For the last 4 years, I’ve been a regular contributor on Quora.com (the Q&A site), and have responded now to over 3,800 questions posed by other readers in 3 main themes: Canada and world affairs, Christianity and world religions, and Conservative politics and values worldwide. Having recently reached an overall 500,000 readers, I often get at least a dozen questions directed at me personally to answer, based on reading something related that I wrote about before.
Atheists often get my attention first, dropping blasphemous references to the “non-entity “, “straw man” or “sky fairy” we know as the living, loving God . They ask carefully worded questions to avoid being reported and removed for harassing or mocking others, which I’m happy to do. For if I react in anger tp something stupid that they say, they wouldn’t hesitate to report me. They see religion and believers in same as enemies of the people. One of their more shocking meme states: “If Jesus comes back, kill Him again.” Irritating and arrogant, they believe they are smarter than any religious people – even though the “irreligious” number about 500 million – about 1/8 th of the world’s 4.1 billion believers in God. .
This week, one of them had a very controversial question for me: “If God can demand that we must forgive one another, why isn’t God morally obligated to forgive all of us in Heaven? It takes REAL GALL to demand that God must overlook the sins of everyone when they die – even if they first overlooked God all of their entire lives. That arrogance demanded a response – and I was determined to turn his own thought process as an atheist around. Love to hear in the comments how I did.
You, sinful, corrupt, wicked man, carrying a sinful nature within you that will manifest all the days of your life – YOU DARE challenge the moral obligation of God, in the midst of your obvious sin and rebellion against Him and His Word?. You actually believe you have earned some right to LECTURE GOD on what He does and does not have to do for YOU?
This is what God thinks about this subject:
2 Peter 3:9 says: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Have you chosen to come to God in repentance for your sins committed? God will keep His promises to forgive ANY person for his/her sins in such a scenario. No matter how evil they once were – He has made a promise to forgive mankind, and He keeps His promises. However, there is a moral obligation on mankind’s part as well, and that you refuse to do. SO NO, God doesn’t not HAVE to forgive you, if you choose not to accept the formula for His forgiveness, which is:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9)
The greatest “if/then” statement in world history says this: IF you confess, THEN He will forgive. PERIOD.
Oh but that’s not what YOU want. NO No no, you presuppose that you should be able to receive this forgiveness of your sins while you live in continuous open DEFIANCE of the Law of God. The plan of salvation existed long before you were born, and millions of people have accepted that plan and confessed their sins to God, and asked Him to forgive them of their sins and give them a new life. And as promised, HE HAS DONE SO. For MILLIONS of people.
But that’s not good enough for YOU, is it? No no, you smugly smirk and think that you have figured out a loophole to get out of the requirement of belief in His Son’s sacrifice for you. You think you should be able to guilt Him into forgiving you – even when you have proven to have no respect for the Law of God, the sacrifice of Christ for you, or the promises He made to forgive you.
And you dare question whether He loves you, and why He can’t just forgive you now, when you have no desire to obey Him and be forgiven for your sins? What’s holding you back from accepting the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross?
And may I ask, if God was to forgive you in this current state of yours, what then? What’s the end goal here? You actually think you will want to spend eternity in Heaven with someone who forgave you, even though you made no effort to even get to know Him here – during your entire life? You openly rebel against His plan of salvation, though it has actually been accepted by millions of people ahead of you – so it’s not obviously asking TOO much, nor is it TOO difficult, nor does accepting it constitute TOO much demanded of you?
God cannot and will not forgive you, if you refuse to repent and accept His Son’s sacrifice. That’s not on God., non-believer. That’s not His fault. EVER. I think it’s safe to say that God has gone over and above all that you could possibly deserve, by giving you above and beyond what you could ever possibly expect or even dream of, if you accept His Son’s gift for you. Eternity in Heaven is a concept so great, so amazing, so marvelous, that your brain can’t even begin to comprehend it. He’s done that, and prepared it all, ready and willing to give it to you right now. And even when He’s done for you more than you deserve, more than you can dream of, you STILL question it not being ENOUGH?
Oh, IT’S ENOUGH alright.
The problem here is – your excuses ARE NOT enough.
