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Sin And The Forgiveness Of Sins?


Guest wayfarer2k
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Guest wayfarer2k

Being a progressive Christian, I think there is more to Christianity than just the issue of sin and the forgiveness of sins. Nevertheless, it is an important topic in the bible and I thought I would ask the forum what it thinks on this issue. Specifically:

 

1. Jesus seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins is conditional, based upon repentance and reconciliation with others. For him, forgiveness was about relationships and how those could be restored, whether between mankind and God or between ourselves. 1 John 1:9 is the classic text that under girds this view: if we confess, then forgiveness follows; if we don’t confess, then forgiveness isn’t ours. For Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is an ongoing process, never complete because we still sin.

 

2. Paul, on the other hand, seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins is unconditional, based solely upon the completed work of Jesus on the cross. For him, forgiveness was anchored in the event of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. He speaks of the forgiveness of sins as a finished work, as a status that, because of Christ, we continually have.

 

Do you see these two views in opposition to each other? If not, how have you reconciled these two different concepts?

 

PS – Peter (as well as John the Baptist), on the third hand, seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins comes about through the sacrament of baptism. Any thoughts on this?

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I feel the first part of repentance is confession. Confession is an act in the mind that is the start of a change of heart having to do with meeting God again. It is a mental action that comes from a new heart. It is not to another person, but to the higher self from the lower self or from the lower layers of our mind to the higher layers of the mind. Confession brings about a new relationship between God and man because we approach God from a new location, a higher point in our being. It renews and restores our relationship with God. We become aware of the negative contents of our mind so we can be liberated from them in the lower layers by going to the higher layers of our mind. Confessing to ourselves, we realize what we hate and fear. We realize that our hates and fears are within our minds and not surrounding us on every side. Confession is a gift that stops us from torturing ourselves and the people around us.

 

Forgiveness relates to grace because it is a gift. It is a gift of liberty, a sense of letting go, sending away, or release. It is preparation to change our old attitudes and be willing to start to climb through the lower layers of the mind from a different locality. To do this we have to be open to new ideas and stop erecting psychological barriers to protect ourselves from the shock of facing something new. Why do we deprive ourselves of views that might prove to be helpful in a crisis and give us some meaning in life? We have to investigate these new ideas, confess to ourselves and see if they are true and not be manipulated by others. Forgiveness is graciously letting go of a mental injury. It is to dismiss, release, leave, or abandon an offense to go to a new place. The apostles left their nets, their families and their boats when called. Jesus left Judea and went to Samaria where a woman left her old ways, when she had faith in Our Lord.

 

Jesus nailed our sins to the cross to show us fellowship forgiveness, but it needs constant renewing. Most of us started our Christian life with Jesus and his goodwill forgiveness. We renew his forgiveness every time we are aware of a new sin in our lives so confession results in an ongoing fellowship forgiveness, which brings harmony. May our gratitude for God’s forgiveness motivate us to forgive ourselves and others. It is hypocritical to receive forgiveness from God and then refuse to extend forgiveness to others. Christians should be ashamed to condemn others for comparatively minor matters, when we should be forgiving, loving people.

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  • 4 months later...
Being a progressive Christian, I think there is more to Christianity than just the issue of sin and the forgiveness of sins. Nevertheless, it is an important topic in the bible and I thought I would ask the forum what it thinks on this issue. Specifically:

 

1. Jesus seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins is conditional, based upon repentance and reconciliation with others. For him, forgiveness was about relationships and how those could be restored, whether between mankind and God or between ourselves. 1 John 1:9 is the classic text that under girds this view: if we confess, then forgiveness follows; if we don’t confess, then forgiveness isn’t ours. For Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is an ongoing process, never complete because we still sin.

 

2. Paul, on the other hand, seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins is unconditional, based solely upon the completed work of Jesus on the cross. For him, forgiveness was anchored in the event of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. He speaks of the forgiveness of sins as a finished work, as a status that, because of Christ, we continually have.

 

Do you see these two views in opposition to each other? If not, how have you reconciled these two different concepts?

 

PS – Peter (as well as John the Baptist), on the third hand, seems to teach that the forgiveness of sins comes about through the sacrament of baptism. Any thoughts on this?

 

Wayfarer2k,

 

It seems to me that even though each writer seemed to present things a little differently, they were not in opposition. As Paul in his letter to the Romans Chapter 2 seemed to indicate he understood the principle of forgiveness when he said...

 

1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

 

This is very similar to a recorded teaching of Jesus saying in effect that

 

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. and also that included forgiving others because what you do to another you do to yourself in effect.

 

Paul is recorded in Romans 2 saying....

