For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

If there is anything that is central to Christian faith and practice,
it is the forgiveness of sins.  To have peace with God is the whole of
our religion in brief.  The sum of our justification is found in the
remission of sin and the propitiation of the wrath of God.  Peace with
God is expressed through being at peace with our neighbor.  We are in
this life, as it were, Ambassadors in God’s programme to bring peace
to the world through the forgiveness of sins.  It would seem that the
greater portion of being a Christian community is found in being a
forgiving and loving people; a place where people can find rest for
their souls.  Still, there are many things to spirit out in regard to
the hows and whens and conditions or lack thereof, and many scriptures
the exposition of which draw us into the depth and richness not only
of the forgiveness of those that sin against us, but our own
forgiveness by God our Father. CN

Christopher Neiswonger and Lindsay Brooks


(In regard to whether or not we have the duty to forgive sins)

“But the words of Luke give rise to another question; for Christ does
not order us to grant forgiveness, till the offender turn to us and
give evidence of repentance.1  I reply, there are two ways in which
offenses are forgiven. If a man shall do me an injury, and I, laying
aside the desire of revenge, do not cease to love him, but even repay
kindness in place of injury, though I entertain an unfavorable opinion
of him, as he deserves, still I am said to forgive him. For when God
commands us to wish well to our enemies, He does not therefore demand
that we approve in them what He condemns, but only desires that our
minds shall be purified from all hatred. In this kind of pardon, so
far are we from having any right to wait till he who has offended
shall return of his own accord to be reconciled to us, that we ought
to love those who deliberately provoke us, who spurn reconciliation,
and add to the load of former offenses. A second kind of forgiving is,
when we receive a brother into favor, so as to think favorably
respecting him, and to be convinced that the remembrance of his
offense is blotted out in the sight of God. And this is what I have
formerly remarked, that in this passage Christ does not speak only of
injuries which have been done to us, but of every kind of offenses;
for he desires that, by our compassion, we shall raise up those who
have fallen.”  John Calvin- from the commentary on The Gospel of
Matthew- Chapter 18

1. In the French version he adds-“for it appears in this way that he
commands his followers to shut their heart against the obstinate, and
to refuse them pardon.”

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neiswonger@gmail.com

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