God does ask that mankind freely forgive other men, yes – who, like us, are all sinners in need of a Saviour. That’s you and I. That’s actually EVERYONE. You cannot truly “sin” against another man, by definition. God alone is the only One that you can be found gulty of sinning aganist. Romans 3:23 says that “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.“
God’s moral law is violated when you sin. You are guilty – with NO reasonable doubt – of violating God Law, instituted between you and God alone. God asks you to forgive others, who are just as weak and sinful and wicked as you are – because He knows, and many of us have learned, that giving this forgiveness to others may never do anything positive to the recipient – but it can brings healing to us emotionally, who give it.. Forgiving others, according to the thought process of God, should be something we choose to do also naturally, because we ourselves have been granted that same gift of forgiveness.
Matthew 18:23 begins the story of a king who was going over his books with his accountant, one day and realized that there was a man who owed him 10,000 TALENTS (OR BAGS) OF GOLD. He was dragged before the King, who demanded that he be sold into slavery to pay the debt, as well asz his wife and children. He begged the King to spare him, and by some miracle, he was let go and the debt was forgiven. This of course is a picture of God’s forgiveness of mankind.
Then that same man went out soon after and tried to break the knees, so to speak, of a man who owed him 100 PIECES OF SILVER. A mere pittance in comparison to what he had been forgiven. The debtor also begged his forgiveness, but he refused to give it. This got back to the king, who then carried out his original sentence of selling his debtor into slavery for the 10,000 TALENTS (OR BAGS) OF GOLD. – and all because he would not forgive the 100 PIECES OF SILVER..
By the way, God doesn’t expect someone like you to forgive another for anything anyway, so it’s unclear to me why you used that as your trigger event. If you can actually forgive another human being, truly and completely, for something they have done to you, why are you not able to accept God’s forgiveness to you, if you will just say you’re sorry? God’s moral law being violated isn’t comparable to your feelings being hurt – it leads to eternal death.
And unlike the person you are being asked to forgive, God also made a full plan to forgive you of your sins, and to have His Son to die on the Cross for you, before you even KNEW WHO HE WAS, and before you ever decided to believe in Him either. SO His forgiveness, laid out for you, was already planned before you were ever born.
But YOU have a part to play in that too, because you have broken the moral law of God, and you will not be forgiven for it without repenting of that sin. God and you are not in the same moral situation as you and some other person.
God created you. God instituted Laws for you to follow. You choose to break those laws. And you therefore will suffer.
God asking YOU to forgive someone else can be summarized by the vernacular – “you arin’t no better than He/she is”. SO who are YOU to withhold forgiveness of them? You’ve likely done just as bad or worse to someone else, as they are doing to you. If you haven’t done it, you’ve likely at least thought about it, which is the same thing to God.
It’s God’s created universe. You are God’s created child. God has instituted laws that man must obey. And you think you can dare QUESTION that? It’s fortunate for us that REBELLION AND INSOLENCE against God, in such a situation, does not cause Him to immediately react and wipe you off the face of the Earth.
But the Bible says:
“For God so loved the world , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Forgiveness is a moral obligation of God, and something He very freely would love to do for you. And He is “not willing that any should perish”. However, the Law of God demands that sin must be paid for. Thus why that verse continues that He desires first that “all should come to repentance.”
YOU FIRST have a moral obligation to ensure that God is able to save you. It’s a contractual obligation. It’s written clearly in the Word of God.
And fight and whine and complain and rebel and rail against God if you wish, but in the end, your disobedience to God, and your eventual punishment for same, are totally ON YOU, not God, because He made a way for you to avoid it all. But you choose not to do it. And you therefore will have no defense and no recourse.
Ephesians chapter 2 describes who you are, and who God is, and what He offers to you, quite clearly – first by addressing who you ARE right now, in relationship to God:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
After those verses clearly stated what your spiritual condition was, and what you deserve as a result – the two most powerful words ever written in the English language, change everything:
4 BUT GOD, because of his great love for us, who is rich in mercy,
You question God’s motives? You dare challenge God’s right to destroy you for the evil things that you’ve done? The writer here is saying – you deserved it, you earned it, He should have given it to you…
BUT GOD….changes the course of human history by what He does next.
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
He has done so much for you, before you asked for it, before you even knew who He was, even when you openly rebel against Him as you do now, questioning His motives and His plan for you.
HE made it possible for you to be raised you up spiritually from the dead, which is your current state today. You didn’t deserve that, His grace gave it to you. Free of charge.
He also made it possible for you to live with God forever, and to be raised up to spiritual heights, to the level of His Son, to dwell and enjoy the blessings of being a child of God, as Jesus is. As such, you will one day rule and you will reign over all things like He does now. That’s a joint heir situation – God has given you the ability to inherit all the things of God, just like any other son or daughter could receive. But unlike an earthly inheritance, God doesn’t have to die before you are able to get access to that inheritanace.
