Since God withholds forgiveness, can we?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The Bible speaks of two kinds of forgiveness-human forgiveness, that of people extending forgiveness toward others, and divine forgiveness, God's forgiving human beings. Is there a difference? The ...

July 01 2013 9 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Dana pappas
This question finds it summation in in Matt 6: 9-15. After providing us the Lord's prayer which contains "forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us", The Christ is then recorded responding to some inquiry, we do not know the question or reason, but the Bible testifies this "Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours, but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either".

This verse directly states that in order to receive God's merciful grace unto salvation, to be forgiven, one must also truly forgive others debts/trespass done to him.

This is not a simple dismissal of some one's transgression done to us, but rather a love of God agape forgiving of a loss inflicted. This cannot be simple, and may take substantial work in resolve to accomplish. 

Someone who has lost a loved one due to another's foolish negligence, deliberate harm done to someone in felonious crime, indiscriminately carried out, terrorism, financial harm, etc..

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ rest upon us all, be our deliver and defender, heal our wounds, and secure our souls, Amen.

November 19 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
The question may stem from the belief that God is withholding forgiveness of sin to us today, unless we merit His forgiveness by doing something (like repenting, confessing, asking for forgiveness, good works, etc...). That would make God's forgiveness conditional upon "that of ourselves" (Eph 2:9). There is a MAJOR flaw with this doctrinal teaching that needs addressing, as salvation is the free gift that depends only on our belief in that of Jesus Christ and what His crucifixion means for us:


Col 3:13
"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."

God does not require anything from a sinner for forgiveness to occur. He does not need repentance, confession, or anything else before He will forgive anyone of their sins. He FORGAVE (past tense) the world of sin when God was in Christ on the cross, no longer imputing the world's trespasses (2 Cor 5:19). 

Forgiveness occurred at the cross and through Christ's blood whether we believe that it did or not. What we must do for salvation is believe that it did (Eph 1:12-13, Eph 2:8, Rom 3:25-28, 1 Cor 15:1-4).

The question of whether we will be forgiven if we withhold our forgiveness of others is then moot. Can we withhold forgiveness? Yes. 

Should we withhold forgiveness? Of course, no. The act of God forgiving the world was completed upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4), therefore we too should forgive today as God forgave us then.

It is important that we work for God after salvation, as well as begin to remove sin from our lives during our walk in faith. We do not do these things as a means of obtaining or maintaining salvation, but rather because of our salvation that occurred at the moment of our belief (Eph 1:12-13). It is by God's grace and out of His love for us that He offers the free unmerited gift of salvation, made possible by the forgiveness of sin that was displayed to the world through Jesus Christ on His cross.

Rom 5:8
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

February 20 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
Colossians 2:13 He has forgiven us ALL trespasses. First Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the POWER of God. 

First Corinthians 1:21. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew no God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that BELIEVE.

First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. 

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVETH, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, physical death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord 

John 3:18 Believers can no longer be condemned, but unbelievers are condemned already because they have not believed on the name of the Son Of God. 

First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. 

John 3:16 For God so love us sinners, that HE gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in Him, should not perish, but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. Jesus said it we believe it, and that settles it 

You can not boast in a free GIFT that we did nothing for. Romans 3:26-28

October 11 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini David James
How does forgiving others line up with Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:
"15 If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

"16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.

"17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector."

February 19 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Paula Fether Lifelong student of the scriptures
We should also remember Luke 17:3, where Jesus puts conditions on forgiveness: If someone sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them. Our sin after salvation certainly won't take it away, since as explained already salvation is a gift with no strings attached. 

Yet the very act of salvation is an act of both faith and humility, a recognition that we do indeed need God's forgiveness. Someone who comes to Jesus with only the attitude that he will get them out of hell doesn't understand saving faith. Salvation is from a desire to reconcile with God (2 Cor. 5:20), and one doesn't reconcile without first seeing that they were estranged.

We certainly don't need, as some claim, to list and renounce every single sin before we receive forgiveness, but our attitude is key. The same applies to our own acts of forgiveness. If we forgive without waiting for the sinner to repent, we enable more sin and punish the victim twice, sometimes even denouncing them if they don't immediately forgive.

Of course, we should never harbor resentment against someone, but we can't ignore Luke 17:3. And if the sin involved some type of abuse, forgiveness doesn't mean we must be in their presence or trust them, "for God desires that we live in peace" (1 Cor. 7:15).

February 20 2024 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

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