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Blot Out Sins vs Forgive Sins

To blot out sins or names - what does this mean? How does it relate to forgiveness of sins? The study on Biblical forgiveness shows that forgiveness (especially as expressed by the Greek words aphiemi and apoluo) is referring to essentially an emotional transaction; a matter of feeling or attitude. The question of our legal status - whether we are saved or lost or whether our names are still in the book of life or not - is another matter. We often tend to think of forgiveness in that way but is that correct? Read the verses carefully and you will find that the terms forgiveness, forgiven etc are used more in terms of the attitude/emotions of the forgiver or the forgivee. The legal status, related more to state of salvation, is covered by terms such as blotted out. This short word study examines "blotting out" and similar terms and their use in scripture. Please compare this to the study on the meaning of forgiveness. I think you will find that the words examined there in relation to feelings or attitude are not connected with the issue of the record of sin being blotted out.

Uses of "blot (out)" as a verb in the Old Testament are all translated from the Hebrew word "machah" (H4229). It is translated as:

AV-(blot, put, etc)...out 17, destroy 6, wipe 4, blot 3, wipe away 2, abolished 1, marrow 1, reach 1, utterly 1; 36

and is defined (On-line Bible) as:

1) to wipe, wipe out
  1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to wipe
    1a2) to blot out, obliterate
    1a3) to blot out, exterminate
  1b) (Niphal)
    1b1) to be wiped out
    1b2) to be blotted out
    1b3) to be exterminated
  1c) (Hiphil) to blot out (from memory)
2) (Qal) to strike
3) (Pual) full of marrow (participle)

Blot as a noun (as in blemish) is translated two times from the Hebrew word "moom" (H3971) which is used as:

AV-blemish 16, spot 3, blot 2, variant 1; 22

And is defined as:

1) blemish, spot, defect
  1a) of physical defect
1b) of moral stain

In the New Testament, three uses of the Greek word "exaleipho" (G1813) are translated as "blotted out" (Acts 3:19), "blotting out" (Col 2:14) and "blot out" (Rev 3:5) and all have reference to a written record of something being removed. It is defined as:

AV-blot out 3, wipe away 2; 5
1) to anoint or wash in every part
  1a) to besmear: i.e. cover with lime (to whitewash or plaster)
2) to wipe off, wipe away
  2a) to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out

The other two uses refer to wiping away tears.

From the uses of blot out, it is apparent that that action is an act of removing sins and/or names from records. It is not a matter of feeling or emotion but more of a legal matter. For God to blot out the record of our sins and retain our names in the book of life there are conditions.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

But His feelings of love and forgiveness, of not holding any feelings of dislike or vindictiveness towards sinners is not. He totally loves saint and sinner alike.

Another word that is used in relation to this topic is "remission" and it is more closely related to the idea of blotting out than to the feelings of forgiveness. There are conditions attached to the remission of sin as suggested by these verses:

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission <859> of sins." (Matt 26:28)

"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission <859> of sins." (Acts 10:43)

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. <859>" (Heb 9:22)

Remission is translated from the Greek word "aphesis."

859 afesiv aphesis af'-es-is
from 863; TDNT-1:50 9,88; n f
AV-remission 9, forgiveness 6, deliverance 1, liberty 1; 17
1) release from bondage or imprisonment
2) forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty
Please, if you have not done so read the material on Biblical forgiveness. You will see there that God always forgives from His heart. He does not hold a grudge or feelings of unforgiveness towards you until you do something first. This is a wonderful truth that will increase your love for Him.  

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The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
God always forgives!


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