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What does the Bible say about forgiveness? How does forgiveness really work?

Why do we "ask" for forgiveness when it is a gift?

Postby BC Omar » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:35 pm

I often see mentionings of people "asking" for forgiveness or telling others that they need to "ask" for forgiveness. If something is given to us as a gift, we have no need to ask for it. We can only either accept or deny a gift.

To further the point, works do not get us to heaven. Asking for forgiveness when you've done wrong is technically a work, and that has no effect on salvation.

Am I just interpreting this incorrectly?
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Re: Why do we "ask" for forgiveness when it is a gift?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:42 pm

I'm not aware of anywhere in the Bible where it says forgiveness is a gift. Salvation is a gift, but it still must be appropriated by faith. If someone hands you a gift and you don't take it, even though it was a gift, it doesn't come into your possession.

My reading of the Bible, however, shows that 99% of the time forgiveness is spoken of as conditional: it is given only after repentance. There are many many times that the Bible speaks of repenting and confession to be forgiven, but only a small handful where that is not mentioned (and therefore people assume it's a free gift). But if we go with what we read in most places in the Bible, forgiveness is granted once there is repentance (repentance = turning around in rejection of a former attitude/action to chart a new course). That's why we have to ask for it: The "I'm sorry" makes the "you're forgiven" possible.

> To further the point, works do not get us to heaven. Asking for forgiveness when you've done wrong is technically a work, and that has no effect on salvation.

I'm not sure I agree that in the teaching of the Bible asking for forgiveness is considered a work. "Works" in the Bible are "the works of the law," "the works of the flesh," and things like that. A mental or spiritual repentance is never considered a work, even technically. Therefore it does have effect on salvation. It truly matters that one is repentant if one desires forgiveness.
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Re: Why do we "ask" for forgiveness when it is a gift?

Postby BC Omar » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:24 am

Thanks for the clarification on the Bible's teaching of this topic. Very clear.

My second point was under the assumption that asking for forgiveness was the way to receive it. If asking for forgiveness were the way to be forgiven, then doing so would technically be a work of the law - because of it being the way to be forgiven. Basically, in order to be forgiven, you must ask for it. That would be considered a law.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:24 am.
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