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Unread 12-24-2004, 01:10 AM   #1
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Our forgiveness conditional on forgiving others?

A few weeks ago, my pastor used this passage from Matthew 18 in his sermon.

Quote:
21Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

24"When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

25"But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

26"So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'

27"And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

28"But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'

29"So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'

30"But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31"So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

32"Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

33'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

34"And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

35"My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
-NASB
I'm kind of confused about exactly what the last verse means. One could interpret it to mean Unforgiveness in an unforgivable sin.

What do you think?

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Unread 12-25-2004, 11:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbm222
A few weeks ago, my pastor used this passage from Matthew 18 in his sermon.



I'm kind of confused about exactly what the last verse means. One could interpret it to mean Unforgiveness in an unforgivable sin.

What do you think?
no sin is unforgivable. What it means is that God will not forgive you if you do not forgive others.
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Unread 12-26-2004, 01:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan
no sin is unforgivable. What it means is that God will not forgive you if you do not forgive others.
Is unforgiveness a sin? Why wouldn't God forgive the sin of unforgiveness?

Since God does forgive all sins of those He has called according to His purpose, I would say that unforgiveness is forgiven as well. I would interpret this passage to mean that we should reflect the same forgiveness that was given to us by forgiving others.
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Unread 12-26-2004, 02:47 AM   #4
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Well, yeah looking at the passage as a whole, i've always interpreted to mean we should forgive others to reflect to forgiveness we've recieved. But I'm still not sure about the last verse.

Bryan, could you expound? Using 'unforgivable' was poor word choice on my part. Of course an omnipotent God CAN forgive any sin. But are you saying that God CHOOSES not to forgive this particular sin?

If that's the case, does that mean that anyone who doesn't completely forgive everyone who wrongs them is going to Hell? Are you forgiven if you do hold a grudge for a long time then do choose to forgive? What if you die very very shortly after someone offends you and you're angry at the moment?
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Unread 12-26-2004, 07:34 AM   #5
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forgiveness

Unforgiveness is a not the 'unforgivable sin' because you can be forgiven for it. Neglecting or refusing to believe the Gospel is not an unforgivable sin. Paul repented and was forgiven for this very sin.

Jesus is clar in the passage about the Lord's Prayer in Matthew that if you do not forgive others, your heavenly Father will not forgive you. So when you pray, you must forgive your brother from the heart so that your sins will not be forgiven.

Jesus' teaching on forgiveness doesn't fit well with a lot of people's theological ideas about forgiveness. Their ideas need to change to conform to the teachigns of Christ.
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Unread 12-26-2004, 11:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter
Is unforgiveness a sin?
yes, we are commanded to forgive

Quote:
Since God does forgive all sins of those He has called according to His purpose, I would say that unforgiveness is forgiven as well. I would interpret this passage to mean that we should reflect the same forgiveness that was given to us by forgiving others.
but those who are called according to his purpose would not include those who refuse to forgive somebody.
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Unread 12-26-2004, 11:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbm222
Bryan, could you expound? Using 'unforgivable' was poor word choice on my part.
yea, it's a common occurance, it's just a pet peeve.
Quote:
But are you saying that God CHOOSES not to forgive this particular sin?

If that's the case, does that mean that anyone who doesn't completely forgive everyone who wrongs them is going to Hell? Are you forgiven if you do hold a grudge for a long time then do choose to forgive? What if you die very very shortly after someone offends you and you're angry at the moment?
I believe that forgiving others is a lot like repenting. We are commanded to repent, it is a condition of salvation, but we aren't perfect and we can't always completely repent of something immediately. I don't think God would withold forgiveness of our sins if we are truly seeking to forgive somebody. There are somethings that are extremely hard to forgive. And it may take time to fully forgive someone, but there is a difference between asking God to help you to forgive someone and refusing to offer any forgiveness.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 12:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jbm222
...What do you think?
Well, for starters, I would like to point out that it was, in part, debate over this text that caused the stir that, as near as I can figure, was the last straw that broke the camel of what we now call "Old Theology"'s back. Gavin (Lightknight) initially made an argument here, to which I replied here. Gavin responded here, and I, in turn, here. However, this last reply of mine was not written with love, so it was naturally not received well. Gavin rebutted here, and I promptly retreated from debate and took up the argument in full force with myself, nearly converting to Roman Catholicism, much to my girlfriend's dismay, who feared above all things that I should join the clergy, which would have disastrous effects on any potential marriage between us. Within a week, I was back on my feet, but by then the thread had been closed due to further misunderstandings between posters. Not too long afterwards, Theology was closed down, and the debate remained suspended. Hopefully, Christian charity might be better maintained this time around.
If you want my interpretation, I imagine that I might line up fairly well with Bryan. Faith produces works, so a person whose life is characterized by unforgiveness probably does not possess saving faith to begin with. As far as the passage as a whole, it is a parable, and we should not take every aspect of it as carrying some weighty truth, as I noted in my correspondence with Gavin in the old thread. I believe I shall hold back on further comments until questions are asked of me...
(P.S. Not that it's really anyone's business, but just for the sake of those who were curious, Gavin and I reconciled in a private conversation.)
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Unread 12-27-2004, 03:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan
but those who are called according to his purpose would not include those who refuse to forgive somebody.
I do not believe this to be the case. There are plenty of people who have refused to forgive others, then repented, and forgiven.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 04:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Link H
I do not believe this to be the case. There are plenty of people who have refused to forgive others, then repented, and forgiven.
On the one hand, I believe that you are correct. After all, Jesus came to save sinners, and one of the myriad of sins that sinners commit is being unforgiving. Jesus came to take a damned, ugly whore and make her a pure, radiant bride.
On the other hand... well, I guess you're still correct. You're talking about repentance from a closed, unforgiving heart to an open, forgiving one, which is exactly the kind of change that Christ brings in the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to take a damned, ugly whore and make her a pure, radiant bride.
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Originally Posted by Skeeter
Since God does forgive all sins of those He has called according to His purpose, I would say that unforgiveness is forgiven as well. I would interpret this passage to mean that we should reflect the same forgiveness that was given to us by forgiving others.
I guess this is the post that I really wanted to comment on... Yes, God forgives our sins. Yes, He frees us from the penalty of sin. Yes, Christ's atonement covers such sins. Yes, all these things are true, but there is more! Christ has sent for us the very Spirit of God, Who empowers (and/or overpowers) us to overcome sin, though we do not always feel or use this power. Christ died that we may be freed from the power of sin, not only its penalty.
Faith works. We may be unforgiving for a while, but children of God will never be comfortable there. They may forget those sore spots, but at every recollection, the testimony of the Spirit, perhaps in conjunction with the conscience, will cause the true child of God to wince inwardly, likely bringing the prodigal to repentance.
So, yes, Christ's atonement is sufficient to cover unforgiveness, but it was never meant to comfort unforgiveness. The unforgiving are, at best, forgetting what a great salvation has already been given to them. At worst, they are neglecting it.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 06:14 AM   #11
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Unforgiven

