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Thought for the Week
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October 9, 2018, 12:59 PM

Forgiveness Among Men


As we live in the world, but are not part of the world, the scriptures warn that offenses are bound to come, but woe unto him by whom they come.  We might agree there are intentional offenses, but there are also accidental offenses and misjudgments.  The scriptures don’t really differentiate.

The place of forgiveness in a sanctified life is in several passages.  Colossians 3:13 tells us “if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”.  Ephesians 4 tells us “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”.  Matthew 18, in Jesus’ words tell us we must forgive until seventy times seven trespasses; so it seems there is no option to withhold forgiveness in the sanctified life. 

However, in contemporary theology the forgiveness discussion often seems to demand unbounded forgiveness, without acknowledging the example of God’s forgiveness and the other biblical requirements.  1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins”.  In the example of our relationship with God, we have to confess.  Luke 17:3-4 says “Take heed to yourselves:  If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”  Jesus in Matthew 5 said “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the alter, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the alter, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. “  Earlier in Mathew 18 it says “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church….”  Borrowing from Paul Harvey, perhaps this tells “the rest of the story”.

Bro. David Cosby


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