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GOD’S GRACE MINISTRIES: Repentance and forgiveness

Repentance and forgiveness is about reconciling relationships. If a person desires to reconcile to God, they must turn to God in repentance and cease from sin; when a person sincerely repents God will forgive their sin and cleanse them from all unrighteousness by the blood of Yeshua (1st John 1:5-10, 2:1-6).

When a brother in Christ sins against another brother, they must go to that brother and repent asking forgiveness. At that time the offended brother must forgive the repented brother. If a brother refuses to repent or if a brother refuses to forgive, God will not forgive their sin (Matthew 6:5-15).

When a brother forgives another brother for a sin, that sin must be forever forgotten. If there is no repentance and there is no forgiveness that relationship remains broken. 

Sin is a barrier that destroys relationships, and Yeshua did not come to build barriers or to destroy relationships. Yeshua came to heal and restore that which is broken. If we do not repent, the sin barrier separating us from God and from on another will remain. When a believer repents and turns from a sin, the sin that separates us from God and from one another will be healed restoring the relationship.

Yeshua taught his disciples how to pray; within the prayer we find repentance and forgiveness. Matthew 6:12 reads, “Forgive us our sins” (repentance), “as we forgive those that have sinned against us” (forgiveness), making clear repentance is essential for a believer to be forgiven. We must also know the Lord’s Prayer is for believers and a true believer prays the Lord’s Prayer with understanding.

In this life there will always be a breakdown in relationships, often leading to a one-sided relationship. When a brother has committed a sin against another brother and does not repent or the offended brother does not forgive, the relationship has not been reconciled and will remain broken because of unrepentance or lack of forgiveness. However, if a brother forgives another brother who has not repented the hands of the brother who forgives will be clean. But, the hands of the one who refuses to repent remains dirty and must be cleansed by repentance. When there is un-forgiveness in a relationship, that relationship will not be reconciled but will continue in animosity and resentment.

Understanding repentance and forgiveness is necessary to reconcile any relationship. Let us consider instructions given by Yeshua making known the necessity of repentance and forgiveness by a brother to a brother. Then He (Yeshua) said to the disciples, “Pay attention and be on guard, if your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he commits sin against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).

We must understand not all men are brothers. Satan has his children – the children of this world brothers who are separated from God by sin, and God has his children of the kingdom of God who are brothers serving God, having been reconciled to God by the blood of Yeshua. We must learn to separate these two kingdoms. 

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother (reconciled the relationship). But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

This applies to believers only; a believer cannot bring an unbeliever before the church to resolve an issue.  

This brings us to a person who is not a believer, having not turned to God in repentance. If a believer forgives an unbeliever, (not required), the believer’s forgiveness is like a light that shines in dark places and may draw an unbeliever to God. We must also understand God does not forgive any person that has not repented, and God will not force a person to repent. Every person has freewill and it is up to each person to choose to believe, turn to God, repent and obey the words of Yeshua. 

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they (others) may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

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