God commands forgiveness of others in same manner as and upon the basis of God in Christ forgiving us (Eph. 4:23). “If every offense against us involves a greater offense against God, and if God forgives the offender, who are we to withhold forgiveness?”. Therefore, failing to forgive is a sinful act of pride and disobedience. Conversely, forgiveness is an act of love, obedience and humility (MacArthur 1998, 177). Adams, too, begins his analysis of forgiveness with the root in the work of Christ. Relying upon Ephesians 4:23, Adams concludes that the transaction between human beings called “forgiveness” must be in some manner analogous to the transaction between God and man accomplished in Jesus Christ (Adams 1989, 11).
Forgiveness moves from theological conclusion (what has happened between God and us) to human relation (what happens between other human beings and us). To develop an appropriate doctrine of forgiveness, we must begin with God. This movement is dictated by Eph. 4:32 & Colossians 3:12-13. (Our own repentance to God as a believer restores the right relationship with our Father – it does not create or end the fact of the justification (MacArthur 1988, 74).)
- WHAT CONSTITUTES FORGIVENESS
MacArthur defines forgiveness functionally as, “[T]he person who choses to forgive resolves not to remember the offense, refuses to hold a grudge, relinquishes any claim on recompense, and resists the temptation to brood or retaliate” (MacArthur 1998, 122). This definition is set against the Corinthians who still demanded some sort of recompense from and retaliation against a brother who had sinned against them (MacArthur 1998, 164-165).
Adams works through the potentialities of forgiveness: Is it an action, a feeling, something else? He notes that forgiveness must at least be more than a feeling, because the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ is something greater than an emotion (Adams 1989, 9). God’s forgiveness is an affirmative “on the record” action (Is. 43:25; Jer. 31:34; Adams 1989, 11). It involves a definitive action of forgetting (Adams, 11). “When our God forgives us, He promises that He will not remember our sins against us anymore” (Adams 1989, 12). Adams relies upon the parallel to God’s forgiveness of us to argue that forgiveness is necessarily transactional: repentance and a promise (Adams 1989, 33). Accordingly, forgiveness is always more than the a subjective determination to not be unhappy with another.
Adams structures his argument concerning forgiveness in a different manner than MacArthur. MacArthur begins with a detailed analysis of penal substitutionary atonement; Adams begins his detailed discussion with the human event (although he defines forgiveness in light of God’s work in Christ, Ephesians 4:23). Adams starts with Luke 17:3 and notes two primary aspects of the forgiveness event: rebuke and forgiveness. Forgiveness is a step on the path to reconciliation (Adams 1989, 68-69).
Adams notes the objection which is raised to the work of repeatedly forgiving: it simply is inhumanly difficult (Adams 1989, 19-21). MacArthur makes a similar point in discussing the blessing of forgiveness, in that forgiveness entails a loss of pride and an extension of mercy beyond normal human limits. Adams nails this point by striking at the excuses which would normally follow to prevent forgiveness: (1) I don’t have sufficient faith; to which Jesus responds, if you had faith the smallest amount of faith you could do tremendous things (Lk. 17:6); (2) if I see a proper response – fruit – of true repentance, I’ll forgive: to which Jesus responds, if he sins 490 times a day, forgive him (Lk. 17:4); and (3) I don’t feel like it: to which Jesus gives the parable of the unprofitable slave: we must aim for godliness, even when we feel discouraged (Lk. 17:7-10).
Of particular importance of Adams is the contrary nature of our feelings to our duty to forgive (Adams 1989, 23). While MacArthur, too, notes the difficulty of forgiveness, he does not focus on the emotional complication, discussing the problem in primarily spiritual or intellectual categories. Adams explains that since forgiveness is a promise, it can be given and kept irrespective of one feels about the promise (Adams 1989, 24). Interestingly, Adams ties unforgiveness to the sin of vengeance and thus puts us into the role of God (Gen. 50:19; Adams 1989, 25).
III. FORGIVENESS AS CONDITIONAL
This constitutes a major break between Adams and MacArthur. While both men admit that forgiveness can take place as a transactional matter, Adams defines forgiveness solely in terms of the transaction. MacArthur defines forgiveness in terms of an independent determination of the individual irrespective of repentance of the other. Adams adamantly disagrees with this position, “Today many Christian leaders erroneously teach that we must forgive another, even when that person clearly does not intend to seek forgiveness” (Adams, 26).
