A False Forgiveness

24 03 2014

I was watching a debate not long ago between some Roman Catholics and some Christians on Facebook. What I found interesting was the references made by the Roman Catholic to the need to pay for our sins. She kept saying that although Christ has forgiven our sins more must be done to make things right. This puzzled me as I contemplated what the use of forgiveness was if it was only partial. I decided to look up the teachings of Rome concerning such matter and it states as follows.

“Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.”

I understand that sometimes there are remedies to a sin that must take place even after a person is saved. If a man leaves his family he may have to continue paying child support by law or if a person commits a crime he may have to pay restitution although God has forgiven him there is still an area of man’s law that must be paid. This is not what they are teaching. They are teaching that God forgives our sin but then has us pay for it as well. Many in Rome’s traditions give money or do good deeds or say prayers or even hurt their bodies in the hopes of making penance for sins.

This is a false forgiveness. The very meaning of forgiveness means that there is no debt to pay. If I “forgive” your debt but still demand you pay half of it then no matter what I call it I have not truly forgiven your debt. It’s good to bear fruits of repentance but those are natural meaning they naturally flow from a forgiven heart. These are not rules that must be enforced and if they are then they are not fruits. We should do all of these things that are listed but not to gain forgiveness or acceptance. We should do them because we are forgiven and accepted.

No place in the New Testament do we see forgiveness being conditioned upon any certain act with the exception of confessing our sin. John said in 1 John 1:9.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There is no mention here of having to do anything else but confess our sins. Are we to have sorrow for our sins? The answer of course is yes and confession will flow naturally from a contrite and humble heart. These are doctrines that this so called church has added to the words of Scripture. When we confess our sins we are cleansed from them no strings attached. Some would argue and say “so a person could not be sorrow and go on and never do good works?” The answer is not with he Holy Spirit. If he is truly sorry for sins then he will confess those sins and be cleansed. A person truly grateful for forgiveness will bring forth these fruits of repentance.

The problem is that the Roman Church is working off a system where the Holy Spirit does not indwell their people, most are not truly saved and therefore they need a religious system to force them to do these good works they would not otherwise do. A forgiveness that requires more works to make it real is a false forgiveness. It is not the forgiveness offered by Jesus or the Bible. It is the false forgiveness of a system that does not offer the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. This type of forgiveness is absent from the inspired Word of God.



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