be motivated by aC hristocentric perspective. Central to forgiveness is what God has done in Christ to move towards us in brokenness and sin whilst inviting our repentant response. Christ has done a complete work in this regard, and therefore God is faithful and righteous to Christ to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. A Christocentric view accentuates God’s initiative in forgiveness and necessitates us to differentiate between God’s unconditional offering of forgiveness and his conditional applying of forgiveness. It is shown that this differentiation is crucial in the understanding and application of forgiveness as portrayed in the Bible. Christ is normative in offering forgiveness, and therefore it should be done in his name. Christ is also normative in the realisation of forgiveness and therefore he is the Subject of forgiveness, not a human being. In conclusion the problem of offered forgiveness that does not evoke repentance and confession is dealt with.

Vergifnis: ’n Christosentriese perspektief. Vergifnis is wesenlik deel van die Christendom en ’n gawe van God in die oorwinning van sonde en sy vernietigende gevolge. Dit is daarom belangrik om die bybelse beginsels en norme in hierdie verband te begryp. Dit sal gedoenword vanuit ’n dogmaties-etiese benadering gemotiveer deur ’n Christosentriese perspektief. Dit wat God in Christus gedoen het deur na ons uit te reik in ons gebrokenheid en sonde in afwagting op ons berouvolle reaksie, staan in die kern van vergifnis. Christus het in hierdie verband ’n volkome werk gedoen, en daarom is God getrou en regverdig teenoor Christus om ons sondes te vergewe en ons van alle ongeregtigheid te reinig. ’n Christosentriese perspektief aksentueer God se inisiatief in vergifnis en noop ons om tussen die onvoorwaardelike aanbieding van vergifnis en die voorwaardelike realisering daarvan te onderskei. Daar word aangetoon dat hierdie onderskeid essensieel is vir die verstaan en toepassing van vergifnis soos dit in die Bybel voorgehou word. Christus is normatief in die aanbieding van vergifnis, en daarom moet dit in sy Naam geskied. Christus is ook normatief in die realisering van vergifnis, en daarom is Hy die Subjek van vergifnis, nie die mens nie. Ten slotte word die problem van aangebode vergifnis behandel, wat nie berou en belydenis tot gevolg het nie.


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