Does God Forgive Unrepentant Sinners?
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Does God Forgive Unrepentant Sinners?

It seems to me that the Bible gives conflicting answers to this question. Sometimes God, who is “slow to anger,” once aroused, punishes sinners severely. At other times, God’s forgiveness seems boundless. A common denominator in the Bible is God’s claim that “vengeance is mine” (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30). This indicates that, if there is to be vengeance, God should be the one to mete it out. The human desire for vengeance, or to engage in vengeful violence on God’s behalf contradicts this teaching.
Paul said that Christians are “new creations in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We might be saved through faith, but if that is the case we should also be transformed. Indeed, Jesus said, “Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:22). So, claims of faith and pious talk are empty words if unaccompanied by genuine efforts to cease sinning.
James said that “faith apart from works is dead” (2:26). Would a just and caring God have much interest in people who smugly believe they are saved while choosing to directly or indirectly torment God’s people and/or God’s animals? Jesus taught that we should “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:28). Salvation in Christ only has practical meaning if it directs us toward that perfection.

Next essay, I will begin a series of essays on peacemaking.

Go on to: Peacemaking, part 1: The Need for Peacemakers
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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