The misguided religious folks of our day err when they say God demands that we unconditionally forgive everyone. The Scriptures show otherwise:

There are guilty, unrepentant men in the world. Have nothing to do with them. Proverbs says, “A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him“, Pro. 28:17. It would be a sin to give him support. It would be a sin to forgive him. This verse is speaking in general terms and does not deal with the fugitive that is remorseful and seeks God’s salvation.

In heaven there is a book of deeds and many men will have sins in it retained by God. Because they did not believe in His Son so as to be saved by His grace, their sins are retained. God forgives those who repent of their sins, Lk. 13:3. Likewise, it is on that basis that we forgive men. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained“, Jn. 20:23. The Apostles, the Leaders of the Church, retained the sins of some and the sins were retained in heaven. So if someone is saying that Christians must absolutely forgive everyone, they are simply mistaken because of this verse alone.

Some people get the order of things backwards. The way they explain forgiveness being unconditional requires that they forgive the erring Brother immediately, with or without, a contrite spirit in the Brother. “11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one“, 1 Cor. 5:11. Here is the erroneous order or things:

    –> Christian sins and is caught
    –> Caring Brother confronts the erring Brother who does not repent
    –> Caring Christian forgives him
    –> Caring Christian puts unrepentant Brother out of the church to “deliver him over to Satan”.

To be like God, to forgive like God, the Church cannot forgive the unrepentant Brother.

Some people are not discerning as they should be and so they conclude that we must forgive everyone just as God does. Not true. God does not forgive everyone. God offers forgiveness to everyone but on the condition of repentance and obedience to the Gospel. Repentance is essential or you may not forgive, Luke 17:3,4.

Because God does not forgive the unrepentant, for it would violate His holy nature, it is therefore wrong for God’s people to be praying for Him to do so. John wrote, “16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this“, 1 Jn. 5:16. God answers prayer and He forgives and helps those sinful Brothers who have a broken and contrite spirit. But if a Brother is sinning and has a stiff neck and rebellious spirit, don’t bother praying for him to be forgiven because God isn’t going to forgive him.

Christians are the most forgiving people in the world. We are like our God who forgives the most. But it is a gross error, born of denominational ideas, that imposes something as unreasonable and inconsistent as forgiving an unrepentant person. If you wish to forgive an unrepentant person, go ahead and see what it gets you. You might as well forgive a viper or a lion. I wouldn’t recommend you get to close.

Categories: Uncategorized

4 replies

  1. I like the idea conveyed in the last two sentences. I know that there are people who are tortured from traumatic events that have happened to them such as a rape. They argue that they had to forgive even though he was never repentant otherwise their lives would have been ruined. I think I understand where they are coming from but I don't know how to explain that forgiveness is not the concept. Certainly they have had to move beyond bitterness, anger, and malice but if they have forgiven that person would they let him near their daughter? You might as well forgive a viper or a lion.

    Also, what do you make of the word used in Eph. 4:32 being a different Greek word than other times when forgiveness is the subject?


  2. The word for forgive in Eph. 4:32 is KARIZOMAI and it means to give a favor, to be gracious to, to grant forgiveness. It is used a number of times in the New Testament. Colossians 3:13 has a similar message: “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone ; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” The more common word translated “forgive” is APHI-EIMI and is found about 133 times in the New Testament. This word means something more specific about the action “to send away, yield up, expire, disregard, leave, to let go, give up a debt.” Jason, I am glad you brought this up as I had never noticed the distinction before. But after looking it over, I think the KARIS word used in Eph 4:32 and Col 3:13 is a general term of showing grace towards others and the second word, the more common word, is describing the specific action of letting go of the debt. Interesting. Your thoughts?


  3. I'm not really sure what to make of it. I have looked at the difference in meaning and the contexts really seem to indicate the idea of christian grace that allows for people to grow or allows for people to just have a bad day. It seems practical, realizing that we all have shortcomings but that as we walk in the light we are constantly shown God's grace.

    I don't know – both words are used in relation to the forgiveness we receive from God. But it really seems to be an indication that there is a difference between dealing with a repentant christian and everyday situations (if you will), and unrepentant, rebellious sinners.

    I think I could apply the same to dealing with non-christians. In one sense they are unrepentant and need forgiveness to be righteous, but in the other sense of daily interaction we should show everyone grace.


  4. It also strikes me that there is a connection to leaving the vengeance to God. In the case where someone has been terribly wronged, as in the example of the earlier mentioned rape scenario, a person shouldn't further harm themselves by harboring anger and malice in themselves. But, they instead can turn it over to God allowing him to take vengeance or forgive them if they repent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: