Thursday, August 05, 2010
If we tell others, "I forgive your sin" even though they refuse to acknowledge their sin, we remove the very incentive the gospel places upon them to confess their sins and to seek forgiveness. If we take preemptive action by granting forgiveness of sin to those who do not repent, on what basis could the church ever follow the procedures of Matthew 18:15-17?I have had a little more experience in my life where forgiveness has been demanded of me without so much as apology than I would like. Such is little more than justification of the behavior of the offender. Simply put, if they thought they did something wrong - they'd apologize, an act that implies repentance.
There is a proper biblical or gospel order. We are to imitate God. God forgives the sins of those who repent (cf. 1 John 1:9). Likewise, we must always grant forgiveness to those who repent (cf. Luke 17:3).
In Mark 11:25 Jesus calls us to be forgiving. Scripture requires us to distinguish between being forgiving, which is the virtue of always being ready and eager to forgive, and the act of forgiving, which is the actual remission of the sin done against us. Thus, as God is always forgiving, which means that he is eager and desirous to forgive, and as God forgives those who repent, so godliness/Christlikeness is to be and to do the same.
In the personal realm, to forgive the unapologetic is to ask to have the offense repeated. I think most of us have experienced that, often to our great displeasure, and in some cases deep pain.
In the spiritual realm it is nothing short of cheap grace. Think about it for a minute - Christ died so that we could be forgiven. He was resurrected to complete the job and transform us, as He was transformed. When we demand forgiveness without repentance - when we claim forgiveness, but change not our lives, we leave Jesus nailed on that cross - He never gets to the tomb, He never walks among us.
Yeah, He has paid the price, but the job is not complete until we change has He is changed.
I do not want to leave Jesus nailed to the cross.