But what about Jesus' words in Mark 11:25-26? Do they not indicate that we must forgive everyone of everything regardless of whether or not they request forgiveness?
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.
This one verse does not supersede all the other verses we've already considered on the subject. We already know that what is so grievous to God is our refusal to forgive someone who requests our forgiveness. So we can interpret this verse in light of that well-established fact. Jesus is only emphasizing here that we must forgive others if we want God's forgiveness. He is not telling us the more specific mechanics of forgiveness and what one must do to receive it from another.
Notice that Jesus also does not say here that we must ask God for forgiveness in order to receive it from Him. Shall we then ignore everything else that Scripture teaches about God's forgiveness being predicated upon our asking for it (see Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:9)? Shall we assume that we don't need to ask for forgiveness from God when we sin because Jesus doesn't mention it here? That would be an unwise assumption in light of what Scripture tells us. It is equally unwise to ignore everything else Scripture teaches about our forgiving others being predicated upon their asking for it.
|Read the previous article in this series,
This article is an excerpt from the book, The Disciple-Making Minister. The actual book itself may be ordered by visiting our online store. To view our copyright policy, click here. © 2013 by David Servant