Biblically, forgiveness leads to reconciliation with God. Would this be true for human-to-human?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Speaker 1

This question is from Nova. And Nova is asking biblically forgiveness always accomplishes its purpose of reconciling sinners to God? So wouldn’t this also be true of human to human forgiveness?

Speaker 2

All right, thank you for asking this question, Nova, and this is a really good one. I think it’s really important to understand what is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? Are they one and the same? And a lot of people equate them to being the same. And really we need to think first of sin as this departure from God where we had this relationship with Him, and then it’s broken that relationship. It’s driving a wedge between us and God. And then the question is, who’s going to make the first step to bring us back together into a relationship, a harmonious relationship? And the answer, of course, is God. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and we love Him because he first loved us. So God is always the one who’s trying to work to bring us back to Him. And so one of the steps in that is the forgiveness, where God is going to say, yes, I will forgive you, and I’m not going to hold it against you. And then God also then takes steps to reconcile us. But forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. That’s an important takeaway here. Let’s take a look, for example, at Proverbs 16 six.

Speaker 2

Proverbs 16 six. And it says, in mercy and truth, atonement is provided for iniquity and by the fear of the Lord, one departs from evil. And I just think it’s an interesting verse here that the word there atonement, it can mean at onement. It was the word created by I’m blocking on its name. Now, one of the great reformers who translated one of the initial no, the reformers who created one of the first English versions of the Bible that the King James version was actually based off of, I think it was Wesley, John Wesley. And he’s like, what’s this word that could convey of bringing two people together who were divided and reconciled them? And he came up with that word at one mint. And so it’s in mercy and truth that there’s going to be at 1 minute tyndale. Oh, is it tyndale? That may have been it. Well, Tyndale and Wesley both had maybe it’s okay. The Geneva Bible, I think it was. Sorry. No, I appreciate it. We want to make sure we get the facts right. So here we have mercy and truth, and mercy is a big part of that.

Speaker 2

But then there’s another part of this process. And Proverbs 16 six in nave actually says, through love and faithfulness, sin is atoned for. And we’ll come to that. Let’s look at now Romans five, starting at verse eight. This is one of my favorite verses when it comes to reconciliation. It reads, but God demonstrates his own love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ died for us much more than having now been justified by His Body. We shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Him whom we have received the reconciliation. It’s interesting in here, like Paul isn’t even using the word forgiveness once he’s focused on the reconciliation and talk about how somehow Christ’s death on the cross achieved it. How did it do that? Let’s now look at two Corinthians five, starting verse 17 and it reads therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

Speaker 2

Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. So in a sense that’s kind of where forgiveness comes in. God said, I’m not going to hold your sins against you and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors of Christ as through God were pleading through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf be reconciled to God. So he’s pleading, please be reconciled to God. It’s not guaranteed that there is this reconciliation for he made Him who knows no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. And I want to stress this part though why must there be so much of a need for reconciliation, have this ministry of reconciliation and this imploring to be reconciled because it isn’t guaranteed we still have the ability to turn our back on God, even if God has forgiven us. God has extended his hand and say, hey, I don’t hold anything against you, please come back to me.

Speaker 2

We can still turn our back on Him and reject Him. And so this is important, I think, distinction to understand, yes, God can forgive. Yes, God is willing to do all he can to restore the relationship with us, but we still, on our part, have to be reconciled to Him. I mean, do you think the people who crucified Christ, the Caiaphas and all these people all along the way who were trying to kill him and never once ever repented of it and to their death felt like they did the right thing and would never ever accept God’s forgiveness? How is there any reconciliation there? Just like Satan too. God did what he could, satan has turned his back on God. There’s no reconciliation and there’s just a large group of people, sadly, that reject God’s offer of the relationship and God has done everything he can. And so how does this apply for us too? It doesn’t mean that we don’t try to forgive people. We’ve talked before how forgiveness is important, part of healing for ourselves. And really refusing to forgive somebody in our heart is like taking a poison and hoping they die.

Speaker 2

So it’s good to forgive. It’s good to move on, to be at peace, to be willing to value the relationship and hope that it could be restored. But we can only go so far into that. So thank you again, Nova, for asking, and I hope this is helpful to.

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