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Christ and forgiveness

#1KNessJMPosted 7/4/2011 10:01:00 AM
Christians are encouraged to emulate the actions and views of Jesus Christ, correct? What he said and did was the correct way to go about doing things, and although no mortal man can achieve the heights of purity and perfection he did, the closer you can get to emulating him, the better, right?

So when it comes to forgiveness, Christ practiced the ultimate act of forgiveness in his death. He sacrificed himself so that mankind could have a chance of being forgiven for sin. It would follow, then, that forgiveness would be a deeply valued and righteous concept.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this, in the Christian perspective.

The issue that comes to mind for me is the issue of forgiveness and punishment in Western cultures (and most cultures for that matter).

If I commit a grave sin and do not repent, I'm condemned to hell (original sin notwithstanding). If, however, I genuinely accept the salvation of Christ, honestly repent from my sins, and do my best to live a virtuous life, I am forgiven and am spared eternal punishment.

If I commit a crime, I can be caught and sentenced to receive a punishment (a monetary fine, prison time, loss of privileges, even death). If I genuinely repent from my criminal actions, see the error of my ways, and strive to live a virtuous life, the punishment still remains.

Within the Christian worldview, would it not be more ethical to practice forgiveness towards others as Christ practices forgiveness towards us? I see instances in which someone commits a vile act, and people are quick to jump in and say things like "I hope they burn in hell." Wouldn't the more proper view of murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc. be "I hope they repent so that they can be saved and go to heaven."?
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Quote of the Week: "The files are INSIDE the computer?"
#2OrangeWizardPosted 7/4/2011 10:28:12 AM
Yes it wold be.

...Is that it?
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"this game is about reality. ... when you fire a gun you are not like "what is this am i shooting sausages?""
-General_Dong on Black Ops
#3KNessJM(Topic Creator)Posted 7/4/2011 10:35:06 AM
Wouldn't it then follow that human systems of punishment are ultimately irrelevant?

A man kills another man. Neither is Christian. The murderer finds Christ and is saved, and when he dies he goes to heaven. The man who was killed does not. This is in accordance with Christian teachings, in that accepting salvation is more important than any other actions.

Why bother with Earthly punishments if God is just going to sort it out in the end?
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Quote of the Week: "The files are INSIDE the computer?"
#4RetrotasticPosted 7/4/2011 11:14:28 AM
He sacrificed himself so that mankind could have a chance of being forgiven for sin.

It doesn't explicitly say this in the Bible, what his death and resurrection ultimately mean is open to interpretation .
#5the_hedonistPosted 7/4/2011 11:16:02 AM
Romans 12:19-21
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


I do not cast judgment on another. I trust that any sin committed is either already taken care of on the cross or will be taken care of in hell. I "leave it to the wrath of God," as Paul says. For this reason, I am a proponent of rehabilitative justice. Clearly we cannot let a psychotic murderer wandering the streets; he could kill dozens of people. But maybe we can send him to psychiatric rehab and hopefully one day he can lead a normal, crimefree life.

I am also a proponent of retributive justice. Humans do have rights. If someone wrongs me in some way, I have the right to sue him or her. As a Christian, I would not, but not everyone has the hope that the justice of God will prevail in the end (and that's the reason I "defer" my rights), so I allow for it in a democratic society. I am not a proponent of the death penalty, however. A certain amount of retribution is fine, but there is a line, in my opinion.

These are very preliminary thoughts. I still haven't fully fleshed out what I believe about the justice system from a Christian perspective.
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Everything that doesn't have to do with elephants is irrelephant.
~The Christian Hedonist~
#6OrangeWizardPosted 7/4/2011 11:16:07 AM
KNessJM posted...
Wouldn't it then follow that human systems of punishment are ultimately irrelevant?

A man kills another man. Neither is Christian. The murderer finds Christ and is saved, and when he dies he goes to heaven. The man who was killed does not. This is in accordance with Christian teachings, in that accepting salvation is more important than any other actions.

Why bother with Earthly punishments if God is just going to sort it out in the end?


Because of separation of church and state.
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"this game is about reality. ... when you fire a gun you are not like "what is this am i shooting sausages?""
-General_Dong on Black Ops
#7the_hedonistPosted 7/4/2011 11:20:43 AM
Retrotastic posted...
It doesn't explicitly say this in the Bible, what his death and resurrection ultimately mean is open to interpretation .

1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

I could point to dozens of other Scriptural references, but this is as good as any. Christ "died for our sins" and this gospel is the means "by which you are being saved," according to Paul. 1 Corinthians is one of the earliest books of the New Testament, being written about 20 years after the death of Jesus. And this statement is widely believed by scholars to be a creedal statement coming from the earliest Christians, dated from 2-10 years after Jesus' death, depending on who you ask.
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Everything that doesn't have to do with elephants is irrelephant.
~The Christian Hedonist~
#8KNessJM(Topic Creator)Posted 7/4/2011 11:23:02 AM
Because of separation of church and state.

I understand why it exists within our culture, I'm questioning its place within a Christian worldview. Are you in favor of our cultures having values that are different than Christian values?
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Quote of the Week: "The files are INSIDE the computer?"
#9RetrotasticPosted 7/4/2011 11:25:16 AM
Ok they added that into the canonical scriptures but Jesus himself didn't say "I have died for your sins" he just came back to life and said hello essentially. Whatever anyone else says is an interpretation of that event, assuming it did happen.
#10chukie_suePosted 7/4/2011 11:33:55 AM
Rom 13: 4 For government is God's servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God's servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. 5 Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of your conscience. (HCSB)
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A mighty hand, an outstretched arm - You are the God who saves, Deliverer Your name.