22 Aug 2008

Conditional Forgiveness Makes Sense

Submitted by theshovel
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Why does it makes sense to us that certain requirements need to be met in order for forgiveness to be bestowed? If forgiving another was to be based upon sorrow, it would become obvious after a while that such a basis is all too relative. I mean, what kind of sorrow is sufficient? And then, what kind of forgiveness comes, as well as leaves, dependent upon the actions or attitudes of the one being forgiven? What good is a sorrow that lasts long enough to persuade someone to let the other off the hook? I would venture to say you know this process all too well, and that you have forgiven someone before, only to find yourself holding the same thing against him, thereby causing you to wonder if you ever did forgive in the first place.

But forgiveness is not based upon the actions or attitude of the recipient but upon the one who does the forgiving. Forgiveness is based upon God. The reality of one person truly forgiving another is also based upon God. Most of what we have considered forgiveness is nothing more than short-lived trade-offs between one person and another. We have learned how to make tentative deals with one another. Forgiveness is not about making deals but is found in not holding one's sins and offenses against that person. There is only one place, one reality where this is a possibility, and that is where there is no law against the person. That reality is found in the doing away of the offender, which was brought about in Jesus Christ in his death.

For us, forgiveness toward others is part and parcel of the miraculous new life in Christ. Do we not realize that it is only according to appearances that holding people's sins against them makes sense? That means it is only HIS mind by which we can truly view others according to reality and not according to appearance.

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Comments

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Posted: Aug-22-08 at 10:03am by Luvin
Dear Jim,
One thing that has always confused me about this is when it involves an unbeliever.[I can hear you say now, to lose the technicalities on this!LOL] I guess the confusion lies in the lack of understanding I have about there state. I f in darkness and not possesssing the life of Christ, how can THEY stand in or be forgiven? Un less of course it is all about our NATURE and not there forgiveness to begin with.[this is all a question with reference to forgiving others]


Posted: Aug-22-08 at 1:30pm by theshovel
Unless of course it is all about our NATURE and not there forgiveness to begin with

Bingo! Our nature, of course being the very life of Christ, as you did say. :) Remember what Jesus said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do? How could they have known what they were doing? They were living according to the mind of the world. They may have felt bad about what they had done, but being in darkness they still did not really know what they were doing.

Just because another may judge himself and the world around him according to law I don't have to judge him according to his own blindness. I may be able to boldly speak of the insanity and contradictions of his own judgments, but I am not obligated to buy into it so that I must judge accordingly.

Jim


Posted: Aug-22-08 at 1:38pm by John
Boy, did I need to hear this. I've wasted a lot of time in the last couple of days trying to work those "trade-offs." I remember my freedom now--freedom to see these other people according to the reality of Jesus and not the appearance of the flesh. I can quit trying to develop that sermon I was going to deliver "to teach them a lesson from the Word" about where they were wrong. Now I realize I don't have to do that.
Thanks Jim!


Posted: Aug-22-08 at 1:39pm by Wes
Thanks Jim. I needed to read this one today... WES


Posted: Aug-22-08 at 1:40pm by Sprint
Jim,

Thanks for your email! Keep on with your new data base.

Sprint.


Posted: Aug-22-08 at 6:02pm by Tim P
Luvin',
I appreciated your question and Jim's further explanation.

Tim


Posted: Aug-23-08 at 1:21pm by HarryTickâ„¢
What? You mean forgiveness as a two-way guilt trip doesn't work?!?!

I'm shocked!! Shocked Wink Smile


Posted: Aug-23-08 at 3:17pm by theshovel
And so you should be!! LOL


Posted: Aug-24-08 at 9:48am by Tim P
Jim,
Can you explain more about the "doing away of the offender"? Do you mean that all men have been done away with, i.e. put to death in the death of Christ?


Posted: Aug-24-08 at 7:39pm by theshovel
Tim,
The death of Christ dealt with the source, the one man, Adam. It is from him that sin and death entered and passed on to all mankind. By dealing with the one man, that is, the first Adam, God dealt with everything and everyone who came through him. Life is found in the last Adam, Christ.

