The only thing harder than forgiveness is the alternative.
- Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
“Showing a gracious and forgiving love towards others is not the same as pretending others don’t sin – everybody does, and everybody needs to repent. But that is a lifelong ongoing project between them and God, and our only part is to show kindness. We are to behave at all times like people whose primary thought is, ‘I, personally, have been forgiven a great deal.’”
- Frederica Matthews-Green
Are we forgiven by God of our sins because we repent of those sins? Or does repentance and faith follow in response to a genuine encounter with the forgiveness of Jesus Christ? Capon provides some insight:
We are forgiven for one reason only: because Jesus died for our sins and rose for our justification. Forgiveness surrounds us, beats upon us all our lives; we confess, to wake ourselves up to what we already have. We are not forgiven, therefore, because we made ourselves forgivable or even because we had faith; [faith] is not a transaction, not a negotiation in order to secure forgiveness… We are forgiven solely because there is a Forgiver. Nothing new is ever done to achieve anything. It was all done, once and for all, by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world – by the one God, in the Person of the Word incarnate in Jesus. We may be unable, as the prodigal son was, to believe until we finally see it; but the God who does it, like the father who forgave the prodigal, never once had anything else in mind.- Robert Farrar Capon