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Forgiveness of God
by Chong Shipei
10/24/2010 / Christian Living
The Christian God is a forgiving God. He is so forgiving that an evil man can repent even on his death bed. It does not matter what crime the evil man might have committed during his earthly life. The evil man might kill millions of people. The evil man might have raped women and abused children. The evil man might be the most evil person on earth. Yet, if on his death bed, he repented of his sins and asked Jesus into his life to be his saviour, the Christian God will forgive him of all the evil he had done during his life. That is just how forgiving the Christian God can be.
This forgiveness of the Christian God, that is so unlimited in its depth, is a stumbling block for many people. Many people cannot accept the depth of God's forgiveness. They think that God is unjust to let a truly evil man escape his punishment simply because the evil man repents of his sins at the very last minute. These people think that the evil person ought to be punished for his sins and does not deserve to be forgiven. These views reflect not on the flaws of the Christian God but reflect on the flaws of the people who hold these views.
In Ezekiel 18:21-29, the bible talks about how a wicked man will be forgiven if he turns from his sins and decides to do righteous arts, and the Israelites are not happy with this fact. To them, God is unjust, because He forgives the wicked man. Yet, God refutes the Israelites by saying that it is not God who is unjust, but it is the Israelites that are unjust.
When a person cannot accept that God will forgive a very evil man who repents at the last minute, the person is the one who is at fault. God's forgiveness has no flaw. God is so forgiving that He will give chances to the most evil of men. The person who finds fault with the forgiveness of God is the one at fault. He or she reveals his or her lack of forgiveness. Perfect forgiveness means being able to accept and forgive even the most evil of men. God is perfectly forgiving, and hence He is able to forgive a repenting evil man. People who criticise God for His perfect forgiveness only reflect their own imperfect forgiveness. Unlike God, such people have a limit to their forgiveness. They are able only to forgive minor sinners, they are not able to forgive major sinners. This flaw in forgiveness from such people is in reality a sin. Therefore, it is no wonder that God questions the justness of such people in Ezekiel 18:21-29.
Knowing that it is a fault to not forgive someone, we as Christians ought to be able to forgive and love the most evil of all men. Knowing that God's forgiveness is extended to everyone, including even the most evil of men, we as Christians need to change the way in which we perceive sinners. When we see an evil person, we ought to pray for his or her salvation instead of his or her destruction. Sadly, that is not what we are doing today. When we see a Muslim terrorist, we want the terrorist to be brought to justice. We desire the terrorist to die. We yearn for the death of a wicked person more than the salvation of such a person. In this manner, our hearts are not forgiving. We do not see sinners with the eyes of God. We need to repent of our unforgiving hearts and start to see sinners in a forgiving light.
We need to be like Stephen in Acts 7:60, who pray for God not to hold the people who stoned him guilty. Stephen forgave the evil men who stoned him to death. He had a heart of forgiveness for evil people. This heart of forgiveness in Stephen probably led to the conversion of the evil Saul, who would later become the famous Paul.
Saul was an evil man. He persecuted the Christians and he approved the death of Stephen. Yet, this same evil man was forgiven by God, and he repented and became an apostle of great faith. It was this evil man Saul, who later became Paul that God used to bring the gospels to the gentiles, namely us.
Think how great it will be if all the evil men like the dictator leader of North Korea, Osama Bin Laden and all terrorist repented and become like Paul. This will bring more glories, honours and praises to God than their deaths. Therefore, as Christians, we ought to pray for the salvations of all men, including very evil, very undeserving men.
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