One text used to support the forgiveness without transaction understanding is Jesus’ prayer on the cross for forgiveness of those who killed him (Lk. 23:34). Both Adams and MacArthur agree that prayer does not constitute an offer of justification without repentance (Adams 1989, 28; MacArthur 1998, 40). Both agree that salvation was still contingent upon repentance and that the prayer was answered when there were true acts of repentance and forgiveness between God and man.
Adams nuances his approach with a reference to forgiveness in Mark 11:25. Adams notes that in forgiveness, a necessary element is lifting guilt from the other person (Adams 1989, 30). Thus, this verse can refer to the willingness of the prayer to forgive another; however, it cannot result in a transaction with the other where reconciliation can occur (Adams 1989, 31).
- OVERLOOKING AN OFFENSE
Both Adams and MacArthur agree that certain offenses may be “overlooked”. To fall into this category, the offense must be “minor” and must solely involve the one who overlooks as the offended party. They both concur that life would be unliveable were it not the case that people routinely overlook offenses (Adams 1989, 35; MacArthur 1998, 120). Here is a plain break between MacArthur and Adams, as noted by MacArthur (MacArthur 1989, 117).
Both authors rely upon similar texts. For example, they both agree “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8, ESV). 1 Peter 4:8 is a quotation of Proverbs 10:12. Yet they disagree on whether such covering sins constitutes “forgiveness”. Adams writes that such covering, “is not forgiveness” (Adams 1989, 34). MacArthur responds by arguing, “Covering another transaction is the very essence of forgiveness” (MacArthur 1998, 121). MacArthur relies upon verses such as Psalm 32:1 which put forgiveness and covered sins in parallel. Unfortunately, Psalm 32 really does not answer the question as neatly as MacArthur would like it.
- Did God Cover David’s Sins Without Confession? MacArthur notes the parallel between a “covered” sin and a “forgiven” sin (MacArthur 1998, 121). The problem for MacArthur is that the argument works in the opposite direction: Only a forgiven sin is covered. MacArthur wants to jump from the parallel in Psalm 32 (forgiveness = covered) to Proverbs 10:8 (love covers sins) to 1 Peter 4:8 (love covers sin) to love covering a sin means forgiveness takes place without repentance. This is a rather steep hill to climb.
Psalm 32 is a penitent Psalm which describes David’s injury which resulted to him as a result of not confessing his sins (Psalm 32:3-4). His comfort only came after confessing his sin (Ps. 32:5): “David explains how God forgave his sin once he had confessed it.”
Does this mean that a Christian is in a state of being unforgiven without confessing his sin? Yes and no. In chapter 3, “If We Confess Our Sins”, MacArthur distinguishes between being justified/unjustified and being in right relationship with our Father (MacArthur 1998, 54 & 58).
In Psalm 32, David is dealing with consequences of his unconfessed sin (MacArthur 1998, 58). David’s trouble was not a problem of having “lost his salvation,” nor would a failure confess result in his damnation (MacAthur 1998, 64). However, a failure to confess sin resulted in David’s broken relationship with his Father and the subsequent chastisement (MacArthur 1998, 60-63). That relationship was restored upon confession to the Father. MacArthur states that only by confession of sins is the paternal relationship with the Father restored (MacArthur 1998, 65-66). Thus, this verse at least teaches that David’s sins were covered/forgiven as a result of forgiveness.
This brings us back to verse 1: This is a reference to David’s original conversation, which itself was the result of David’s original repentance and belief. This can be seen be in Paul’s use of this very passage in Romans 4:7-8, to prove the point of God’s justifying the confessing sinner. David’s great joy expressed in Psalm 32 was the joy of realizing that he was a forgiven sinner: the act of justification. Since justification can only be the result of confession, David’s joy expressed in verse 1 can only be a joy as the result of justification which resulted from his initial repentance. In short, there is a parallel between covering and forgiveness, but the covering and forgiveness spoken of Psalm 32:1 were the result of transactional forgiveness following confession (whether paternal restoration or initial justification). For MacArthur to jump from “covering” in this verse to covering 1 Peter 4:8 needs more justification than mere repetition of the same word.
