“Is the remission of sins the same thing as the forgiveness of sins?”
Bible words can often be defined by the way New Testament writers quote the Old Testament. For instance, we know that the words deliverance and salvation are the same, for when Paul quotes Joel, he changes the word “deliverance” to “saved” (Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13). In the same way, we know that remission and forgiveness are the same, for in quoting Jeremiah, the writer of Hebrews changes the word “forgive” to “remission” (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 10:17,18).
In addition, we know that God set Christ forth “to be a propitiation… to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Rom. 3:25). That’s not talking about the sins that are past in your life, that’s talking about the remission of the sins of Old Testament saints like Abraham and David. So when we read that Abraham was also “justified” (Rom. 4:1-3), and David was “forgiven” (Rom. 4:7), we have to conclude that the remission of sins is tantamount to justification as well as forgiveness.
Finally, if you look up the word “remit” in a good dictionary, one of the words used to define it is “forgive,” and vice versa.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.