Should we forgive those who do not repent?

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Romans922, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Yes

    46 vote(s)
  2. No

    18 vote(s)
  3. Other

    7 vote(s)
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  1. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    We, like the ungrateful servant have rung up an enormous debt for all the sins of commission and omission – and we could not, cannot repay. We “owe” God everything – which He graciously choose to forgive through Christ – yet we (are prone to) demand a pound of flesh from others for their transgressions against us.
  2. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not sure what the problem is? nt
  3. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    what does "nt" mean?
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    This verse has already been listed earlier in the thread. I will bring it back up because it is speaks clearly to the question and for some reason keeps being avoided.

    Luke 17:3-4
    3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (ESV)

    Jesus clearly teaches that forgiveness for personal offences is conditioned upon the offenders repentance. Also plainly evident is the ready willingness to forgive on the part of the offended person, even seven times a day, so long as the offender repents. :2cents:
  5. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    nt means no more text. :)
  6. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Yet in another passage, Luke 15, we see that the Father’s love was poured out before the prodigal said a word – and in Matthew 18:21-22, we see that the parable did not include repentance as a precondition.

    In my humble estimation the church has trouble reconciling differences.

    What is our obligation to the one who does not repent?
  7. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I apologize if this was already covered in the thread, but I think it is important to distinguish between sins against God and sins against ourselves. Some sins against us are also sins against God because they violate the law of God on how to treat others. But mere personal offenses do not always rise to this level.

    For that category of personal offenses how would this verse play out?

    Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

    If the offense is merely against us, and not against the Lord, why not just pass over it and forget it? Depending on the circumstance it may be needed or wise to confront the brother and work things out, but I don't think repentance is needed to forgive personal offenses.

  8. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you wrote: “It's the one offended by the non-sinful occurrence that needs to "get over it".”

    Again – what I am urging is not false piety or political correctness – but forgiveness and reconciliation.
  9. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman


    My husband has graciously explored Luke 17:3 and affirms that indeed, when a sinner repents, we must forgive. However, repentance is not a precondition, as other Bible verses show – Christ on the Cross, Stephen dying under a barrage of stones

    When a person wants to repent, it is easy to see my obligation to forgive; when that person does not repent, it’s hard to want to forgive as Christ forgave.
  10. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    1. Theif on the Cross-Are you telling me the theif didn't repent?

    Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

    Not only did he rebuke the other criminal (v.40), he acknowledges his sin (v.41a), acknowledged Christ's perfection (v.41b), and acknowledged Christ as King and Lord (v.42). He could only do that by repntance.

    2. Stephen-Addressed above.

    You said, once again, "to forgive as Christ forgave". This makes me think there should be no disagreement since Christ forgives repentant sinners who've been enabled by grace alone.

    Both my husband and I refer to the Lord’s prayer: "Father, forgive them ; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:33-34 –

    Christ forgave many sinners, the paralytics –for example, repentant and non-
  11. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Where did Christ forgive unrepentant paralytics?
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Jesus, although in His humanity, was still omniscient. When Jesus forgives, He knows the condition of the heart. There is no ambiguity. Not so with us. Our understanding of the heart is limited. We can never know with certainty. Should we not forgive even without being asked? I don't believe this action violates the principles of Matthew 18.
  13. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Our obligation is to confront them lovingly with their offense, and follow the rules of Matthew 18. If they do not repent (assuming it is truly a sin) then there is a much bigger problem involved for the church. The offender is acting like an unbeleiver, and unless he repent, he will eventually be cast out. Notice the example of Zacheus (Luke 19:1-9). When he beleived on Christ, he repented and made restitution for those he offended. That is the proper response of a true beleiver. So it's not just a matter of personal offense. If someone sins against you and doesn't repent, he is also rejecting Christ. It is your duty as a beleiver not only to seek his repentance against you, but also to restore him back to proper fellowship with Christ and his people, and snatch him away from the fire.

    Telling him "I forgive you" when he doesn't even agree he sinned against you or doesn't care, will not move him toward reconciliation. Indeed you have only emboldened him to further sin because there is no consequence to his sin. You can tell him you love him and care about him, but until he repents, his relationship to you is hindered, he has lost your trust, and is in danger of abandoning Christ altogether for his unrepentant life. Faith without works is dead. Forgiveness and reconciliation can only take place when there is mutual desire for reunion and restoration. You are to forgive as Christ forgives, therefore until the offender seeks reconcilation from you, you are not to give it. But as soon as he seeks it and repents, then we are to welcome his fellowship back with open arms immediately. Christ doesn't forgive us until we come to him pleading for forgiveness and seeking to change the way we live (ie. repent). That is our pattern. :2cents:
  14. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I guess, I read Matthew 18:15, in light of the whole chapter – The one who sins against me is God’s business – my (subjective) response is my business as per God’s commands to prevent a root of bitterness from springing up.