So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
(1 Corinthians 15:45-49 NASB)


Posted: Aug-25-08 at 5:13am by Tim P
Thanks for your response, Jim.
So, the "offender" God did away with was Adam?
How did Christ's death do away with Adam in such a way that if affects me, you and all men? I don't quite see that in the verses you quoted, yet, Jim.
Sorry for my slowness, but I want to follow better what you're saying.

Tim


Posted: Aug-25-08 at 1:47pm by theshovel
Hello Tim! Please do not apologize for any perceived slowness.

So, the "offender" God did away with was Adam? How did Christ's death do away with Adam in such a way that if affects me, you and all men? I don't quite see that in the verses you quoted, yet, Jim. Tim

The doing away with the first Adam is the doing away with everything we had come to understand as life. It is the doing away of the old creation, that which fell into sin and death. It is the thing we were in this world, it was our heritage, our sinner-hood. It is all wrapped into the one man. Instead of merely seeing ourselves as having been freed from select sins we need to realize that we have been set free from the whole source.

The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Adam is the image we have borne, Christ is the image we shall bear...that is, from here on out.

As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

Though we may appear earthy, though we may perceive ourselves as earthy, we no longer are. Instead, we are those who are heavenly, for he who is the heavenly is our new life. The doing away of the first man, who contains everything of the old creation in him, affects you because it is the reality of your freedom from his bondage. You are not who you often perceive yourself to be. Consider this passage from Paul's follow-up letter to the Corinthians:

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NASB)

Let me quote that highlighted verse from some literal translations:

and for all he died, that those living, no more to themselves may live, but to him who died for them, and was raised again. (Young's Literal)

And He died on behalf of all, so that the ones living should no longer be living to themselves, _but_ to the One having died and having been raised on behalf of them. (ALT)

and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again. (ASV)

Hey, even the KJV gives a more literal translation:

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (KJV)

Do you see the difference? It's not that we've been freed so that we can live FOR him, but TO or UNTO him. I can remember how we used to read that verse from the KJV and automatically rephrased "unto" as "for".

The idea that we now live "for" him fits within the common fleshly concept that enough gratitude can make a permanent change. With this, I suspect we are all familiar. I remember as a child being punished by having a gift taken back because I was not thankful; and of course, I also remember judging others for the same failure. I suspect that this common belief is what has caused new translators to use the word "for" rather than the archaic sounding "unto" or even just plain "to".

The reality that we now no longer live TO or UNTO ourselves but instead TO or UNTO him who died and was raised on our behalf fits within Paul's demand that we are now new creatures in Christ.

And He died on behalf of all, so that the ones living should no longer be living to themselves, _but_ to the One having died and having been raised on behalf of them. (ALT)

He was raised "on behalf of" us. No, not in the sense that it was done so that we might be motivated enough to live for a new master, but so that he might bring about a new creation in himself that had been removed from its former bondage. The bondage of the old was in its continued futile attempt to live TO itself. Adam, having been created in the image of God was never designed to live to himself, for his life was all about God.

For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For both if we live, to the Lord we live, and if we die, to the Lord we die. So both if we live and if we die, we are the Lord's.
(Romans 14:7-8 ALT)

Our true freedom is found within God, there is no real freedom outside him. That is only an illusion.

Jim


Posted: Aug-26-08 at 12:37am by Tim P
Jim,
With much appreciation you have certainly given me more than I even asked for. Thank you.

This concept of "living to" someone is a bit hard for me to grasp. Not that I don't do this, but I guess I have never considered before that I live "to" anyone, whether it be me or the LORD. Can you help me understand this better, that is what it means to "live to"

Also, as I reading through your thoughtful response the question came to my mind, "How do we know for sure that we are new creations and that the old creation is dead? Is it because this is what we want to believe, even though it sure does not appear like this? I mean, if taken to the bar on it, what evidence do we really have that would stand up in the judgment of the world? Where's the proof and power that goes beyond words? Do you follow me?


Posted: Aug-26-08 at 6:03pm by theshovel
Tim, I didn't mean to make it sound as if living TO was in any sense mysterious or deep. It speaks of reality. For Christ is he whom we truly live toward. He is our life, we now live unto him.

How do we know? You are correct in saying that we really have no proof that will stand up in the judgment of the world. In the judgment of the world, we are crazy, we are insane, we are fools.

and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."
(Matthew 11:3-6)

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