[Next Manton considers at length what is implied by the language of “forgiveness.” Notice that this is not explicitly in the sermon text. Manton is working with the concepts of redemption and forgiveness and then working out what must be implied within those concepts. He does not merely quote ten verses with the word forgiveness, nor give a definition of forgiveness. Instead he works out the logic of forgiveness being offered by God.]
4. It remaineth, therefore, that forgiveness of sin is a dissolving the obligation to punishment ….
a. [He considers first the cause-effect relationship between crime-punishment, one gives rise to the other] …. There can be no punishment without a preceding fault and crime.
[This creates a new implication: if the crime is not present, the cause for the punishment is likewise set aside.] Therefore, if the judge will not impute the fault, there must needs be an immunity from punishment, for the cause being taken away, the effect ceaseth, and the sin committed by us is the meritorious cause of punishment.
[This leads to divine relationship]. If God will cover that, and overlook it, then forgiveness is a dissolving the obligation to punishment.
b. [If I am punished, I cannot be forgiven at the same time. Therefore, the offer of forgiveness implies the absence of punishment.
c. [He next argues on the character of God. If God tells the truth, then forgiveness must mean an absence of punishment] It would seem to impeach the justice and mercy of God, if he should exact the punishment where he hath pardoned the offence. His justice, to flatter men with hopes of remitting the debt, where he requireth the payment; his mercy, in making such fair offers of reconciliation, when still liable to his vindictive justice. There may be indeed effects of his fatherly anger, but not of his vindictive wrath.
d. [Having considered the logic of the matter he reviews some passages Ps. 32:1, 51:2; Is. 38:17; Jer. 31:34; Micah 7:19, which all speak of God’s extravagant mercy and grace in forgiving and forgetting sin. He takes these passages as metaphorical, and then asks what must be true if these are the metaphors used to describe the forgiveness? It must be complete, which is consistent with analysis of the logic or mercy and forgiveness.]
[What do we take from this first section? He proves the point he raised at first: Forgiveness is not merely an incidental, I was not punished. It is analysis of what must be true if I am forgiven, and can I truly conclude that God offers actual forgiveness. The result is the forgiven sinner knows himself to be free of punishment for sin, even if he may be corrected by this Father.]
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