Posts tagged ‘Repentance’

Must We Forgive Anybody & Everybody?

I am compelled to write on the topic of forgiveness because just like when we speak out against sins like homosexuality, we are told that we must not judge, the world has similarly misconstrued Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness to only suit themselves. After all, the people of the world are gods to themselves, who love to use the Word-of-God to serve their own wicked interests. It’s a very painful thing to forgive the wrong people but the world doesn’t care as long as they can fool the innocent into keeping their guard down, so they can be taken advantage of further. Such is the sadist nature of many people in this world. It’s funny that the world’s people, who have no desire to follow Jesus, with not even an inkling whatsoever of what a Godly demeanor is, can have their heads filled with all these silly notions of religiosity that God requires of the believer, which highlights nothing but their wishful thinking & ignorance. The Bible is available to anybody and everybody who wishes to know God and it is usually lethargic fools who succumb to the world’s idea of forgiveness, which does not serve God’s interest but only the interests of the wicked who delight in sinning against their neighbour. Ideally the Fear-of-the-Lord is the beginning of wisdom but with such humanist teaching flagrantly being taught in Christian circles, what Christians today are learning is not the fear-of-the-Lord but the fear-of-people, which is why the nominal devout Christian is a fool even by the standard of this godless world.

John 20
22When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

Mat 16
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Yes, I am aware of all the verses that teach us to bless those who persecute us, curse us and speak evil against us (Mat 5:44) and that God shall forgive us only as we forgive those who sin against us (Mat 6:12). I also know that we are taught to turn the other cheek but this is in the context of not returning evil for evil (Mat 5:38-39). For instance if somebody breaks into my house and steals from me, Jesus doesn’t require me to keep the doors wide open thereon, neither am I to break into their house and steal from them to set things even but I have all the right under the moral and civil Law, as provided by God to take action against this person who stole from me. Remember, scripture must be studied and understood in the light of scripture so that we understand the Word-of-God on God’s righteous terms and not on the World’s ridiculous terms. What I am talking about is studying scripture by way of exegesis and not via an eisegesis. We must understand that scripture teaches us to conform to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) in whose image we were made. So, just as there is no salvation without repentance, we are not required to forgive unless the person who has sinned against us is sorry for what he/she has done. In this context, even if the person who has sinned against us apologizes to us seventy times seven (Mat 18:21-22), we are to forgive in imitating the meek nature of Jesus Christ (Is 42:3) but to those hypocrites who are unrepentant being right/wise in their own eyes (Isaiah 5:21), we are under no obligation to forgive them and we can even pray to God asking for His justice that the perpetrator may be softened with humility (Luke 18:7), so those necessary interactions we make with them are bearable or better still that he/she may repent and turn to God through our witnessing for the Gospel.

Luke 19
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him [b]gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone [c]to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The above portion of scripture shows us that an apology/repentance is not an empty word because the Bible requires people (Rom 2:12) to back it up with the action of restitution as you can see (Luke 19:8) and God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7). Even if you we were to look at the Judicial Law concerning protection of property and social responsibility in Exodus 22, we understand that the Judicial Law demands restitution only because the Moral Law which it serves to hedge demands it. Though the people of the world might have a good laugh on this subject of restitution, it only shows why pagan societies are so inconducive compared to western societies which have been shaped by the Gospel. It is important to note that though Jesus cried out on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), not all but only those (elect [Acts 13:48]) who repented of their sin were forgiven. For instance: the centurion who stood before Jesus when He breathed His last (Mark 15:39), this centurion exclaimed just as the Apostle Peter did (Mat 16:16)… saying truly this Man was the Son of God. However, in the case of Judas who betrayed Jesus (John 17:12 [below]) and the Pharisees who wickedly tried Him (John 19:10-11 [below]), there was no forgiveness for them and these were handed over to their own destructive lusts (Ps 81:12/Rom 1:24). Judas hanged himself & as for the Pharisees, they saw Jerusalem fall and the destruction of the temple in just a span of 37 years from Jesus’ death. Unless I have to really spell it out for you, Judas and those who wickedly tried Jesus received no forgiveness. The historian Josephus described Jerusalem as having reached a state very similar to what liberal Hollywood portrays as the future of the world (judging from movies like Pacific Rim Uprising, Resident Evil Retribution, Mad Max etc.); 70 century AD Jerusalem not only saw the destruction of the Temple but also the people’s plight reduced to what was prophesied in Isaiah 3. There is one account of this looting party who broke into this woman’s house because they smelled something cooking and when they got in they found a woman cooking her own baby. Though these people had hit an all-time low in their depravity, they left the house being unable to even stomach the idea of woman sharing with them her food which was her own child which she was cooking as food.

