Episcopalians/forgiveness

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I am at a complete loss of understanding as to what forgiveness is. Allow me to explain: When God forgives sin, according to the bible it is in the following way:
1)" In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22. So we see the in when God forgives it is with the shedding of blood
2) 1)" 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. So God took our sins and Jesus turned into them according to this verse and many others.
3) Then Jesus (who now was our sin) died on the cross and our sins - which Jesus was, died along with him.
4) So God didnt just pardon our sins and say "I'll let them slide if you say im sorry and repent". What he did was to exact punishment (the punishment of Jesus and his death on the cross). He punished our sins, demanded bloodshed and killed them and THAT is how we are forgiven.
    My inability to understand forgiveness comes in here - When God wants me to forgive someone for a sin such as stealing from me, he certainly doesnt want me to shed blood and exact punishment on a cross by to before I forgive that perons sins.
     So I guess my question is - If I am forgiving sins, but Im not doing it the way God did it.....Then by what way am I forgiving them.
    I really need to understand this, I am totally baffled and have no idea what forgiveness really is.

Answer
I'll confine myself to a simple answer. (Or rather two simple answers.)

Hebrews 9:22 may be about God's capacity to forgive sins. Even here, it raises the question that if God is omnipotent, then surely he could forgive without the shedding of blood - and if we can forgive without it, why would God need it? (There are instances in scripture - your category 4 - where it might be argued that God does forgive without the shedding of blood.)

Or, the death of Jesus is such a "once-and-for-all" sacrifice that all capacity to forgive (including past and future) derives from his shedding of blood.  

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Rev Steve Parish

Expertise

I hope to answer questions on the theology, history, and constitution (there isn`t one!) of the Church of England (but not necessarily on the wider Anglican Communion)

Experience

A priest in the Church of England for over 30 years, with some specialist knowledge of the 19th century
I hold a Master's degree in Applied Theology
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Church Times; Church of England Newspaper; Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible

Publications
Church Times; Church of England Newspaper; Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible

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