- Proverbs 10:12 & 1 Peter 4:8. Proverbs 10:12 says nothing about whether the covered transgression entailed a confession and repentance or not. Moreover, the covering may refer to something different than forgiveness (although it is a related concept): “The lover in the calculus of heaven draws the curtain down in order to conceal all transgressions, however many or bad (Jas. 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8). Instead of placing the transgressor on stage and withdrawing the veil to expose his faults (see 17:9) and so exact revenge, love endures his wrongs to reconcile him and save him from death (cf. 25:21-22; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Jas. 5:20) and to preserve peace (cf. Prov. 19:11).” This is not exactly forgiveness, although it makes forgiveness possible and is completely consistent with forgiveness.
This proverb is quoted by Peter in 1 Peter 4:8. Love is a difficult task, hence, there must be encouragement to keep at it: it is necessary for the good of the entire community (which is MacArthur’s point concerning the necessity of love in forgiveness). Dr. Joab writes of this verse:
What does it mean that love ‘covers’ sins? In the full proverb in both the Hebrew text and the LXX, love’s covering is put in antithetic parallelism to ‘hatred stirring up dissensions and quarrels’: … Since ‘hatred’ is the antonym of ‘love,’ the prhase ‘covers a multitude of sins’ in this antithetical parallel suggests that the sense of ‘covering’ and ‘stirring up strife’ are also opposites. If so, the lover that covers sins is probably best understood as a forbearance that does not let wrongs done within the Christian community come to their fullest and most virulent expression.
So understood, Peter is not making a theological statement about sins being forgiven (“covered”) by God. Nor is he saying that sin in the church should be ignored or denied (“covered up”). Peter is concerned with behaviors that could destroy the Christian community; such behaviors must be extinguished if the church is to survive.
This at most merely states that love and forgiveness are compatible: indeed, love is necessary for any forgiveness.
- Proverbs 17:9 When read in the context of Proverbs 10:12 & 1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 17:9 seems to indicate that the covering is an act of not exposing or perpetuating. The language of the verse itself argues for such an understanding. The covering of love is the opposite of repeating a matter. The covering of love makes reconciliation possible: “The disciple restores a community threatened by wrongdoing by drawing a veil over another’s sin to win his friendship and by not repeating his failure to avoid alienation. … If a lover protects an offender, how much more will he will promote intimacy among the saints…. The gossip makes future reconciliation impossible.” It would be unwarranted to conclude from the text of this verse that “love covering” means “forgives by ignoring” or “forgives without confessing.”
- James 5:20 MacArthur relies upon James 5:20 to argue that “covering” means “forgiveness” and thus love forgives sins without confession. James 5:20 does nothing to help this argument. The verse speaks about “bringing back a sinner from his wandering” (ESV). That certainly sounds like confronting and rebuking (Lk. 17:3): “Believers are encouraged to take action to turn around a sinner who has taken a wrong and ultimately ruinous path….Therefore, James may be well encouraging his readers to actively seek the conversation of those who are straying by reminding them that their efforts will be rewarded with God’s forgiveness of their own sin.” In short, this verse stands for opposite position for which MacArthur is arguing.
- Psalm 85:2: Psalm 85:2 certainly does describe forgiveness of sin in parallel to covering of sin. However, the Psalm is itself a confession and plea to God (v. 4-7). Neither this verse nor this Psalm can be pressed to stand for the proposition that “love covers” means ignoring equals forgiveness. In fact, the implication is precisely the opposite: The sin is covered because it has been confessed.
- Conclusion: Love Does not Forgive Without Confession: None of the texts referenced by MacArthur unequivocally stand for the proposition that forgiveness occurs without confession. All instances of unquestionable forgiveness in the passages entail confession and repentance. In context, the passages which do not plainly state forgiveness, indicate that love will act in a manner consistent with forgiveness or will certainly make forgiveness possible. Indeed, forgiveness is impossible without love.
The mention by the commentators that “covers” equals “forgiveness” without repentance do not necessarily prove MacArthur’s point, because none of the commentators are dealing with the narrow issue raised by the conflict with Adams and MacArthur concerning a narrowly defined “forgiveness.” The loose use of the word may be appropriate here. However, when we are dealing with a narrow definition of forgiveness, MacArthur overstates his case.
