Some More Thoughts on Wrong Thinking About Forgiveness

Look carefully at this statement by the Apostle Paul:

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 2Tim 4:14-15

We know that Christ calls us to forgive one another. We are to love our enemies and do good to them (Matthew 5:43ff; Romans 12:19-20). We are not to take vengeance against them, but to leave it to the Lord to effect justice. (I am still researching whether or not we are commanded to forgive our enemy.  We are to love our enemy by doing good to them, not returning evil for evil 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9).

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The Deception of the Abuser — Sermon by Ps. Jeff Crippen

The Deception of the Abuser
Sermon 5 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 22, 2010
Sermon Text: Luke 3:1-14

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, (2) during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (3) And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (4) As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (5) Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, (6) and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” (7) He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (9) Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (10) And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” (11) And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. (12) Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” (13) And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” (14) Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:1-14 ESV

In this passage of Scripture, as in many others, we see that there is a false repentance.  The gospel is a gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, just as John the Baptist baptized repentant people in preparation for forgiveness in Christ. I do not believe we need to prove this point – that there is no true faith in Christ where genuine repentance is lacking.

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Shedding Some Light on the Subject of Forgiveness

I am staring at four books written by well-known Christians, all on the topic of forgiveness. I have read three of them and surveyed the fourth. Many more have been written, as a search on Amazon will reveal.  I suspect, however, that a person could read them all and only be more in the fog about forgiveness than before. These books do not agree with one another. At least the ones I have looked at. As has been said, “a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew.” If Christian pastors and teachers are unclear what forgiveness is, well – the blind are leading the blind.

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