Thursday, August 03, 2006


This is by no means original, but was prompted by the near-heresy of one of the speakers at BB Camp last week. The statement is that God does not forgive sins. When it was said, there was a bit of a sharp intake of breath and puzzled looks all around. Our table had almost convened an Ecumenical Council to pass a motion of heresy and condemn the speaker to die by being burnt at the stake...

But before Stewart could be burnt, he went on to explain that what he meant was that sins are always punished - either carried by the sinner, or by the substitute. He further elaborated that God doesn't just wipe the slate clean for everyone, but only the sins of the redeemed are forgiven - removed.

So that has me thinking... what is the nature of our forgiveness? Why doesn't God just forgive everyone if Jesus has borne the sins of the world?How does God's forgiveness impact on our forgiveness of others? What about justice? What about corporate sin and forgiveness - for example in the political sphere?

I'm only started thinking about all this (and not for the first time), so a few more posts will probably follow on this whole topic. But for now, we'll finish with the verses that Stewart talked about, and which has launched this odyssey:

'This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.' (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

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