Forgiveness and Repentance are difficult subjects to blog about. I hope I did not confuse you! My primary goal was to link the two concepts for you because most people do not understand the gift of repentance!
The Gospel is balanced – man needs repentance which is a gift of God (Rom. 2:4) and forgiveness in Christ. God is just and must punish sins. He did so upon Jesus on the cross as His blood was shed for our sins. What a blessing to repent and not keep living like you were living – enslaved to sin! What a blessing to be forgiven!
A wise man once taught me that repentance and forgiveness are like 2 doors linking conjoining rooms in a hotel. Both doors must be opened for each person to enter into the other’s hotel room. Intimate fellowship, reconciliation, and healing best occurs when BOTH the repentance door and the forgiveness door are opened. The goal is relationship and reconciliation.
I see repentance as a LOVING and GRACIOUS part of the Gospel just as I see forgiveness. The people of God have a role to play in helping someone come to repentance (Matt. 18:15-20). God uses His people, the church, to help those who are in need of repentance.
I usually do NOT have to convince people that forgiveness is good but often I DO have to convince them that repentance is good. God does the convincing in His Word and by the Holy Spirit. For example, in Matthew 4, Jesus’ first message was REPENTANCE (not unconditional forgiveness!) as that is our greatest need – a change of mind leading to a change of actions (definition of repentance).
Just think what a better world this would be IF people began repenting more!
As far as this blog goes, again it is so difficult to explain repentance and forgiveness. What deep concepts that none of us will ever fully understand while on this earth!
If I have confused you, then I ask for your forgiveness and am repenting by NOT blogging on this topic anymore! I may have to re-visit it in future blogs from time to time but I plan not to do another series on it.
Overall, I hope you will search the Scriptures on this topic like a Berean in Acts 17:11. Don’t turn to psychology to understand the concept of repentance and forgiveness because that field knows very little about the subject (they call an “apology” forgiveness but it is not!). Turn to God’s Word for understanding and ask the Holy Spirit to give you answers. God is faithful and will teach OPEN, LISTENING, and WILLING hearers of Him!
-Mark (mindful of my need for the Gospel – God’s great gifts of repentance and forgiveness for my sins!)