“There is no true forgiveness without repentance”
“Forgiveness is a response to repentance”
I think I have those quotes about right(but they are from memory).
I agree that everyone must repent to receive the full benefit of forgiveness, but I believe there are two things wrong with those statements
1)The first statement goes beyond the word(imo). It is too broad. A more correct statement(imo), within what the scriptures teach is something like, “Forgiveness cannot be fully accessed without repentance”, or even something like, “True forgiveness can be given at anytime by anyone, but the benefits of that forgiveness may not be fully received without repentance on the part of the transgressor”
- the second gets the cart before the horse and also goes beyond the scriptures. Often repentance is the response to forgiveness. God forgave us first. Christ died first. Christ forgave on the cross.
Defining forgiveness as a response to repentance is too narrow. The definition is not complete as represented, so, it is not correct, because it obcures the truth, which is quite a bit broader. Forgiveness cannot always be defined as a response to repentance. Sometimes it is a gift of grace, totally unmerited, extended by the forgiver as an act of love and hope. This does not mean the forgiver is saying “just go do whatever you want”, anymore than “Father forgive them they dont know what they are doing”, meant, “Father it doesnt matter if they kill me, just let it all go.” It was more like, “Father dont destroy them, they are ignorant, give them time to repent”.
The idea that it must be one(let them do whatever forever and just overlook it) or the other( there is no forgiveness before repentance and there is forgiveness that does not require repentance) is just (imo) a 2 dimensional view. Quite like a stick picture, not an image of reality.
God forgives us daily for sins we dont even know we have committed.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
The fact that repentance is the eventual destination does not mean that God cannot bestow measures of forgiveness along the way to drawing us there.
“It is of Jehovah’s loving-kindness we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lam 3:22)
When Jesus says, “If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”. It is forgiveness that is drawing them." Christ crucified is the heart of the gospel. The serpent on the stick is the cure for the death of the serpents bite(“he will bruise your heel but you will crush his head”)