Friday, September 01, 2006

Doctrinal Simplicity

One thing that I have noticed in some religions (hands up in the one I know), and also in the non religious world, is the desire to be forgiven, yet an unwillingness to forgive. Or even worse I think, our forgiveness never goes far enough, when was the last time we fought hard to forgive someone to the point where the offense became lost. So here you are, from the pen of Robert Farrar Capon, and his book 'Parables of Grace' is this quote...

When God pardons, he does not say he understands our weakness or makes allowance for our errors; rather he disposes of, he finishes with, the whole of our dead life and raises us up with a new one. He does not so much deal with our derelictions as he does drop them down the black hole of Jesus' death. He forgets our sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers our iniquities no more in the oblivion of Jesus' expiration. He finds us, in short, in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement; and in the power of Jesus' resurrection, he puts us on his shoulders rejoicing and brings us home.


Meg said...

Can one who has not received the quickening of the Holy Spirit and therefore, the forgiveness that flows from salvation (i.e., the grace of God) really forgive? Or really be forgiven? Am I mistaken in believing that's what R. F. Capon is talking about here?

How can one who does not know the Source of all true forgiveness generate in himself a willingness to forgive? Or to accept forgiveness?

Dave said...

I think people without the Spirit can truly forgive, Joseph is a good example, and it seems that Cain was truly forgiven.
Capon is actually highlighting just how total and complete the forgiveness of God really is.
There are those, who though not 'christians', act and live in a way that is full of Kingdom charecteristics, whilst there are those, who even they are 'christians', act and live in a way that is full of non Kingdom charecteristics.

dinsy said...

Dave, you talk about "the desire to be forgiven, yet an unwillingness to forgive". I think most people don't want to be forgiven, they would rather be justified or excused.

As kids accused of wrongdoing, we have a string of "reasons" (really excuses) why we did it, and we want to hear "well you shouldn't have done it, don't do it again, but I understand why you did" and we think we have been forgiven. We have peace over it, because we have got what we wanted, but it is not forgiveness.

As adults, we get some level of social awareness and we try to make allowances. We say we can forgive the bits covered by those allowances, but if there anything leftover, we say that bit is "unforgivable". It's not unforgiveable, it's inexcusable, and that is why we need to forgive it. That's why "our forgiveness never goes far enough".

When we apply this to ourselves seeking forgiveness, it is even harder because we have to admit that we have done something inexcusable. And we are required to bring this into the light and stand without excuse.

Dave said...

I think most people don't want to be forgiven, they would rather be justified or excused.

I think you are correct, and maybe the reason for this is that when we are forgiven, we are then bound to respond to others the same way, with unconditional forgiveness...better to just be excused.


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