WHEN MUST WE FORGIVE
Today there is quite a bit of talk concerning forgiveness. Some are suggesting that we should forgive the perpetrators of the great holocaust of the century, the destruction of the World Trade Center and the partial destruction of the Pentagon.
It would be good to restudy a few verses from the Bible concerning forgiveness.. First, only God can forgive sin. (Mark 2:7) "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" Jesus had power while on earth to forgive sin so he could do it on any occasion as he saw fit. But Jesus died, was resurrected from the dead and went into heaven and a certain pattern was formed concerning forgiveness.
Now, we approach God through Jesus. (1 John 2:1)
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And
if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world." God's forgiveness is
conditioned upon repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) "The Lord is not slack
concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to
us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance." Anyone can have the forgiveness of their sins if they want to
be forgiven. The person who is not a Christian has this promise. We hear Peter
telling those who believed his message about the Christ that they must
"... Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins ..." (Acts 2:38). And to those who are
Christians Peter told them to "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness,
and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee"
(Acts 8:22). Some have asked the question, "What if they didn't have time
to do these things?" Well, let's let God handle that situation and I am
sure that whatever he does it will be right.
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