- What is Understood by “Forgiveness”: Another reason for the difference between MacArthur and Adams on the matter of whether love overlooking constitutes “forgiveness” hinges upon their definitions. Adams defines forgiveness as an action which initiates a repair of a broken reconciliation and brings the parties to reconciliation (Adams 1989, 68-70). Thus, “overlooking” takes place only in the context where the parties’ relationship has not been broken (Adams 1989, 34). Matters are either minor and overlooked – because there has been no breaking of the relationship; or, forgiveness must be obtained by formal transaction to lead to restoration. MacArthur defines forgiveness more broadly as including those matters which do not break the relationship. Since the parties are using the word in a very different manner when it comes to minor events, their conclusions are different.
- OFFENSES WHICH CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED
MacArthur specifies indicia for when it would be wrong to overlook an offense:
- “If you observe a serious offense that is a sin against someone other than you, confront the offender” (MacArthur 1998, 128). This element derives from the necessary execution of justice. “I can unilaterally and unconditionally forgive a personal offense when I am the victim, because it I who then bears the wrong” (MacArthur 1998, 128). However, when a third party suffers, it is not my harm to overlook. . “[T]hose who witness such an offense have a duty to confront the offender with his or her transgression” (MarArthur 1998, 129; Ex. 23:6; Deut. 16:20; Is. 1:17 & 59:15-16; Jer. 22:3; Lam. 3:35-36). Unfortunately, MacArthur does not develop this point to answer numerous points of application. It should be noted, that this circumstance does not actually entail “my forgiveness,” since, as MacArthur noted, nothing has been done to me and there is nothing for me to “forgive.” In fact, “overlook” is probably not the correct term: This is really more a matter of ignoring sin against another.
- “When ignoring an offense might hurt the offender, confrontation is required” (MacArthur 1998, 129). Based upon Galatians 6:1-2, MacArthur notes that it is often the appropriate and loving thing to do to confront another in sin. “In all such cases, confrontation should be motivated by love and a desire for the offender’s good” (MacArthur, 130). Again, actual application may be tricky and is underdeveloped in the text: Must I immediately confront every insufficient action of another Christian? If not, what would distinguish one circumstance from another?
- “When a sin is scandalous or otherwise potentially damaging to the body of Christ, confrontation is essential” (MacArthur, 130). MacArthur derives this point from the teaching of Hebrews 12:15 and the example of the sexually immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5. Here, the injury is to the entire body of believers. “Open sin is always a scandal in the church and must be dealt with” (MacArthur 1998, 131; emphasis in original). This particular element is actually a combination of the prior two: injury to others and injury to the offender. There is an additional element to those outside the church, in that they may be lead astray by open sin within the church.
- “Any time an offense results in a broken relationship, formal forgiveness is an essential step toward reconciliation” (MacArthur, 132). This point is simply the reverse of the “minor” offense being overlooked. Any offense which is not “minor” or which is not “overlooked” will be an offense which injures a relationship. Based upon Matthew 5:23-26 and Luke 17:3, MacArthur explains, “Whenever there is a broken relationship between Christians, both parties have a responsibility to seek reconciliation” (MacArthur, 84 & 132). Adams makes this point even more explicitly in his chapter “When You are the Offender”: An offending party has the duty to go and seek reconciliation even where the offended party is not yet aware of the wrong (Adams 1989, 55).
- CHURCH DISCIPLINE
MacArthur notes that church discipline is not unloving or unforgiving: rather it is precisely what Jesus required of his followers (MacArthur 1998, 138). Dealing with sin an act of kindness and love which is good for the one who sins and the church at large (MacArthur 1998, 138-139). It is crucial to understand that confrontation in church discipline, just like forgiveness must be motivated by love (MacArthur 1998, 141).
The sort of offenses which can form the basis for church discipline are the offenses which cannot be overlooked (MacArthur 1998, 143). The confrontation does not really hinge upon whether I am the one personally affronted. Even if I am not affronted personally, I still have a loving obligation to my brother to confront his sin (MacArthur 1998, 144). Since restoration is the aim, confrontation begins in private and continues to the entire local assembly (MacArthur 1998, 145-149). The goal of each of the next steps to is “to win the offender back” (MacArthur 1998, 149). Even after excommunication has resulted, the end sought is restoration through love (MacArthur 1998, 152-153).