    Matt 6:14-15 – "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

    Matt 18:21-22 – Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

    Luke 17:4 is one wonderful verse that is best read among several – esp. given that the disciples readily confessed that they had not the faith to do it.
  15. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    With respect, you said I ignored the clause – again, I submit 17:3 is one of several teachings that confirm an approach to dealing with sinners – contrite or non-repentant.

    One’s attitude must needs be that of Christ Jesus – who forgave His tormentors and the thief from the Cross. And no, I don’t think that was a universal pass for all into eternity – except for the thief –

    My obligation is to do unto those who harm me what Christ commands – it is not conditional on their repentance –

    Stephen saw Christ – asked God to forgive his murderers, and yet withheld his forgiveness? Do I understand you correctly?
  16. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I don't think we can forgive sinners as Christ does - we have to do it in our finite way. Christ can forgive the "unrepentant" because He can change their hearts. No one who Christ forgives fails to repent.

    To clarify what I think they're saying about Stephen; Stephen did not say "I forgive you." he asked God to forgive them. He had their salvation in mind. His prayer was answered at least in part when Saul of Tarsus repented. :2cents:
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    But it's important to remember this: God regenerates unrepentant sinners but no unrepentant sinner ever embraces Christ to receive forgiveness for their sins. There is always a recognition of sin and a NEED for forgiveness that precedes the belief in the Gospel. God initiates redemption outside of our seeking Him but we seek Him (faith) as the instrument of our reconciliation.

    I also think that it is Christ's intercession for those that crucified Him that led to a mass conversion at Pentecost. Remember, these men at Pentecost were the same men in town for Passover. Peter reminds them that they crucified Christ. That they were cut to the heart and now realized they had put the Son of God to death just a few months earlier must have been one of the scariest moments in history. Can you just sense the despair in the question: "Men and brethren what must we do?!"

    REPENT and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
  18. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Withholding forgiveness does not mean you grow bitter. Just for the sake of clarity, please define forgiveness as you understand it. Recognizing that someone is quilty of sin against you, and confronting them about it is not bitterness.

    Forgiveness is a relational reality. You no longer hold ones transgressions against them, with the purpose or restoring fellowship with them. But forgiveness in Scripture is granted when the offender recognizes and confesses his sin, makes restitution, and repents of it. Only then is there a mutual desire for restoration and fellowship. Then there is a right context for forgiveness. Forgiveness takes place in the context of restoration, not alienation.

    This is the pattern of Christ who in love gave himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness an dpurify for himself a people. But we receive absolutely no forgiveness from Christ until we come to him in faith and repent of our sins. The Cross was his act of love while we were still enemies, dealing with the guilt and power of sin. But He doesn't forgive us until we turn to him. Then the transaction takes place, our sins are no longer held against us, and we enjoy restored fellowship with the God we formerly offended. We are children of wrath until we turn to Christ.

    And you cannot divorce sins against you from sins against God. There is always a corporate dimension to sin. God will not forgive the offender unless they repent, and neither should you. The goal of forgiveness is restoration, not to prevent personal bitterness. Choosing not to forgive, when the offender has sought forgiveness is sin because it as well prevents restoration. We desire to restore the offending party back to true fellowship both with you and with God, "our fellowship is with the Father and the Son." God saves those who turn from their wicked ways and seek pardon and restoration from Him. There's no transaction until the sinner repents. Even the thief repented of his idolatry on the cross, and looked to Jesus alone.

    Lk. 17:3, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him."

    This is the clear command Jesus gave us. There is a reason it took faith to forgive, because there is more involved in true forgiveness. To interpret the rest of the "forgiveness" texts to say the opposite of Lk 17:3 is simply not a proper way to read Scripture. You are cutting out the heart of this text, "Rebuke him, and if he repents....". To forgive without this dimension is no forgiveness at all. It may sound pious and all but in the end it only leads to alienation, not restoration. The sinner is never admonished to repent because he hasn't lost your fellowship. There is no consequence of his sin to your relationship. And you have essentially told him that you don't care for his restoration anyway because you are not willing to make known to him the reality of sin and the danger he is now in for sinning not only against you but against God. You have given him a pass, only to let him drift into hell, yet thinking he is perfectly fine since you forgave him.

    I suggest that you think through this a little more. We live in a time when people are crying "can't we all just get along?" And the plain truth is, we can't. Sin is real. And unless we tell people that, they will continue to sin against you without consequence, and expect you to respect and tolerate their "personal choices" in life. Withholding forgiveness doesn't mean we grow bitter because we hold them accountable for their actions. Growing bitter is a result of forgetting your place before God, when you make someones sin just about you, rather than about you and God. Witholding forgiveness means we care about the eternal state of their souls, and cannot bear the thought that they should continue in their present course. We should love them too much to forgive them without repentance. :2cents:
  19. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks – I’ve thought through it a great deal. And I still believe withholding forgiveness is unbiblical – esp. considering that in most relational situations – not necessarily church discipline issues – but between people, Christians and non.
  20. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree –our forgiveness is finite – and I submit there are plenty of Christians who remain unrepentant – insensitive – to their own sin (Jerry White, Navigators) A couple of years of bad habits are plenty to desensitize a real Christian – I don’t think a human comes to ask God to forgive his ir her debtors until they are at the point of forgiving.
  21. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I forgive people when I recognize that whatever they have done to me – God has forgiven me far more –
    And yes I have your verses – :)

    Church discipline may be another matter – but between people, Christians, and non – let go of the grievances – address it – and if it is persistent willful sin – let the church step in. (Something only a precious few churches have the courage to do.) But forgive, for the problems that person who willfully insists on their own way will face greater problems than coming up with a convincing “I’m sorry.”

