Luke 24:46-47 – [Yeshua] also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, “and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The largest and most talked about aspect of the good news or the gospel of the kingdom is that sins against the God of Israel could be forgiven through repentance. Looking at the message of Messiah and his apostles, forgiveness is tied to repentance.
Luke 17:3-4 – “Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When Paul was commissioned by the glorified Messiah, he was instructed about forgiveness that would be poured out on all who believed.
Acts 26:16-18 – “But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. “I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
So we can see that the good news of forgiveness was even being extended to the nations; however, Paul quickly adds how this forgiveness was to come about.
Acts 26:19-20 – “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. “Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.
Repentance is necessary because until an individual comes to a recognition of some fault, there is no understanding of a need for forgiveness.
The only biblical example I can find of forgiveness without repentance is in the example of Yeshua as he is being crucified, praying and interceding for his executioners.
Luke 23:34 – Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.
Clearly, the Roman soldiers were unrepentant. How could they be since they had no idea what they were doing in the larger scheme of things and were simply following orders? Yet, Yeshua intercedes for them out of love, love for enemies, just as he taught.
Matthew 5:44-45 – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, “so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
When people come to us repenting of some way they have wronged us, we are to forgive them. When we are wronged by others, we simply need to love them and pray for them, recognizing their ignorance of the offense. Perhaps they may come to repentance and no longer provide offense, but until then, we should follow the example of Yeshua and simply love them.
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