Repentance and Forgiveness

Last night Laura commented on how amazingly forgiving Heavenly Father is toward His children. I’ve been thinking about that ever since then. It is true that He is incredibly forgiving (because He loves His children so much) and yet He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Hence if we are to emulate Him in our actions we must learn how to love sinners while abhoring sin.

As I was thinking about this I realized that one of the reasons that He can forgive so freely and love so unconditionally (to forgive all but the single sin which can only be committed with the full knowledge and unassisted choice of the sinner) is that due to the nature of Eternal law His forgiveness does the sinner absolutely no good unless they choose to repent. Regardless of how merciful He is, the sinner cannot receive any glory that is governed by a law which they do not choose to obey.

Those who focus on the need for grace can rightly point out that without forgiveness from our Savior our repentence would be worthless because even with repentance “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) While that doctrine is accurate it has no saving value because of how infinite our Father’s love is.

If we recognize that He already and unconditionally loves us enough to forgive anything except a conscious and fully informed rejection of Him and all that He offers us, we should find motivation in that knowledge to desire to repent. If we desire to repent we find, with that combination of faith and desire, the strength necessary to repent in order to receive the healing benefits of the atonement of Christ and the infinite love of our Father in Heaven.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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2 Responses to Repentance and Forgiveness

  1. It took me over 40 years to understand this fundamentally important concept that God is “amazingly forgiving”. He can’t look on sin with any degree of allowance, because perfection and the entitlements that come with it are based on eternal law. If God DID look on sin with any allowance, he’d cease to be God. But because of the atonement of His Son, he can forgive us just about as often as we repent (with very few exceptions, such as denying the Holy Ghost, which most of us don’t know enough about to be capable of doing.)

    It has been very liberating that I finally understand this concept of grace. Now I don’t have to be so hard on myself when I fall short, and I can also be much more forgiving of others.

    • David says:

      I’ve had the same experience. This understanding makes me want to keep improving but it also makes it easier to suspend judgement when I look at others.

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