    God’s given me ample opportunity to try out the practice of forgiveness – it works. :)
  22. JimfromOhio

    JimfromOhio Inactive User

    This might not be the right forum for me

    By the way, I am just follow basic Calvinism doctrines. NOT hyper-calvinist because I am confused about some of the posters responses to my posts.
  23. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Most likely a privy outside of the house.
  24. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you -- you very well expressed what I wrote poorly. nt
  25. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    In two separate accounts, neither man "repented" of their sins. nt
  26. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This discussion is getting circular.

    Joshua nor anyone else is speaking about a minimum standard of contrition. There is, nevertheless, a debt incurred when sin occurs.

    Forgiveness recognizes not only the debt but the requirement on the person who incurred the debt to make restitution or have the debt forgiven.

    We're not talking about jumping through all sorts of hoops here but there are no BIBLICAL examples of a person being forgiven who has not sought repentance. Even the Prodigal Son repented to his father. The father's response was much more lavish then it had to be but that's the point.

    I've been watching this give and take for a while. You're "preaching from your gut" more than the Word on this one.

    Do not confuse harboring resentment and ill will toward someone who wronged you with actual forgiveness. Those are not the same things as forgiving them. All sorts of un-Scriptural ideas have arisen about the nature of sin and repentance because we have a false idea that we can forgive a person who remains unrepentant. We act as if we have the power to grant to a person something God Himself has not yet granted them: namely forgiveness.

    Put another way: if somebody steals from you and never makes restitution nor ever repents of that sin, they are NOT released of the debt of that sin. God holds that man accountable. You do not have the power to release a man of the debt of that sin simply by the fiat: "I forgive that man". Does that mean you have to allow a root of bitterness to develop? No. No. No. It's two different things. One has to do with the man's debt before God and you and another has to do with your attitude toward the man and God. You need to distinguish the two more properly.
  27. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Precisely, read what He told them to pray:

    "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

    We are to be ready to forgive any man as quickly and as lavishly as God does to all who seek His forgiveness.

    Show me a single verse in Scripture that God forgives the unrepentant and your point will be conceded.
  28. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Argument from silence. The Scriptures do not say they were unrepentant. You have to read that into the text. A man who believes in Christ as His Savior CANNOT, by definition, be unrepentant. To claim otherwise is to deny the Gospel itself. What we know about regeneration and conversion in the Scriptures makes this clear:

    1. God initiates by regenerating dead sinners.
    2. Live sinners see their sin and are horrified by it.
    3. Live sinners see Christ and repent of their sin and flee to the Cross.

    There is no need for the Cross without recognition of sin. Even if I grant that Christ forgave the man while he was silent, I would conclude from DIDACTIC teaching that Christ's work, by the power of the Holy Spirit, simultaneously regenerated and converted the man.
  29. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    I checked with the Peacemaker ministry – to refresh my understanding before digging a deeper hole

    When I am offended – and can not overlook the offense – I go to the person (sometimes a Christian) if they do not “repent” – and alas some Christians have assured me what they did was not a sin, and I need to get over my hurt – others readily ask for forgiveness for hurting me – and more than a few folks –Christians and non – aren’t sure what to do – and what they do is not changing their conduct.

    If it is not a matter for church discipline – and too serious for me to just overlook – what do I do? The danger of developing a root of bitterness is real – esp. when a Christian says, “ I didn’t mean anything by what I did.”
    Peacemakers suggests two stages to forgiveness
    1. I adopt, supernaturally, an attitude of forgiveness to that person. By God’s grace I take no action against the person – and therefor, my attitude results in concrete actions. It is unconditional, and between me and God.

    2. When the person actually says he or she was wrong, I can and must forgive – as many times as they repent.

    Because # 2 may not come in my lifetime, by God’s grace, I live in the first stage, and recommend it.
  30. bwsmith

    bwsmith Puritan Board Freshman

    PeaceMakers – it is an international ministry – to assist the church make and keep the peace – It’s founder is a PCA elder.

    It is a two-stage process for those who will not admit faults –

    The first stage is anchored in Mark 11:25-26; Luke 6:26-31; and Acts 7:60.

    I am not ignoring Scripture by living in attitude of forgiveness, until repentance comes –
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