Adams, too, references the church discipline process for the purpose of pointing out that forgiveness can only truly take place in a transactional framework (Adams 1989, 33). The purpose of discipline is to obtain repentance, which cannot be done without the confrontation (Adams1989, 33). The person who has been confronted and who then repents is to be restored in love. MacArthur nicely summarizes the restoration with “Pick them up”, “Hold them up”, and “Build them up” (MacArthur 1998, 157-160). Discussing the restoration process more broadly, Adams writes there must be forgiveness, help and reaffirmation of love (Adams 1989, 71).
VII. FORGIVENESS AS A BLESSING
MacArthur made the interesting observation that the unforgiving Christian may find himself under terrible pressure and temporal judgment by refusing to forgive (MacArthur1998, 112). He pairs that against with the observation, “Forgiveness unleashes joy” (MacArthur 1998, 161). This is precisely the opposite of sin, which always acts to destroy joy (MacArthur 1998, 172).
Adams agrees on the necessity of forgiveness. As he explains, forgiveness is what makes the Christian life: home, church, personal interaction possible (Adams 1989, 5). “[F]orgiveness is what keeps things from breaking down completely” (Adams 1989, 5). For forgiveness to be effectuated, pride must be set aside. (MacArthur 1998, 166-167). Pride seeks to raise the self against the other, while forgiveness sets asides wrongs based upon the love and forgiveness which flow from Jesus Christ. Love is obviously a necessary element of any act of forgiveness, in that forgiveness is a species of love, “Loving others as we love ourselves clearly implies the duty of forgiveness” (MacArthur 1998, 84).
Forgiveness not only sets aside pride, but it also extends mercy (MacArthur 1998, 170). What we have received from God in Christ should compel us toward mercy to the greatest extent possible. We should reflect in our actions what we received from our Lord (MacArthur 1998, 171). “There are no limits on divine mercy toward penitent people. There are no boundaries on forgiveness” (MacArthur 1998, 174).
VIII. TOUGH CASES
Both MacArthur and Adams concur that where sin involves another person, such as adultery, there must be confession to the offended party (the spouse) (Adams 1989, 52-53; MacArthur 1998, 186).
Adams, Jay Edward. From Forgiven to Forgiving. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1989.
Adams, Jay Edward. The Christian Counselor’s Manual. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1973.
Boice, James Montgomery. Psalms, Volume 1. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994.
Delitzsch, Franz. Biblical Commentary on the Psalms. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1887.
Joab, Karen H. 1 Peter. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.
Lane, Tim, and Paul Tripp. Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2006.
Macarthur, John F. The Freedom And Power Of Forgiveness. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1988.
MacArthur, John. “True Repentance: God’s Highway to the Heart, Part I.” Sermons 42, no. 41 (January 30, 2000): page nr. http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-41_True-Repentance-Gods-Highway-to-the-Heart-Part-1 (accessed July 1, 2010).
Moo, Douglas J. The Letter of James. Grand Rapids: Willam B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.
Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1968.
Perowne, J.J. Stewart. The Book of Psalms. London: George Bell & Son, 1898.
Piper, John. What Jesus Demands From the World. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2006.
Schriener, Thomas. Romans. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998.
Waltke, Bruce. The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.
Waltke, Bruce. The Book of Proverbs Chapters 15-31. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pubishing Company, 2005.
Witherington III, Ben. Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume 2. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2007.
 John F Macarthur, The Freedom And Power Of Forgiveness (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1998), 85. Adams also explains that even though a sin is against God, it does not mean that there is no human component to the injury which may be overlooked (Adams, 51-52).
 Jay Edward Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1989),6 & 11.
 Adams makes an important clarification here: It is an active intention not to remember, as opposed to a passive forgetting. We may be unable to forget, but we can certainly refuse to remember (Adams 1989, 57).
