- Forgiveness is absolutely necessary to get to heaven.
IOW: we need God’s forgiveness (to get to heaven) which requires us practicing forgiveness.
(Mat 6:12-15, 18:21-35)
- Forgiveness means restoring the relationship (to one peace) w/the guilty when justice (according to God’s Law) has been served (i.e. when the debt of sin has been paid).
(Mat 6:12-15 – “debt” = our sin; “deliver us from evil” = sin’s curse/God’s wrath; Rom 5:1; Col 1:20-22; Eph 2:11-17; Gal 6:1-10; 2Co 2:5-8; Isa 55:7; Num 14:19-24; Mat 18:21-35).
- Forgiveness therefore always requires repentance (i.e. serving justice).
(Col 3:12-13; 2Chr 7:14; Luk 13:3, 5; 1Jo 1:9; Mat 18:21-35; Luk 17:1-10)
Hence the reason we don’t forgive the apostate and separate from false Christians (1Co 5:11; 2Jo 1:9-11)
- Forgiveness restores the relationship (to one of peace) but not always the rights, position or privileges once associated with that relationship.
Such things can require other things/criteria (e.g. marriage = trust; eldership = being above reproach) that no longer make the recovery of those things possible in the near future or ever (e.g. pastor guilt of infidelity – Pro 6:32-33; 1Ti 3:2).
- Forgiveness is pardon (the removal of your debt owed to justice) not expungement (the removal of your moral record) which means faithfulness is also required to get to heaven.
Hence the reason there is still a judgment according to deeds awaiting God’s people—and the Apostle Paul (though forgiven) lived striving to be faithful –b/c he knew that if his record (after coming to Christ) was not characterized by faithfulness (but instead sin and repentance) then he would still be condemned as guilty of another crime (apostasy/unrepentance). IOW: He knew our justification/pardon/forgiveness does not remove what we did from our record. It is not expungement (1Co 9:24-27 w/2Co 5:9-10; Col 1:20-23; Deu 29:18-20; “pardon” – Isa 55:7; Num 14:19).
- Forgiveness means seeking what justice requires never what I desire.
What I desire = Wanting more/less that what justice (God’s law/justice) requires (e.g. wanting a mercy that negates justice; wanting personal retaliation versus pursuing justice thru the system established by the governing authorities – Rom 12:19-13:4; deciding to be angry after justice has been served according to God’s law).