Friday, April 23, 2021

Repentance and Forgiveness Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him. And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’” Luke 17:3-5

If [your brother] repents, forgive him” Repentance is a condition for forgiveness. So what is repentance? I once heard it described as doing a 180 degree turn or an about face, for those who are military minded. It is a change of heart. But toward whom. Consider this. If I sin, in any way, I sin against God first and then against others. If I repent, I must repent toward God and that repentance will also be applied to other people I have sinned against. Admitting that I have sinned is the first step toward repentance. That is called confessing my sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8-10

So if I confess my sin and repent – confession is more than merely saying I am sorry, but is accompanied by, perhaps motivated by, a change of heart. With me? So let’s get back to the issue of me forgiving others. If the person has repented then their hearts have been cleansed by God. And if God has forgiven them – how is it that we could say “I do not forgive you?” Are we greater than God? And so we are compelled to forgive them. That is why, I believe that the disciples said, “Increase our faith.” Because being able to forgive is a faith issue. 

I think that all to often we look at forgiving people as a relational – natural issue not as the spiritual issue that it is. People might say, “I just can’t find it in myself forgive a person.” I would say, “Have they repented before God? Then you really have no choice. Stopping looking inside yourself for the power to forgive. It is a spiritual act, a faith issue and not a natural one.” So if you find it difficult, you must take that to God. You should ask Him to strengthen your faith.

Forgiveness is conditional. Don’t confuse it with harboring ill will toward someone. That is not a choice we have either.  I will speak to that in my next post.

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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