By Derek Elles
Today we will put forgiveness into context as this is something we here often about our God and Christians. We here that we are to forgive no matter what, and if our God is all-forgiving, why do we worry about sin and bringing others to Christ. We are also asked why our God just doesn’t save everyone if He is so forgiving; a topic for another day.
Yes, we are called to forgive and yes, our God is forgiving. What we must not forget is where we find our examples and instructions for forgiveness. There is no example of Yahweh or Yahshua in the Bible just saying, “Don’t worry, I forgive you.”, or “Just keep going about your business and remember whatever you do, I forgive you.”
What is so often left out of forgiveness is repentance; there is not an instance where forgiveness is not given without it. Yahweh didn’t just forgive the world and not require anything from us; He gave us a way out that we must choose. But not just choosing and done, but choosing to change our life through repentance.
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Luke 17:3-4 is the best example of this, but often misquoted leads to being used out of context. “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” When used as the requirement of forgiveness, don’t forget the requirement for repentance.
Then there the famous 70 times 7 verse on forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-22. Don’t stop there, read the story that follows which puts it into context. The king has compassion and forgives the debt after the slave repents in verse 26.
What about the Lord’s prayer where we are told to forgive? Yes, we must, but how we do is how the Lord forgave us. To understand this, we must understand how we are forgiven.
So, the next time you are confronted or accused in forgiving, put it in context and then see if you are doing wrong. Don’t be backed into a corner being told you have to forgive just because you are a Christian. Don’t let Christianity be identified with a God who requires nothing of us.
Until next week. Blessing in Yahweh’s grace, mercy, and peace.
#TheologyThursday #Context #Christianity #Forgiveness