A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.
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Repentance and Forgiveness
July 14, 2015
I was thinking again about this matter of repentance and forgiveness, and asking questions. These are my own thoughts, combined with a devotional by Oswald Chambers.
Please feel free to comment. I am just pondering…..I like to think things out for myself and this is my process. It’s not written in stone.
Is forgiveness a result of repentance, or is repentance a result of forgiveness?
I wrote a post for Facebook three years ago regarding my own conviction that you must forgive, regardless of the other person’s decision to repent, based on the fact that we ourselves will not be forgiven unless we forgive.
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:15 AMP
Someone in my life had said they would not offer forgiveness for a certain individual who had wronged them unless that individual first repented. I disagreed and wrote the following:
“Forgiveness cannot afford to wait for repentance. Unforgiveness will consume the one who cannot forgive and yes, it will bind you to the offender in a very real way….AJ, July 11, 2012.”
God has already forgiven us, but sometimes repentance on our part is really slow in coming. His example shows us how to be with others.
As Christians, we say that their is no salvation without repentance. However, when Jesus died on that cross for our sin, our salvation was taken care of. He forgave, prior to our repentance. As he said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
So, why is it that we bind people up by telling them they must first repent in order to receive forgiveness? Forgiveness awaits. It was freely given. We just need to recognize it. Surely repentance is simply an acknowledgement of the goodness of God in His gift of forgiveness?
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NKJV).
Repentance, however, is a necessity, and it should be an ongoing process, as need is discovered, not a one time event. It is a result of coming to terms with the unfathomable goodness of God, an acknowledgment of that fact. It is the process of sanctification in the life of a christian. I’m not sure it would even have been truly possible without the forgiveness of God.
This part of the post is from a devotional I often read and find myself interacting with.
My interaction with the devotional content is in italics in brackets…..I like to converse with Oswald Chambers 😉
Repentance, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, Dec 7, 2014
Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation . . . -2 Corinthians 7:10
Conviction of sin is best described in the words:
My sins, my sins, my Savior,
How sad on Thee they fall.
Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. (Yes, I think so.) It is the beginning of an understanding of God. (Yes, I agree. I think it has much to do with the drawing power of the Holy Spirit) Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, (yes) it is not that person’s relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God- “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight . . .” (Psalm 51:4). (Only if the person KNOWS God can this be said) The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. (Wow, I like that. Only the forgiven person is HOLY) He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. (Right, by the power of the indwelling Spirit only) Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, “I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes- a reflex action caused by self-disgust. (I wonder about this. I wonder if sometimes I’m just sorry that things are not right and I haven’t yet gotten to real acknowledgement of my sin and REAL repentance )
The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man’s respectable “goodness.” (Wow, I like that sentence! I think that when we see the goodness of God, and His forgiveness, we realize how needy we actually are). Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person’s life (see Galatians 4:19). (Amen!) This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. (I wonder if I have that? Unconscious holiness? I think I have seen it in some people) The foundation of Christianity is repentance (isn’t it forgiveness?). Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses- repentance is a gift of God. (AMEN! Wow, it’s ALL a gift, every bit of the work of God in us, so that none can boast. The prior gift is forgiveness, bringing about this repentance) The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” (Interesting. Prayer for sorrow over sin) If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. (Right) Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant (Good plan to me to work on. This has really helped my understanding.)
If you haven’t explored Oswald Chamber’s devotional before, I can really recommend it. I’ve looked at it for years and always get some new insight from the fresh reading of it.
Thanks for giving some time to my post. I hope it has been of some value.