Sunday, February 21, 2010

continuing forgiveness

I find it interesting the number of people who think forgiveness is unconditional. Oddly, they use the very passages (e.g., 1 Jn 1.9) I would say support repentance on the part of the one being forgiven as a pre-requisite. They seem to think that at the cross God forgave the sin of all individual humans - and yet they quickly quote Mt 18.21-35 and Mk 11.25. I just read Mt 6.14-15 and I think Scripture is clear, we must repent of our ways and live in His light to receive forgiveness.

But let's be careful. I am not promoting works based salvation. The reason we must do the above is because we are no longer as we were but by His grace we have been made new (2 Cor 5.17). What I describe above is works but it is works that spring from a new creation, in-dwelt by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. It is not motivated to earn love, it is motived by love.

Interestingly, in 2 Cor 5, we see that see that Christ has come to reconcile the world to Himself and the we are recreated to be ambassadors for that purpose (2 Cor 5.18-21). We are always to have a heart (and behavior) of love. We are to be quick to forgive, in fact we should pursue opportunities to forgive (Mt 5.23-24). But we are not being asked to forgive where no repentance has occurred. I think this is the same with God.

The difference (well, one of them anyway) between us and God is that God can (1) know the true heart of a person so He can speak into a life before it has verbalized repentance and (2) He - and only He - has the power to change a heart to repent. But, we have spiritual ears and God can certainly speak the truth of a situation to us. And certainly, by His Spirit and by Scripture we can discern the fruit of a person. Moreover, we can be a vessel used by God to bring change to another's heart. Therefore we must pursue forgiveness and reconciliation.

But we must not confuse love and the pursuit of forgiveness with overlooking the requirement of repentance. This is in part why I am stirred up about the liberal assault on the true nature of sin and the true nature of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. Getting that wrong affects our life together - ironic because living in love together is the professed desire of many that get this wrong - which is why I continue to claim their real goal is to recreate God in their image. They have such a damaged view of righteousness, the Church, authority, etc. that they cannot conceive of love lived out in the truth described in the Bible. Their fallenness forces them to re-manufacture "a new kind of Christianity".

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments: