Second Reformed Church

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Review: "Finding Forgiveness"

When I have seen people ask for forgiveness, their action has been – often – to say, “sorry” in a tone that belies it.  Do we even know what forgiveness is?
Stanley D. Gale explains in his book, Finding Forgiveness:  Discovering the Healing Power of the Gospel.
In the first chapter, Gale explains that we must first understand what forgiveness is in the Gospel.  He explains that justification is the one-time legal declaration by which God receives the full-payment for our sin by our Substitute and the declaration that we have now – in Christ 0- fulfilled the Law (10-11).  In this, the believer can understand the centrality of forgiveness to the Gospel – for it is what we have receive through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
From this it flows that we respond to the forgiveness we have received through loving obedience to Jesus (30).  We confess our sins believing the Gospel, and we respond by reciprocating that forgiveness as a witness to the Gospel (41).
Gale explains that forgiveness is not the same as the oft-said “forgive and forget.”  True forgiveness does discard the offense – tear it up – throw it away, and offers the grace never to bring it up to the offender, self, or anyone else again (50).  But it does not mean an imposed ignorance of what happened.
In the fourth chapter, he reminds us that forgiveness is a Christian duty (76).  He explains that forgiveness it two people sitting down to resolve an issue – not each other – the offense is dealt with existentially, not personally (84).
The final chapter considers the problem of forgiving self.  Here again, he explains that this is a duty for Christians:  if we do not, we exalt ourselves and diminish Christ (and His work) (106).  We ought to stand firm in the grace e wave received in the Gospel against our enemy (108).  We must rest in the peace of Christ and not give in to the accusations and temptations of our enemy (112).  Finally, we are to press on in faith, receiving all the God has said and the grace He gives us each day (114).
The book is a wonderful primer on forgiveness, how to understand it, and how to have it be a part of our Christians character.  I recommended it to everyone who will read – there is too much confusion on the subject of forgiveness.
Each chapter ends with a discussion section which one can use for personal reflection, or the book can be used for group discussion and teaching.
[This review appears on my blog and on  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.]

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