An all-creatures Bible Message
Repentance Precedes Forgiveness
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
14 September 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
We have heard people say that they thank an animal for giving his or her life, and even thank God, so they could eat their flesh, but that is extremely hypocritical, for they think that such actions justify their behavior, when they do not.
The animals never “gave” their lives; they wanted to live just as much as we do. Their lives were taken by force.
Such people deny the fact that God created the animals to be our companions, and not our food, and thus they see no need to repent of their sins.
These people lack unlimited love and the ability to truly forgive others.
Peter and Jesus talk about these things as recorded in Matthew 18:21-35…
As with unlimited love, forgiveness should also be unlimited.
Peter was still learning, just like we are, and he didn’t quite understand that complete repentance precedes forgiveness if it is going to be unlimited.
Then Jesus tells a parable.
24. "And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents.
26. "The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.'
27. "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
29. "So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'
But this is an excellent example of why repentance precedes forgiveness, for in this case the first slave was not truly sorry for what he had done, and thus he was unable to truly see his own failures and sins; thus, he could not truly forgive his fellow slave.
32. "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me.
33. 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?'
34. "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
It is also why repentance precedes forgiveness, for if it doesn’t, we will continue to have these kinds of problems.
Paul goes into another example of how repentance precedes forgiveness in Romans 14:1-12, but this example is a little more complicated, because it neglects the connection between the suffering of animals and true repentance.
It is also important for us to consider the fact that Paul also ate animal flesh, even though he was a Jewish Christian.
From these writings it appears that Paul considered himself to be strong in the faith because he ate meat sacrificed to idols, because he knows they are not gods, but at the same time he recognizes that they represent demons, which adds to the confusion of Paul’s comments.
5. "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Keep these things in mind as we go on.
Only those things that are in the heavenly will of God are acceptable to God.
The ways of the world only honor the devil, and we are to reject such things.
When people are truly born again, they should recognize these things.
8. for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
If our true repentance precedes forgiveness, then we will separate ourselves from the ways of the world with all its pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death, and begin to live as peacemaking children of God who follow His heavenly will.
10. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God."
12. So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.
We can only repent of the ways of the world if repentance precedes forgiveness, otherwise we continue to try to justify the corrupted and ungodly ways of the world.
We are to follow the heavenly will of God and help bring it to earth as it is in heaven.