Wednesday, October 6, 2010
A Response Rather Than Condition
When I talk to most people they would agree that the Grace and forgiveness of God is unconditional. And then I find out that they apparently do not know what unconditional means.
Unconditional means there is NO conditions. None. That means if you say that God forgives you if/when you _______________ then it is no longer unconditional.
But of course repentance is required in order to be forgiven…. right?
Well it seems that in the Biblical examples where people are forgiven for their sins, at the very least repentance come after the forgiving.
The woman caught in adultery in John 8 did not repent before Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The man being lowered through the roof in Mark 2 didn’t repent, in fact, it says that Jesus saw the faith of his friends and said… “Your sins are forgiven.”
(Also notice that these events in which sin is forgiven all took place before the cross. Just saying.)
There are many more examples but one of my favorites is found in Luke 15 and is called the Parable of the Lost Son. The son “wanders from home” and soon finds himself broke and eating with the pigs. (rock bottom) The text says he “comes to his senses” and realizes that he could at least be a servant in his fathers house and have a better life than he is living.
Contrary to what some think… the son didn’t repent… he simply realized that he could be living better than this if he would just return home. However, we know that the Father (God figure), when he saw his son from a distance ran to him and, before the son could even speak, completely restores the son back into the family. The “older brother” of course is mad because, yep… you guessed it… IT’S NOT FAIR!
The story abruptly ends but we can imagine the son breaking down after the party and truly repenting, not in order to receive forgiveness and restoration but in response to the forgiveness and restoration he already had.