John 17
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 19
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

To conclude, it is rather ironic to notice those who believe that one must forgive even when the other is not sorry, extend this idea to their doctrine thinking, genuinely believing in the Gospel can exist without repentance unto Christ (Jn 12:24-26). However, God doesn’t rebuke His people for praying to Him for justice, when the world has dealt unjustly with them individually or collectively (Rev 6:10). The Bible also teaches that the Gospel is veiled from the unbeliever (2Cor 4:3) by his/her own unrepentant nature (Mat 11:20). So, if we who are made in the image of God, are taught to imitate God, in His likeness as revealed to us in Christ, we are not bound to forgive those who aren’t sorry, just as God does not forgive those who do not repent & believe in the Gospel.

John 8
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Repentance and the Gospel!

I see the world as having essentially two types of people, those who attribute their success and their lives to God and those who love to wallow in their own glory, even if it is by the means of crediting their success or their lives to something else besides God, which appeals as eye-candy to the people around.

Mat 5:45b
… for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Imagine people who perform but in their ignorance of God, fail to see their every effort/talent as being cushioned by the hand of God. So when these are asked as to what is the secret of their success they just arrogantly blurt their ignorant feelings available to them in that moment, not realizing to whom that credit is due. Still, God is not insecure like fallen men who desire payback for every emotion they invest in their neighbour.

Psalm 115:1
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

What is Repentance, it is turning away from that fallen desire of taking all the credit and giving glory to God, who matters more than all creation put together. If you find this hard to accept, it reflects only your miniscule perspective on God. Ironically, you will notice that though you haven’t figured the extent to which creation exists, you have no trouble in meditating on your own fallen desires with little care for those around you, leave aside all creation. That glory rightfully belongs to God (who is good and without sin) in all creation (Ps148), not to you or me or any other person for that matter.

Psalm 113:7
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,

Mat 5
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

The wearing of sackcloth in the Old Testament was synonymous with coarseness of mourning, where looking to God was the only comfort which would satisfy the soul. This repentance too is from God given to His elect (Act11:18) that they may know the truth about God and themselves and be brought to that spiritual prostration, which is every believer’s privilege in knowing God Almighty.

Mark 2:17 (In the context of John 1:10-13 & Rom 3:23-26)
17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It has always been so, that those who feel they don’t need Jesus are only those who are completely at home with their sin. For every other religion, the code of religiosity is an outward code but in Christianity the code is purely moral and so a person’s faith is not measured by the colour of his beard or by the length of their trousers or by the food he eats. By this I do not mean a person should dress immodestly but just that Christian principles are based on moral values and not an outward showcasing of religiosity from the individual. So it is that, what Biblical Law focuses on concerning the individual is: morality (Is1:11-17). For people from their fallen nature are prone to remaining in their immoral and godless state even while performing the Ceremonial aspects of the Law, only because such is the love for sin in every man from the fall of Adam.

Isaiah 1
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

In repentance, God grants the individual the overwhelming capacity to put to death their nature to sin, a death to the individual’s sinful-self, unto a new life in God (Jn12:24-26), symbolized by sitting in ashes and dust (Job42:6) and being washed in the waters of baptism (Rom6:4). This realization of a person’s spiritual plight before God, is the beginning of the work of God the Holy Spirit in putting sin/immorality to death in the individual (Phil1:6).

Col 3
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

Such is the importance of repentance, which is the highlight of Baptism. Without repentance it is impossible to believe in the Gospel because one needs to begin emptying themselves of their love for sin/immorality to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This capacity is granted the individual in Christ, who presents the believer a living spirit, which right from its infancy (Jn3:3,16), desires and exercises the righteousness of God (2Cor5:17).

Isaiah 58:5
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

Mk 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

So to conclude, just as Christmas marks the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and Resurrection Sunday marks the redemptive accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ for all God’s people. Baptism marks the individual made ready through repentance to believe in the saving Gospel. The Bible puts this across through some beautiful euphemism, where the Church, which is the body of believers, is being prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive her groom: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 22
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For as creation is given to glorify God, we see that just as a man is given to pour out his strength and labour for the woman he loves, who in turn is given to draw forth righteousness from him by her beauty, so too the Salvation of God’s Church is by the absolute merit of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev5:9), who paid Salvation’s ransom for His Church in His blood (1Tim2:6) and sent the Holy Spirit (John15:26) to sanctify and beautify His Church as a bride into the image of God, which was lost in Adam’s fall (Rom5:17). That just as Salvation is by grace through faith, so too is the beauty of Jesus’ Church that her faith is a gift from God to draw forth the righteousness of her beloved groom to save her from her sins (Lk5:20).

%d bloggers like this: