Posted by: biblestudyseattle | October 24, 2016

Repentance before Forgiveness

In Christian circles it is common to ‘forgive’ someone their sins in absentia, or without repentance.  “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

Jesus said this as they were crucifying him!  We must note that he says they knew not what they were doing.  This is important.  Jesus would not say that if he thought they knew what they were doing.  He also committed judgment to YHWH.  And yet the day will come, when they do understand what they did:

 “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.  In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”  Zecheriah 12:9-11

The Me here probably represents YHWH, and the Him represents Jesus.  It’s important to note that the actual Jews that killed Jesus are resurrected and present in this scene.  Here they will realize the whole history and repent truly.  And YHWH will forgive them.  This is beautifully illustrated in the story of Joseph.  After the eleven brothers dealt treacherously with Joseph, Joseph deals harshly with the eleven in their distress.  He refuses to comfort or forgive them until they repent:  “When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there, and they fell to the ground before him.  Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?”  So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose [c]possession the cup has been found.”  Genesis 44:14-16

After this true repentance comes:  “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.  He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”  Genesis 45:1-5

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