It stands to reason that God will NOT forgive you if you do not forgive others.

The logic behind this assertion is that if we have the Spirit of God in us, then we will have the gifts of that same Spirit. If we are to believe Paul, then love would be the chief of these.

If we are unable to forgive, then we lack agape love.

If we lack agape love, then we have no right to call ourselves Christians.

And finally, if you are not a true believer in Christ, then your sins are not forgiven.

I understand the intellectual value of debate, and even skepticism, but some of the arguments and positions taken remind me of the Pharisees.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 04:58 PM   #12
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How can we say it's more of a parable, or more of a suggestion? or something to think about? Isn't it extreamly clear? If you harden your heart towards someone, and don't forgive them, then your sins will not be forgiven you, and you will pay for them.

It's a hard very very hard teaching... But frankly... the parable that Jesus told about this, he spoke of someone who He had forgiven of SOOOO much! and then this person truned around and refuses to forgive someone who he has this one thing against... The King made that man pay, even though he was already forgiven.. he took it back and made him pay for it. He had to work till he had payed off his debt.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 06:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky
How can we say it's more of a parable, or more of a suggestion? or something to think about? Isn't it extreamly clear? If you harden your heart towards someone, and don't forgive them, then your sins will not be forgiven you, and you will pay for them.
When I pointed out that Jesus' illustration was a parable and not an allegory, I was not denying that an unforgiving spirit has not been blessed with the forgiving Spirit. That's the whole point of the illustration in the first place: that those who do not love or forgive neither are born of God nor know God, and they will not receive forgiveness. I was and am denying that we can take every aspect of the story and spiritualize it. Hence, I do not think that this passage necessarily contradicts the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints in any way, although there are some, such as Gavin (and, it would seem from this post of yours, yourself), who hold that it does.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky
The King made that man pay, even though he was already forgiven.. he took it back and made him pay for it. He had to work till he had payed off his debt.
The problem that I have is when this simple parable is spiritualized and used for more than it was intended. Because Jesus says that the first servant was forgiven his debts and later was forced to pay for them, some argue that this passage proves that we can lose our salvation. My point was that Christ did not intend for such an application. This parable is not meant to be allegorized any more than some of His other illustrations, such as the parable of the sower. If it were, one might conclude that Christians can throw people into hell, for the first servant throws the second into jail for his debt, after all. Nevertheless, God can get those people back out of hell. What's more, we only have as much time to repent of our unforgiveness as it takes God (who apparently is not omniscient) to find out about it, for the king throws the servant into jail immediately after but only after he discovers the matter. This is the sort of abuse that I am seeking to prevent. When in interpreting Jesus' parables, it is wisest to apply it only as Jesus did, which in this case does not necessarily include the threat of losing a salvation once had, but it definitely does mean that we must have a forgiving spirit if we count ourselves as God's children.
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Unread 12-27-2004, 06:48 PM   #14
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I think the parable teaches us to take unforgiveness seriously. What happens if you profess Christ, but you die without forgiving you neighbor? I wouldn't want to be in that situation. There are those that believe for a little time, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and they become unfruitful. Who is to say that unforgiveness could not have a similar effect?
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Unread 12-27-2004, 06:55 PM   #15
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Yes, some of what you said would be taking the scripture too far. But frankly, the kind SAID THE GUY WAS FORGIVEN. I believe that WAS the point of the parable. The guy was forgiven and then turned around and did not forgive others. It's a parable dirrected at those who call themselves Christians. You can make an argument that those people weren't REALLY part of the elect.. but there is no doubt that this is directed to those who believethesmelves to be part of the elect. If you believe yourself to be forgiven by God, then you better forgive others, or else you will not be forgiven.
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