Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 NIV
This verse is normally used to emphasise the forgiving nature of God, and I am so very thankful that we have a loving God who forgives when we don’t deserve it. That is grace personified in the Lord Jesus. Can I ask you to bear with me as I take a different angle on this verse?
Jesus was being abused by His accusers in a way that we would see as horrific, and yet they were forgiven even though they didn’t ask for it. Why? I suggest it is because they “did not know what they were doing”. That’s the part that caught my attention, making me feel better and yet worse about our sins. Jesus forgave BECAUSE they didn’t know the significance of what they were doing. I suggest it follows that we cannot and indeed will not be forgiven if we DO KNOW we are doing wrong, and sin anyway.
Susanna Wesley, the praying mother of John and Charles defined sin this way: “Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.”
You and I must be very careful in our actions and behaviour because once we KNOW what we are doing is wrong, we may NOT BE FORGIVEN because we have known the truth of the gospel and turned our back on it. That is good news for the many who have never heard the gospel, but it is not good news for those of us who have heard and rejected it. It’s one thing for the Wesleys to believe this, but Jesus says the same thing in His own words, so we must be very careful when we recognise the truth of the gospel…..
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 ESV