Posted by: thaishin | August 3, 2015

Forgiveness from God is conditional or is it?

Matthew 6

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  -kjv

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  -niv

14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing. -hcsb

Observations and comments:

Here, the verse is appearing to say that forgiveness from God is conditional on our forgiveness of other’s trespasses against us. This line of reasoning is in alignment of where our performance earns favour from God. Reasoning behind this: Our performance of forgiveness of others brings us God’s forgiveness. If we don’t perform forgiveness, God will not forgive us. But God is love. If He loves us, will he not also forgive us? Maybe this can be answered by the question, if we love God, then would we not forgive others also since God has also forgiven us? This brings me to the verse 1 John 4:8 which says that the one who does not love does not know God. If we do not know God, we are not God’s children. So, if we do not forgive then we are not God’s children. It means that if we belong to God, we are to forgive but not because we obey it as a rule but because we love God. Does it mean we are expected to forgive? It certainly does not seem helpful if we are expected to because the expectation can be a harsh driver without leading to true forgiveness from us.

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Responses

  1. Rather than saying that our act of forgiving is a kind of “performance” on our part that supposedly in turn earns the forgiveness of God, we can consider the ability to forgive to be innate to the person who has truly “repented”, and “believe in God”, and “receive His forgiveness of sin”.

    In other words, our act of forgiving others, is not to be seen as separate from our own repentance and receiving of forgiveness from God.

    It comes together as a package. When we truly repent, we become a new creature. This new creature has the ability to forgive others, just like God has the ability to forgive His enemies.

    Our new ability to forgive others, “embedded” into this new creation that God has breathed into our body. It has become a new nature in us.

    However, this new nature to forgive others, may be innate for the time being. This is because we are still attached to our old self, with its sinful inclination. But as we pray and abide in Him, we will become more and more like Him.

  2. This is a very difficult command from our God for me personally. I tend to forgive or forget minor events people do to me. The big ones I have trouble with. I am a mortal man.

  3. The verse that I quoted Matt 6:14-15 seemed to make God rather regimental, what do you think kong wah?

  4. Answer to my comments about God being regimental from kong wah:

    Matt 6:14-15 says:

    “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

    The simplest, and most intuitive, viewpoint that one can take, is to see the above verse as conditional:

    “if-you-do-this, then I will do that … ;
    But if you do-not-do this, then I will also not do that…”

    Lets get it straight: this viewpoint is true.
    Yes, it does sound regimental.
    However, I think this is a one-sided view, and we need to go beyond the conditional viewpoint.

    In my response to your post, I had suggested that the act of forgiving others, is part of what is really happening to a person when he repents.
    When a person repents , and receives God’s forgiveness of sin, something happen.
    God’s Spirit falls on him, and cause him to be become a new creation.
    The old has gone, the new has come.
    The new creation knows the forgiveness of God for his sin, and now has the ability to forgive others.

    Now come back to the verse.
    We can now see the verse in this new light.
    Because of this new ability to forgive others, the first IF condition is already met.
    Hence, this person is now forgiven by God; a status that has already happened when that person receives God and becomes a believer.

    Conversely, if that person is NOT repentant, and hence, not forgiven by God, then he is still an old creature, and does not have the ability to forgive others.
    Hence, he still stands unforgiven for his sins.


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