Forgiving Each Other

Q. My question is on two verses about Forgiveness. Luke 6:37 “Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” And Mathew 6:12 says “And Forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors”. Does this mean God is dependent on our forgiveness to forgive us? Or when you don’t forgive and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and wash your sins away you will not be forgiven? Or which sin(s) that I commit will not be forgiven by God when I don’t forgive others. Please help me here.

A. There are two kinds of forgiveness described in the New Testament. The first is the forgiveness that brings us eternal life. We only have to ask for that once, and when we do nothing can ever reverse it (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-22).

But in Matt. 18:21-35 Jesus taught on the need for believers to forgive each other, and told a parable to illustrate the fact that our failure to do so is a sin that can cause the suspension of our fellowship with God and even bring discipline upon us. This is the forgiveness spoken of in Luke 6:37 and Matt 6:12. God will not forgive us our sin of unforgiveness until we forgive our brother.

We’ll still be saved, but during the time of our unforgiveness, our relationship with God will be strained. We may miss out on blessings or even face discipline until we forgive our brother. Once we do, we’ll be forgiven and our intimacy with God will be restored. God’s position is that He’s forgiven us for everything even though we didn’t deserve it, and in gratitude we should forgive each other as well.

Whether we feel like it or not, or whether they deserve it or not, or whether they accept it or not is immaterial. We do this for the Lord out of gratitude for all He has done for us.

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