Forgivenesses

Understand Forgivenesses from God’s Example

To understand forgiveness we must do it through viewing the character of God, because God is our example. We are not asked by God to do more than He is willing to do. If God loves sinful men then we too must love as He loves. He calls us to be Holy, why? Because He is Holy. So the question is how does God forgive. There some that believe God will forgive everyone and therefore no one will end up in Hell. That however does not seem consistent with all of Scripture.

The Psalmist found that if he failed to confess his sin he was without forgiveness.

When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

Psalms 32:3

But when he confessed his sin he found mercy.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Psalms 32:5

Peter said to the people that if they were to receive forgiveness they must repent.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Acts 3:19

John tells us that if we are to be forgiven we must confess our sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

One cannot remove confession and repentance from forgiveness because forgiveness is a response to repentance. This is why Jesus made this clear in His teachings.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Luke 17:4

Jesus had expounded on repentance and showed repentance cannot be a pretense. In Matthew chapter eighteen, Jesus tells a parable about one man that asks for mercy and receives it and then he goes and does not show mercy to his fellow servant. Now remember, that just prior to Jesus telling this He said one must forgive seventy times seven, yet in the parable this unforgiving steward is sent to the tormentors without forgiveness. Why? Because forgiveness cannot be given to the unrepentant.

What are we to make of Ephesians 4:32?

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

The key here is we are to forgive in the same way God has forgiven us. That only takes place when there is repentance. Understand that just because someone says they are sorry forgiveness does not have to be given, but God is gracious and will forgive through His Son.

So what are we to do when someone wrongs us and will not repent? We are to act like God! We need to back up here in Ephesians and see that we are called to behave in a good and righteous way. Colossians condenses it down to this.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Colossians 3:12-13

Do you see this? Do you see the pattern of our God? God is long suffering to all men and so we are to be too.

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:20

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

God is kind to the unrepentant.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:45

This is what we are called to do. We are to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit when we have been wronged.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

The outcome of exercising the fruit of the Spirit is to hopefully bring about reconciliation and forgiveness.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Colossians 3:12-13

Forgiveness is not given by God to the unrepentant and so we are not burdened to do more than God. Three times in the book of Revelation the words “repented not” is mentioned 19:20, 16:9, 11. What is to happen to these who do not repent?

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Revelation 21:8

Forgiveness is a gracious response to repentance, it cannot by its nature be given without repentance. However, we are to act as God acts toward the world of unrepentant sinners by being patient, long-suffering, gentle, and kind with the hope that forgiveness can be given.

Posted in Theology.

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