He wants more than anything to show His grace to you, and His kindness to you, and His love to you. Not because you deserve it or earned it. NO He offered it even when you are in this state today – of malice toward God. You question His laws and commands. You challenge His moral authority. Yet He continues …to love you.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
If you think you are good enough to get into Heaven by your actions on this planet. think again. God is holy and He cannot and will not allow sin and rebellion and malice into His Home – Heaven. And He has every right to determine that, just as you have every right to decide what is allowed to happen in YOUR home. You wouldn’t tolerate someone moving in and living under your roof who clearly can’t stand you, mocks you, badmouths you, questions your every motive, calls you a fake, a phony and a fraud, and who then has the audacity to state that they deserve to live there REGARDLESS?
Oh please. You’d throw them out on their butt the minute you had the chance.
God did demonstrate mercy and forgiveness for all. He sent His Son to die on the Cross as a ransom for your sins. All you had to do was accept it, but you have rebelled against God, decided you know best how the moral order of God should be carried out in this world, and will not accept the clear sacrifice of His Son on the Cross for you. What an insult to the unbelievable sacrifice He made for you – freely. A gift to you that you only have to open and accept. And YOU WON’T?
You deserve death, Hell and the grave. PERIOD. We all do. We all deserved to be destroyed at the end of time, for our sinful nature, disobediences, crimes against the Law of God. We deserved eternal Hell. We have earned eternal destruction.
You can rail against the Law of God or the declarations of God or the character and nature of God all you want to. But God sent His son as a sacrifice to Earth to save the lost. He stated that His Son’s blood was an acceptable sacrifice for your sins. If you do not CONFESS your sins, however, He can not forgive them, because the human heart needs to make some effort in response to the sacrifice of Christ. In addition, God wants to have relationship with you, and therefore, He requires and desires you to make such a determination one way or the other.
And frankly, that is no different than any human law court – if you do not confess to your crimes, and the jury finds you to be guilty, you will be handed down the sentence by the Judge, in accordance with His laws.
God will find you guilty of your sins at the end of your life. If you have not confessed those sins to Jesus, so that He may forgive the and cleanse you of all unrighteousness, then you will stand before God and be declared GUILTY of same. And frankly, someone like you who seems to know enough about the BIble to try to argue your way out of God’s judgment, are even more inexcusable from His judgment and wrath, when you did not accept His clearly laid-out plan of salvation in the BIble.
Your sins are WITHOUT EXCUSE::
Romans 1:20 says: “For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.” (Amplified Bible)
If you refuse to believe in God, and refuse to accept His forgiveness of sins, based on the clear blueprint He has laid out, you have no recourse to come back and say it wasn’t fair or “He has to”. You are the one who has ruined that opportunity for yourself.
You are the one who has not obeyed the Word of God concerning how to be forgiven of sins, and be restored to God. God has done all for you that He is required to, and then some. His Son has given His own life as a sacrifice for you, which was far over and above what you deserved, and more than you could have ever dreamed nor should have ever expected. And He asks simply for your gratitude, your repentant heart, and your faith in His ability to transform you.
You instead attempt to come up with excuses for not having to believe in God, not following His word, and not obeying His commands. And you think you are somehow justified in this? You are not. Your arrogance and rebellion are not a surprise to God – He sees it all the time in this world. But your complaints fall on deaf ears – while at the same time, He is waiting and sits as close to you right now as possible – the moment you mention His name He is there to be with you. Take one step toward Him and He’ll take all steps remaining instantly to fill the gap and be with you.
I dare say, you are brave to dare attempt to criticize this simple plan of God to save you when you didn’t deserve it and shouldn’t have it anyway. The terms are laid out. You will have no excuse after you die for not having accepted it.
And again, what is your end game here? You think God will forgive you and then what – you will live with this estranged God, whom you have despised and ignored all of your entire life, and you’ll have a great time with Him in Heaven?
If you really think you deserve that, then my words here have been in vain. There is an insanity involved in ignoring God’s plan for you. However, there is no defense possible of “not guilty by means of insanity” in that court of God’s law.
Get real and get right with God. Or be prepared to accept the consequences after death. Which you can try to paint now as God just being mean – but when He’s already done so much to prepare for your salvation now, and asks so little of you, and demonstrates His love clearly for you – and you STILL rebel against Him, you have chosen your own fate. He gave you free will. Be a man and either accept His love and plans for you…
or live with the consequences.