How do you reconcile
2 Corinthians 5:19 (New International Version)
19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
with the idea that Jesus said to forgive that your Father may forgive you (otherwise you will not be forgiven)? How can He not hold their sins against mankind and yet not forgive those who do not forgive or those that blasphemy the Holy Spirit (even though it's just for the age)? How is that God being at peace with mankind?
This has been bothering me and any insight would be appreciated. Thanks guys!
Well the phrase "hold against" is a good place to start. Why do we think of God's judgments on people to be a manifestation of "holding against" rather than the biggest favor he could do for us?
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
" My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
I see the chastening of the Lord to be one of the most loving things he can do and not as an expression of him "holding sin AGAINST us." God held our sins against us by the law BECAUSE the law did not bring cleansing unto righteousness. That is so important to understand. The law actually held us in bondage TO sin and then continued to attack our conscience. It was a dire situation. The law counted our sins against us, which God is no longer doing. Rather now, His judgments are FOR us not against us. The cross is the judgment of the world which reveals that the judgment of the world is to put to death the flesh within us as we see Christ's flesh was put to death. That is why Peter said "For the time is come for judgment to begin with the house of God."
What I wish people would understand is that God's mercy is expressed THROUGH chastening because it delivers us from sin. As it says in another part of Hebrews, God's chastening leads to the peaceable fruit of righteousness. How merciful is that? VERY! God does not express mercy by allowing us to sit and stew in our sin all the while considering us "positionally" righteous. He would be leaving us as slaves and that is NOT merciful at all.
Think about this: when it came time for God to deliver the Jews from Egypt, did actually deliver them, or did he say "you are all positionally delivered" then leave it at that?
Alrighty, this is where I'm getting caught up.
1 Cor. 13 says:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Jesus said that our Father will not forgive us unless we ALSO forgive those who trespass against us.* He also said that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in the age and the age at hand. Is this not COUNTING wrongs? Is this something different? Is not forgiving something other than counting wrongs?
* When Jesus speaks about the Father not forgiving us if we do not forgive, he gives this parable.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.f
23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talentsg was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.h He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
So, the Master forgives FIRST. But then, an unmerciful servant doesn't forgive even though he's already been forgiven. So THEN the Master makes the unmerciful servant be "tortured" UNTIL he pays back all that he owed. The reason I mention this is I've noticed: man CAN pay for his debt, that is, be punished for ALL that he owes. But it should be recognized, I think, that this does not make man free from his sinful nature. We still need Jesus for that. So, is being forgiven just an extra benefit of the cross (as long as we forgive), and then Christ mainly died to set us free from our sinful nature?
I just can't figure out how God can make peace with man, and yet, not forgive some of them (at least, at the moment). How is that not counting wrongs? It sounds like a straight contradiction to me.