The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Monster God


Forgiveness is a response to repentance (having a change of heart and mind). Without repentance there is no forgiveness.
Oh, if someone has offended us deeply or hurt us, we can let go of any ill feelings we may have, but that is not forgiveness. If we truly forgive a person, we have restored our relationship with him, and it is just as if he had never sinned against us. Jesus said:

Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. (Luke 17:3,4)

There is no true forgiveness without repentance. Sure we can “let someone off the hook” without their repenting. But that is not true forgiveness.

Reciprocal treatment for wrongdoing—“an eye for an eye”, “Make him pay”,“Get even”, “Give him the same back” is not forgiveness; it is vengeance, the very opposite to forgiveness.


All I can say is there are two very important illustrations of forgiveness without apparent repentance. You are right in the sense that all will ultimately bow to Christ. And thus repentance, a change of heart takes place. But as for us, we look at Christ on the cross. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” And Stephens words as He was being stoned. I contend that that is exactly what we are to do… Forgive without proof of repentance. This was Jesus’ whole thought when he admonished us to pray for our enemies and love them. Let God do the work of wrath (pruning) let us submit to his sovereignty.


I totally disagree with the concept of forgiveness without repentance. A relationship cannot be restored with an unrepentant person. It just cannot be done. Let’s look at the examples you gave:

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

  1. Yes, Jesus asked the Father to forgive his killers. It does not say that HE forgave his killers. Indeed, the Father did forgive them when they repented. Those very killers were present on that special day of Pentecost when the disciples of Christ were filled with the Spirit. Peter had a long talk with them about the death and resurrection of Christ. He began this talk with the following words recorded in Acts 2:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (verses 22,23)

Peter concluded his talk with these words:
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Verse 36)

And they took responsibility for killing the Messiah, for here is their response:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”(Verse 37)

Peter then indicated the necessity of repentance and baptism, and its consequent forgiveness.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Verse 38)

Thus after they repented, God forgave them, just as Jesus asked Him to do.

Stephen’s words as He was being stoned
Let’s examine those words:
2. And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7:60)

Did Stephen forgive those who stoned him? It doesn’t say that he did. It says that he asked the Lord not to hold their sin against them.
When someone has done us wrong, we may have no desire to get even or see that they are punished. But that is not forgiveness. True forgiveness implies a restoration of relationship between the one who has done wrong and the one who was wronged by him.


Reciprocal treatment for wrongdoing can be called vengeance or law of reciprocity or whatever we like to call it, but it can’t be called a misconscrued human construct. Whether we like it or not, it’s Godly. An eye for an eye, hand for hand, foot for foot, life for life is God checking our own human vegeance to match His.

1 Cor 3:17
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.
Rev 11:18
the time for the dead to be judged,…and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.
James 3:6
The tongue is set among our members, … setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
James 2:13
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.
Rev 16:6
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!
Mark 8:38
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Jude 6
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day
Rev 22:18
if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book

Tit-for-tat is not an evil human construct. It’s woven into the fabric of God’s final judgement. Over the top retaliation is particulary human. Yes,we are taught to forgive, living a life marked by forgiveness is how we conduct ourselves as subjects of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ message was the the Kingdom was at hand. He forgave, healed and raised. No more mourning, crying or pain after He left a place. Someday that Kingdom will be as the water cover the sea. Complete.

But for now we are still in a fallen world. That’s why we have courts of law as opposed to forgivness centres. God tells us to forgive as much as depends on us. But also to check evil until His return.

Ezekiel 44:24 - - In a dispute, they shall act as judges, and they shall judge it according to my judgments


Pretty thin Paidion, I think we’ll have to disagree about this one. And we haven’t even got to the woman caught in adultery! :smiley:


I think it all rides on what we mean by the word “forgive”?


You are correct! :smiley:


The following is from George MacDonald’s novel Donal Grant

Lady Arctura to her nephew, unaware that Donal Grant his teacher was in the room:


Hi Paidion,
Almost a year. I appreciate that.

You posted…

You know that our debate is about forgiveness and repentance. It will be fun.

I look forward to our continuing dialog.

BTW, I use your posts in many of my bible studies(in a very positive way). You are reaching folks. We may not agree on some things but your passion is appreciated.

Thanks Don