Forgiveness lies at the heart of our relationship with God. For sin has broken our relationship with God, and forgiveness covers sin, forgiveness forgets sin, forgiveness takes sin out of the picture.
For this reason, forgiveness is prominent in the Bible, and the assurance of forgiveness is central to our worship. Forgiveness is the path to a restored relationship with God.
And yet forgiveness is not the only destination on this path. Once our relationship with God is restored, he blesses us in countless other ways.
For example, consider the blessing of freedom.
The book of Exodus begins with the people of Israel living as slaves in Egypt, where according to Ezekiel they worshipped that nation's idols (Ezekiel 20:7-8). Yet when "the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help," the LORD "heard their groaning" and pledged to set them free (Exodus 2:23-24).
He rescued them from their slavemasters, and from the idols of Egypt. Through the sacrificial blood of a Passover lamb, they were set free to worship the true and living God, who spoke to them from Mount Sinai to guide them in paths of liberty.
From that moment on, the people of God have been called to embrace the freedom for which Christ, our Passover lamb, was slain. We have died in Christ and been "set free from sin" (Romans 6:7). We embrace freedom by offering ourselves as slaves to the One who set us free: "present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness" (Romans 6:13).