Religion Magazine

What a Deeper Reading of the Bible Taught Me

By Albert Wagner @albertwagner4
  • It is something people often wonder about the nature of Jesus in Christianity.
  • Some people might go to Sunday Mass because of it.
  • Some other people live their lives frivolously because of it.

A person can do something they know is wrong and just say or think something like, "It is okay.  Jesus will forgive me."
Jesus and forgiveness are not in question.  The Bible tells us that Jesus is merciful to sinners, even to the point of dying for them. For example, the following quote is in the New Testament:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.                                                                                      - 1 John1:9
 Forgiveness begs a different question, though.  That question is,
Is there a limit to God's forgiveness?
This post looks at God's forgiveness and whether it is limitless. 
First we can look at the fact that forgiveness between humans is not the same things as forgiveness from God.  Some people seem to talk about them as if they were the same thing.  The focus here is on forgiveness from God.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.                                                                                        - Hebrews 8:12
The God That Is Full Of Forgiveness
Based on this verse it sounds like God will forgive you when you do something wrong, period.  But, IS it a period?
We could go all the way back and ask what the Bible is.  People answer the question differently.  If the Bible was written by God to everyone, then it applies to everyone, right?  WAIT, one moment.
Let us examine some information first, based on the author's opinion.
The Bible is God speaking to his Creation.  It describes the nature of God and is intended to guide his Creation to salvation.  God intended EVERYONE to be saved and live in paradise (even on earth).  His mercy and forgiveness are infinite, but you must accept it.
It is presumed by some modern people that the Old Testament was written to the nation of Israel, which was God's chosen group of people.  However, in the New Testament Jesus speaks of his spreading his Word to the "ends of the earth."  (Acts Of The Apostles 1:8).  This sounds like it is intended for anyone to read.
This post asks the question if God's forgiveness extends to those who do not believe. 
In the Old Testament there seems to be harsh punishments for those who are disobedient to God's will.  A person can find common punishments from stoning to death to the death penalty. It can sound like God is not a forgiving God.
Is God's forgiveness limitless?
When the Messiah came in the flesh in the New Testament there arose a new paradigm.
The paradigm was to believe and to repent.  Repentance was now a prerequisite for belief. As long as a person repented he/she could be forgiven of sin by God.   God's mercy and forgiveness extended to all who believed and repented. 
What about those who did not repent?
There are people who hear that God forgives sin in Christianity and think they can go on sinning indefinitely.  They think God will always forgive them because that is what it sounds like.
Is There A Limit To God's Forgiveness?
It is true that God intends his Creation to be saved.  Is it really possible that his forgiveness is limitless?
A Christmas gift is an illustration of this.  You can give gifts to people, but to fulfill what you set to do requires that they accept the gift.  If you give a gift to someone and they do not accept it was the gift given?  It is similar to God's mercy.  
The purpose of giving humans free will was so God did not force his will on anyone.
So, in the author's opinion, God's forgiveness is limitless and it extends to everyone.  It is up to YOU to accept or reject it.
The head of the global Catholic Church, Pope Francis, was even quoted as saying "God's mercy has no limits."
So, as you sit in your Church pew in Sunday a good thing to remember about God's forgiveness is there is something to do on your end.
Will God's mercy extend to YOU?
 Faith AND repentance come before forgiveness on your part.
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