home > eng > studies > theology > ethics > theologia > forgiveness-and-retribution.php

Analysis of Christian Forgiveness and Retribution

Since there is One God and One Lord and One Spirit, there should only be one sacred interpretation. Right? But people are divided about the most silly squabbles. And as to the One Truth supposedly, it is not that simple. There are different sides to the truth, just like there are various facets to a diamond or ruby. The same holds for the concepts of forgiveness and retribution. In the Old Testament there are the concepts of 'grace and truth'. If you overemphasize grace, you violate truth and the other way around. It is a question of balance and degree. So with forgiveness and just retribution. God is not mocked. That is, you cannot get away with everything. Even though the Lord Jesus died for sins at the cross, that does not mean we come away scotch clean. The psalmist put it this way. With You is forgiveness, so that we may fear You. And indeed, if God did not forgive, we would become indifferent, as it is a hopeless case anyway. On the other hand, if God were some kind of Saint Nick, not visiting home to us whatever wrong, then we would become indifferent as well.

Because we are responsible to each other in our interaction and also because we make mistakes, therefore there should be a fine tuned balance between forgiveness and retribution. Jesus said that the second commandment of loving your neighbor like yourself, is equal to the first commandment of loving God. This means that I should see God Himself in my fellow men. This puts things in another perspective. How could I still discriminate, manipulate and even enslave, if I recognize that other humans I come across with have the same sacred rights as I have? Rights endowed by God Almighty. And if and when I foul up, I am guilty both towards my fellow and towards my Maker.

"Will the Judge of all the earth not do justice!"

"You will be justified by your own words."

"You will be condemned by your own words."

Literal or physical aspect

Intellectual aspect

Emotional aspect

Spiritual aspect

"Justified by Faith." "You are saved by grace through faith and that not out of you; it is the gift of God." "He that sows wind, will reap storm."

"We will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and [then] we will carry away both the good and the evil done in the body." "What a person sows, that he will reap."

"The Judge of the living and the dead." "The children should not be punished for the sins of the parents and v.v." "Behold the righteous is retributed on the earth; so certainly the wicked and the sinner."

"The letter kills, the Spirit makes alive." "I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the reins, to give a man according to his ways and according to his deeds."

God is forgiving, longsuffering and preserving unto a 1000 generations. Lutherism

God punishes during our lives to the fourth generation. Calvinism

All sins are absolutely forgiven. Evangelicalism

Idea of purgatory. Catholicism

Even the devil will be saved. Universalism

Retributed and saved through the long karma cycle of life and death. Hinduism

Demons will reward us for our evil and if we are faithful to them, they will protect us. Satanism.

Where the Catholic with the idea of purgatory makes the retribution of the believer too hard, there the evangelical is both naive and unrealistic in his forgiveness. The evangelicals are right as far as eternity is concerned, but they are wrong in their all-is-forgiven theology. Not only will our earthly and temporary lives determine our reward in the Millennium and in eternity, but also we will certainly not get away with our sins. Not only as far as our lives are concerned now, but neither after the judgment seat of Christ. "Everybody will be purified by fire." The evangelical thinks he is in a win-win situation of only reward, but also Christians have a lot to lose! Also the believer will be retributed for evil and not only assessed. Not in eternity or in a limbo like purgatory however.

That we all, also Christians, will be purified by fire speaks in the first place of the judgment of our works. If our works are burned up, because they are hay and stubble and not precious stones, gold and silver, then we "will be saved as through fire." But the Lord also speaks of the purification of our persons, but not as the condemned in the lake of fire and in hades.

That the evangelical is guilty of levity, is shown by numerous bible verses, such as "What a person sows, he will reap." "He that sows wind, harvests storm." "I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the reins, to give a man according to his ways and according to his deeds." Both believers and unbelievers will have to give account of their behavior. We all "will be judged by our own words ánd justified by our own words." The wise will be caught in their own wisdom and also the average sinner will be weighed in accordance with his own attitude and words over against others.

I do not think that everybody will be judged simply by the objective exigencies of the ten commandments. But also and perhaps in the first place, the subjective aspects of our own attitudes and thoughts about and towards God and fellow men will play a role in our rewards and retributions. Forgiveness and retribution is not a one-way street. There is a horizontal and mutual dimension between people and there is a vertical and mutual dimension with the Creator. In this context I also mention God's dealing with mankind throughout history in progressive revelation, in the case of the martyrs and in both false and right faith. The Person of Jesus in this all is the measure and our attitude towards Him determines our eternal destiny.

God is a forgiving God. He does not visit home all our sinfulness and not even all our sins. If You would visit us according to our sinfulness, we would have been destroyed already for a long time. But He puts limits on people in His Wisdom. Solomon: Somebody that is warned many times, but that hardens his heart, his neck will suddenly be broken and there will be no (possibility for) healing. Yet in the case of Sampson, at the very end, there was a revival of his spirit. But it cost him his life.

Last but not least let us learn by heart scriptures like I want mercy and not sacrifice, Mercy boasts against judgment, but also verses as I want truth in the inner man, It is time that judgment starts at the house of God.



theologia | philosophia | anthropologia | psychologia | moralitas | theoria

christology | bible | prophecy | apologetics | theology | science | various

How do you rate this website?
Email Address:
A. Very Good.
B. Rather Good.
C. Average.
D. Rather Disappointing.
E. Very Disappointing.