Summary: We are to forgive as Jesus forgave. Did Jesus forgive everyone? How should we respond to people who haven't repented.
Does Forgiveness Require Repentance
PPT 1 Series Title
PPT 2 Message Title & Text
Mt 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Last week in teaching on this text I made and illustrated the point that if we want God to take care of our big pile of sins He requires us to give Him our little notebooks of offenses that we have concerning what others have done to us.
Several people spoke to me after service with questions, so I came to the conclusion this subject needed more discussion.
One of the questions asked was, do we have to forgive people who don't repent? That is a good question, many people have struggled with.
Here are a couple of scriptures that support the position that repentance is required for forgiveness:
PPT 3 Text
Lu 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Lu 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Luke seems to be pretty clear if your brother repents forgive him, and as a matter of fact if he repents 7x's in a day forgive him.
Barnes commentary notes: The Jews taught that a man was to forgive another three times, but not the fourth. I wonder if three strikes and your out goes back to way before baseball? Jesus however expanded the amount of times we should forgive people who repent.
Now look also at this text:
PPT 4 Text
Mt 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mt 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
I don't think Peter liked the idea of having to forgive someone 7x's in a day, so he asks Jesus about it, in an almost, is that what you really meant? kind of way. Jesus probably blew him away when he told him, not merely 7x's a day but 70 x's 7 a day!
Here are 2 more passages people use to say they others have to repent before we forgive:
PPT 5 Text
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
The text does not say that a person has to repent to be forgiven, but the thought is, that we are to forgive others even as Christ forgave us. How did He forgive us? When we repented. They also note that Jesus doesn't forgive everyone, only those who repent. Which is biblically correct.
Again from one of my commentaries:
the offended party is not called actually to forgive, till the offender, with sorrow, acknowledges his fault. (Clarke)
Case closed, they must repent to be forgiven, right?
The passages in Mt. & Luke say if they repent forgive them, but what it doesn't address at all is if they don't repent what should we do. It doesn't say you are only to forgive those who repent.
Also the passages in Ephesians and Colossians say we are to forgive even as Christ has forgiven us.
The question then becomes what did Paul mean when he said even as Christ has forgiven us?
Is he saying Christ forgave us because we repented and therefore we should forgive others when they repent? But if they don't repent, you don't have to forgive them, because Jesus doesn't either. That sure seems like a lot of reading into the text if you ask me.
As we begin to break it down let's start with the fact that we cannot forgive others in the same way Jesus forgives us.
When Jesus forgives us, it changes our status for eternity, delivers out of the kingdom of darkness and transfers us into His kingdom. The wrath of God no longer abides on us, heaven is assured, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside us. Our citizenship, and eternity are changed. That is not what happens when we forgive someone. When Jesus forgives us, all sins past, present, and future, that we have committed against anyone have been dealt with. When we forgive, we can only forgive what they have done to us, but that does not get them into heaven. So in that sense we cannot forgive as Jesus forgave.
Next question is does Jesus forgive only those who repent? Because if we can show that He forgave people who didn't repent then we can say to forgive as Jesus forgave means you also forgive those who don't repent.