14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

 

Perhaps that tells me that Paul understood that from a human standpoint forgiveness is conditional on our conscience which bears witness to our heart. When one accuses another one accuses oneself and when one excuses (forgives) another one forgives oneself. and the grace of God is always there in time awaiting (so to speak) our acceptance of this action/mindset on our part.

 

Now John the Baptist baptised for the remission of sins but he called for repentance first and I believe from his recorded words he understood water baptism was only symbolic.

 

This is just my take on the question to consider. I believe the answer is also in Soma's post above described in other words.

 

I also realize there are writings of Paul that SEEM to say differently but then again my view of what the Bible is may differ significantly from others so in this section I will leave it at that.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

 

I can't look behind the eyes of another so I don't know what they are thinking at any point in time. I only know what I am thinking or would think in a similar situation; therefore, I am only judging myself in that situation.

 

The same thought goes with forgiving a person. We are actually forgiving our own thoughts on that experience.

 

Easily said, but hard to follow.

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I'm really glad to read this today. We are having a discussion tonight about "Forgiveness: How Much is Too Much?" I did quite a bit of research last week in order to prepare, and I too noticed the apparent contradiction. Jesus said we should forgive others so God can forgive us. If we don't forgive others, God won't forgive us.

 

In my research, I read that Buddhism teaches that forgiveness of others is a healthy response because it helps us let go of the bad things that happen to us. Oprah, Dr. Phil, etc, seem to agree. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that God won't forgive us unless we repent, because often there is a timing issue. In my own life I have forgiven people who are unable to apologize at the time, and it has resulted in learning and health for me.

 

However, I think Jesus recommends that we repent of our own sin and forgive others because both of those bring the biggest chances for real change in a person. I don't think it's so much about the threat of God not forgiving us, but rather for Jesus' desire for us to be set free from old destructive patterns of behavior.

 

If anything comes out at the discussion tonight that I think will be helpful, I'll share...

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The forgiveness discussion last night was insightful!

 

We talked about whether apology/repenting is required for forgiveness to take place. We found that a lot in Jewish and Muslim writings. We found that within Judiaism, if a person apologizes sincerely, one is obligated to forgive. So, the words of Jesus seem to be in line with Jewish thought of the day. There was also the discussion about whether all forgiveness really comes from God, which seems Pauline. We looked at forgiveness as a letting go of the past so healing/reconciliation can at least be a possibility. And we talked about the fact that forgiveness often takes time and practice. Hurrying the time table for another can be detrimental to healing.

 

I woke up this morning with this epiphany: If conventional Jewish wisdom of the day was that a person had to repent/sincerely apologize before they could be forgiven, and the people thought that God followed the same idea, then the idea that people would be forgiven of all things through the death of Jesus and baptism was probably freeing. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." In some cases, people are not able or ready to apologize, yet it is still healthy to forgive them and release anger over an offense. If humans are capable of this, how much more is God capable! Jesus as substitutionary atonement probably freed people to stop worrying about whether they had confessed each tiny indiscretion in their lives.

 

I honestly believe that when Jesus said to forgive others so that God can forgive you, it was to motivate people to growth, even though it sounds like he was playing on people's fear.

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The forgiveness discussion last night was insightful!

 

We talked about whether apology/repenting is required for forgiveness to take place. We found that a lot in Jewish and Muslim writings. We found that within Judiaism, if a person apologizes sincerely, one is obligated to forgive. So, the words of Jesus seem to be in line with Jewish thought of the day. There was also the discussion about whether all forgiveness really comes from God, which seems Pauline. We looked at forgiveness as a letting go of the past so healing/reconciliation can at least be a possibility. And we talked about the fact that forgiveness often takes time and practice. Hurrying the time table for another can be detrimental to healing.

 

I woke up this morning with this epiphany: If conventional Jewish wisdom of the day was that a person had to repent/sincerely apologize before they could be forgiven, and the people thought that God followed the same idea, then the idea that people would be forgiven of all things through the death of Jesus and baptism was probably freeing. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." In some cases, people are not able or ready to apologize, yet it is still healthy to forgive them and release anger over an offense. If humans are capable of this, how much more is God capable! Jesus as substitutionary atonement probably freed people to stop worrying about whether they had confessed each tiny indiscretion in their lives.

 

I honestly believe that when Jesus said to forgive others so that God can forgive you, it was to motivate people to growth, even though it sounds like he was playing on people's fear.

 

That sounds like a really interesting discussion! I think you said you'd done some research for this - do you have any sources in particular to point us to if we want to read more about it?

 

Thanks! :)

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Joseph, thanks for sharing!

McKenna, I'm sorry! Most of my "research" was through google and involved things like answers.com or Oprah's website :-) Nothing too scholarly.

 

Oh, no problem! If you stumble across any good links again let us know :)

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