But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:15
Some grace believers say that because Jesus made this statement before the cross, it no longer applies to us. After all, we’re not under law, we’re under grace, right? That would be a quick and easy fix for a verse that has caused many believers to live under the threat of condemnation, but are we doing ourselves a favor by dismissing it so easily? And are we right in thinking that Jesus taught a conditional form of salvation before the cross because the Law was still in effect? Or could he have been referring to something that still holds true even now? In other words, is there a sense in which God’s exoneration of us is somehow connected to us not holding sin against others—whether before the cross or after?
You see, the simple message Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:15 at that time had to do with shaking the fleshly confidence of the religious mind, and it is just as relevant today. Don’t kid yourself, there is no such thing as being confident of your own forgiveness if you are holding something against your brother. And if you think I’m suggesting that being absolved from sin is somehow dependent upon something you can do, you couldn’t be more wrong. What I’m actually telling you is that the only reason you could possibly hold someone else’s trespasses against them is that you still, to whatever degree, view yourself according to the same standard of judgment. That is how the religious mind has been twisting the reality of what it means to be totally released from sin, and it has nothing to do with the complete forgiveness that’s been made real in Christ.
Look, when you find yourself unable to forgive another person, don’t fall back upon some kind of grace-based rationale by which to intellectually bolster your own lagging confidence, because it only continues to reinforce a legalistic facade created by the mind that cannot know God. My friend, through Christ you have been fully forgiven, and you have been given the wisdom of God. Pay attention, for he is actively working within you to expose the real cause of your seeming inability to excuse others, which is that you have given into a fleshly logic that makes it seem legitimate to view yourself according to sin. But Christ put an end to that logic.