Forgiveness and Remission of Sins
Colossians 1:14-20
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:…

Strictly speaking it is not sins that are forgiven, but their penalty. All men know what "to give" is; but what is it to for-give? To forth-give or give forth. When a man in ancient times forgave, he gave forth from himself something he was entitled to retain. When a man does injury to another he is liable to a penalty, and formerly every penalty short of death consisted of valuable material such as live cattle or money; and it was that, laid at the injured person's feet, that was given forth from the receiver, when he was willing to forgive the injurer. Precisely speaking it was not the injury that was forth-given; the injury was never at the disposal of the injured person. It was the penalty incurred by the injury that was forth-given. And whatever the penalty might be, though death itself, if it was not exacted it was forgiven. So when God forgives He generously refrains from exacting the penalty we have incurred. Another word is remission, which is a beautiful variation. There is mission in it. When any one is sent forth some end is contemplated. That end is his mission. Re of course means back. To remit is to send back. In ancient times when the material of the penalty of a transgression was sent to the injured person, he had it in his option graciously to send it back. That was the remission of the penalty of the sin. The phrase is now condensed, and we speak not only of the remission of the penalty, but of the remission of the sin. The expression is practically equivalent in Biblical representation to the word redemption, so that the two phrases reciprocally throw light on each other. In this light it is seen that, as a matter of principle, it must always be a difficulty in moral government to give scope to the forgiveness of crimes, or the remission of the penalty of transgressions. No wonder, therefore, that there should be difficulty in the Divine government.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

WEB: in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins;

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