Jesus is God, and he became who we are—he became our sin. Because he was both God and man he could accomplish the task that God the Father gave him of being the perfect lamb that was sacrificed to take away the sins of the world. Jesus reached across time and space and identified with everyone who has ever lived or will live.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
When Jesus went to the cross identifying with our predicament of sin, disease, and death, he took our place as a sacrifice for us—reaping what we should reap. So Jesus’ struggle and plea in the Garden of Gethsemane was not a moment of panic, but a clear decision to carry out the Father’s will by dealing with the requirements of the universal laws that the Father set in motion. So forgiveness, at its heart, is something that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross historically at Calvary 2000 years ago and is accomplishing in us through his Spirit experientially now in our lives.
Forgiveness is something that Jesus Christ does in us and for us. It’s not something that we accomplish. Our job is to get into position to forgive and receive forgiveness from others. For if you forgive others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that you father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
If we do not forgive, we have sown a seed of unforgiveness in our heart, and it will bear fruit. Read the story of the man who was forgiven a ten-thousand talent debt in Matthew 18:21-35. Immediately after leaving the presence of his master who had erased his large debt, he saw a man who owed him a few bucks. He grabbed the poor soul by his throat and threatened him and his family. When the Lord heard about it, the unforgiving servant reaped what he sowed.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (NLT)