Colossians 3:12-13 / Forgive

Posted on August 23, 2015


This is the fifteenth in a verse by verse exposition of the book of Colossians. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of August 23, 2015. This message deals primarily with the issue of forgiveness. This post contains an audio recording of the sermon, as well as my sermon notes (sermon notes are not necessarily a complete transcript).

Col 3:12-13



We’ve been through the putting off of the old, that being our old sinful lives. But what do we replace it with.

We take off our old, soiled clothes after a hard days work, and we replace them with clean fresh clothes. In the same manner, when we are saved, we put off the old man, and replace it with the new man. This new man is a clean and fresh new man, newly created in Jesus Christ.

To start with, we put on tender mercies. This refers to compassion. As new creatures in Christ, this compassion is like His compassion.

  • Luke 6:36

Kindness simply refers to goodness toward others.
Just as Christ embodied humility, so should we do.

  • Philippians 2:8

Meekness has been defined as having power and authority, yet showing restraint. There were many times when Jesus could have used His Godly power in retribution, but He chose not to.

Longsuffering is simply patience. Sometimes we must simply endure injustice and troubles with the hope of the eventual relief. 
We are to endure each other’s faults or shortcomings, with the qualities listed above.

  • Ephesians 4:2
  • Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness, in and of itself, is characteristic of the heart of Christ. If forgiveness were not of utmost importance to Him, He certainly would not have subjected Himself to the Cross! Yet, it was on the cross that we see the greatest example of forgiveness. 

  • Luke 23:34

Not only did He forgive sinners, but He forgave the very ones who were nailing Him to the Cross! Therefore, this attitude of forgiveness must be present in all who are in Christ. In fact, Jesus says that we shouldn’t put limits on it.

  • Matthew 18:21-22

Now Peter thought he was being generous when he offered to forgive 7 times, after all, the rabbi’s taught that 3 times was sufficient. But Jesus gave a very interesting answer, He said “up to to seventy time seven.” 

Most people understand Jesus’ statement to represent unlimited forgiveness (with the number 7 representing perfection and completeness), and it does. So why didn’t He just say “unlimited?” Why did He give a specific number? Seventy times seven equals 490. 

How many times have you asked Jesus to forgive you? If you are honest, I’m sure it exceeds 490 times. So why this number,where have we seen that number before? Daniel offers some insight.

  • Daniel 9:24-27 

Daniel speaks of seventy weeks, and a week is made up of seven days (seventy times seven). Each week of Daniel’s prophecy represents 7 years, so those seventy weeks, seventy times seven, would equal 490 years. Those 490 years of Daniel’s prophechy are divided into three parts. 

Parts 1 and 2 have already occurred, and there is an undetermined gap of time between parts 2 and 3. Part 3 has yet to happen.

  1. 7 weeks (49 years) this was the time that it took for Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem.
  2. 62 weeks (434 years) until the cutting off of Christ. It was 434 years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until the time that Jesus was crucified. If you add these two together, you come up with 483 years that have already elapsed.
  3. This is the final 7 years, the great tribulation. This has yet to happen, but when it is complete, the 490 years will have been fulfilled.

After the great tribulation, Christ will return and set up His kingdom here on earth for 1000 years. During this time, sin will be wiped out.
Now when Jesus said “up to seventy times seven,” I believe that He was referring to the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Think about it, when Christ returns, and sin is wiped out, there will be nothing left to forgive. There will be no more need for forgiveness at that point, so that’s when we can stop forgiving. Up to that time, you may have to forgive 1 million times, and until that time we are not to stop forgiving. Because Christ has forgiven us, we are to forgive others. 
You say, “you don’t know what ________ has done to me.”

I understand that, but I do know what they did to Christ. They crucified Him; and while they were doing it, He cried, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” There may be situations where we have no intention of forgiving, but it is commanded by Christ!

  • Matthew 6:14-15

This simply means that although our forgiveness and salvation was unconditionally secured at the cross, in our daily lives we still sin, and this hinders our relationship with God. We have to make sure that our relationship with others is right, before we can expect a restored relationship with God.

  • Matthew 5:23-24

Then, God will faithfully forgive you and restore your relationship with Him. That’s just the kind of God He is.

  • 1 John 1:9

The bottom line is, God continues to forgive you well past the 490 mark. Aren’t you glad? We need to return the same forgiveness to others.
Again, this business of forgiving is a tough thing. However, it is required by the greatest forgiver of them all — Jesus Christ. 
When time is up, you cannot forgive anymore; so don’t meet your Savior without forgiving those who have wronged you.

Posted in: Sermons