Summary: An introduction to the issue of forgiveness. We forgive as God forgives us. God forgives us conditionally, otherwise you would have universalism. Even believers must confess their sins before the relationship is completely restored.
Forgiveness, Part 1 Forgiveness is Conditional
Some of what is taught in evangelical churches today is taught on the basis assumption. I have a special impatience with those who assume, but the problem is that I am sometimes one of them!
Questions we will attempt to answer in this series include: Do I have to forgive someone who has not repented? How can I cope when I have ill feelings toward another? Is it okay to want God to even the score? Does forgiving imply forgetting? When I wrong someone, what, besides asking for forgiveness, can I do? Is it ever right to overlook the wrong things people do? Is it right to not get mad but to get even instead? If we forgive a person who committed a crime, should they be prosecuted?
What does a genuine apology sound like? What about wrongs done in ignorance ("Father, forgive them for they know not what they do)?
Main Thought Forgiveness is conditional, but what do we do when people don’t meet the conditions?
I. Forgiveness, In It’s Fullest Sense, Requires Repentance on the Part of the Offender
1. What forgiveness really is: Re-establishment of the relationship like it was before the offense occurred…release of the wrong done…forgetting
Many people call "letting something go" forgiving….real forgiveness addresses issues…
2. Proposition One: We forgive as ____God__ has forgiven us (Eph.4:32)
So take a moment and actually THINK about how God forgives, WHO He forgives, and WHEN He forgives…
If God automatically forgave everyone unconditionally, everyone would be saved. No one would be lost. God’s forgiveness is therefore NOT unconditional, but conditional….that is the pattern for us
God is not ashamed to say He has not forgiven the non-repentant, neither should we!
3. Proposition Two: God Does __NOT_ Forgive Us if We Do Not Meet the Condition of Repentance (Confession)--I John 1:8-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
4. Proposition Three: God Does Not Hold Us to A _Higher_ Standard of Forgiveness Than He Does Himself
5. Though sometimes repentance is assumed, some Scriptures clearly declare that we are to forgive an individual when he/she repents
(1) Luke 17:3- So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,’ forgive him."
(2) Principles of Interpretation:
a. The brief is interpreted in light of the lengthy; truth vs. whole truth (prayer)
b. The context provides us with a foundation upon which latter texts add, but do not subtract; so, in other words, verses like I Cor. 13:5 are interpreted in light of I Cor. 5:9, not the other way around.
Interpret the short statements in light of the longer, more detailed ones
(3) restitution should be made when possible (Luke 19:8; Prov.14:9NIV)
II. Credibility Is A Related But Separate Issue; Forgiveness Does Not Mean Instant __TRUST___.
1. Forgiveness does not immediately mean the re-establishment of credibility.
2. 2 Cor.7:18
3. --Luke 3:7-9 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
4. An unfaithful spouse (Matthew 19)
5.-- John Mark (Acts 15:36-41 and 2 Tim. 411).
3. Can you forgive without trusting? You can ___Initiate__ the forgiving process