 MacArthur uses a parallel text in Matthew 18, which is often used as the text for “church discipline”. There are fundamental similarities between the texts, however, there are some marked differences [Indeed, there are questions as to whether the underlying discussions are even the same event or whether they are redactions and combinations determined by Matthew or Luke. A full discussion of this problem lies well beyond the scope of this paper. For further discussion see, e.g., John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew : A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2005), 753;Donald A. Hagner, vol. 33B, Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 14-28, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 536.] This difference in text and development of argument parallels the difference in ministry of MacArthur and Adams. MacArthur is primarily a pulpit preacher with a heavy doctrinal emphasis. MacArthur typically has a limited portion of sermons devoted to application (Dr. Jack Hughes, interviewed by author, Burbank, California, July 1, 2010). Adams is primarily a counseling preaching, where doctrine must quickly be put into quotidian praxis. For a discussion of these preaching styles, see, Jack Hughes, “Illustrating Your Expository Sermons” (lecture, Corner Stone Seminary, June 22-25, 2010).
As Adams writes elsewhere, “When life is oriented toward (or focused upon) godliness, the goal will come into mind constantly. … He may even rebel against the idea. But if he is a genuine believer in Christ, the well will never run dry;” (Jay Edward Adams, The Christian Counselor’s Manual (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1973), 210).
 This is a major element of Adam’s practical theology of counseling: “There are only two options: one may live a desire-oriented life or a commandment-oriented life” Adams 1973, 296-97).
 Thus, on pages 113-114, MacArthur relates the story of the December 1, 1997 shooting in Paducah, Kentucky and how the Christians forgave the shooter independently of any repentance by the shooter. In Adam’s structure of forgiveness, such could not possibly be “forgiveness.”
 “For, as the poet has learned from his own experience, whoever does not pour out his whole corruption in confession before God, only tortures himself, till he unburdens himself of this secret curse” (Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1887), 476); Adams, 47 (In one way or another God will remind the believer who forgets the magnitude of God’s grace in forgiving him so much).
James Montgomery Boice, Psalms, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994), 280. “The psalmist first describes the grief which characterized his unrepentant state (vv 3–4), and then by way of contrast declares the deliverance consequent upon repentance and confession (v 5)” (Peter C. Craigie, vol. 19, Word Biblical Commentary, 2nd ed., Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004), 266).
 Adams comes to much the conclusion in his chapter, “Forgiveness After Forgiveness.” “While He doesn’t throw sinning believers out of the family, the Father does discipline them for their sins for their benefit” (Adams 1989, 41).
 J.J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms (London: George Bell & Son, 1898), 121-fn. 2.
 Thomas Schriener, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 219; John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1968), 134.
 “Now, if you remember that John was a preacher of repentance, that John said…as we learn in Matthew…”Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand,” you will also then want to know that repentance is at the heart of his message, it is at the heart of any gospel message. You cannot truly preach the gospel of forgiveness, you cannot preach the gospel of grace unless you call sinners to repent. So repentance refines the substance of his message” (John MacArthur, “True Repentance: God’s Highway to the Heart, Part I,” Sermons 42, no. 41 (January 30, 2000): page nr., http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-41_True-Repentance-Gods-Highway-to-the-Heart-Part-1 (accessed July 1, 2010).); John Piper, What Jesus Demands From the World (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2006), 40-43. “The Psalm begins by speaking of the blessing of the man who experiences God’s justifying grace, when he gives himself up unreservedly to Him” (Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1887), 475).
Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004), 461.
 But see, “The meaning of “covering” is “pardoning,” overlooking what may be a personal insult or harm” (Rowland E. Murphy, vol. 22, Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 74). Yet even this does not mean that the pardoning occurs without confession. Cf., Waltke 2004, 461.
Karen H. Joab, 1 Peter (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 278-79; Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume 2 (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2007), 204.
Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 15-31 (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pubishing Company, 2005), 49-50; Duane A. Garrett, vol. 14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 161).
Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James (Grand Rapids: Willam B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 250.
 Tim Lane and Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2006), 99.
“Perhaps the best summary of the problems addressed in the previous chapter is the description by G. K. Chesterton of a man who ‘was so anxious to forgive that he denied the need of forgiveness.’ Though this may sound like a paradox, Chesterton is describing a person to whom forgiveness becomes so superficial and sentimental that he no longer sees a need for true, biblical forgiveness” (Jay Edward Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1989), 37).