Forgiveness … giving and receiving

This past weekend we discussed God’s forgiveness and the possibility that our refusal to forgive might interrupt our reception of God’s forgiveness. The Sermon on the Mount, and the verses immediately following, may seem threatening. In spite of this, however, I don’t see Mt. 6:14-15 as an example of God’s capriciousness. God doesn’t take his forgiveness away from us when we are slow to forgive as much as we remove ourselves from the source of forgiveness, God himself.

Miroslav Volf, a Croatian theologian and someone who has had much to forgive in his own life, outlines his explanation of this concern below:

There are no people who are too wicked for God to forgive them and for Christ to die for them. And there are no people whom God, for some inscrutable reason, decided not to forgive. Even the so called sin agains the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said would not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31-32), is not an exception. For that is the sin of closing oneself off to the One through whom God forgives all people and all sins. God’s grace more than matches any conceivable sin. “Where sin increased,” wrote the Apostle tersely but profoundly, “grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20).

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2 comments

  1. paulhill

    I am beginning to think that Volf is one of the best theologians alive. Not that I am all that capable of determining such a thing but he sure hits the nail on the head. Over and over again.

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