Forgiveness--False View

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  • Bible (Correct): Forgiveness is the act of releasing someone from a debt or obligation. Only Christianity teaches that God completely forgives sins by faith alone through receiving Christ (John 1:12) and being made right before God by faith (Rom. 5:1).
  • CS: Forgiveness as it relates to the god of Christian Science deals with the destruction of sin, mainly through right understanding and casting out evil as being unreal, and through suffering.
    • “The destruction of sin is the divine method of pardon. Divine Life destroys death, Truth destroys error, and Love destroys hate. Being destroyed, sin needs no other form of forgiveness,” (S&H, p. 339).
    • “Having one Lord, we shall not be idolaters, dividing our homage and obedience between matter and Spirit; but shall work out our own salvation, after the model of our Father, who never pardons the sin that deserves to be punished and can be destroyed only through suffering,” (The People’s Idea of God by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 9).
  • LDS: Forgiveness is not based on faith, but on faith, works, and complete repentance.
    • “Only through the Savior’s grace and mercy can we become clean from sin so that we can live with God again. This is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end,” (Preach My Gospel, 2004, p. 51).
    • “This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us,” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 208-209).
    • “There is no forgiveness of sin without repentance. Forgiveness does not come by faith alone, nor by promising that we will do better some time. It is necessary that we should cease sinning and begin to do well,” (Francis M. Lyman, Conference Reports, April, 1899, p.38).
    • “Those who receive forgiveness and then repeat the sin are held accountable for their former sins,” (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 253).
    • “The forgiveness of sins comes to us by this obedience to the ordinances of the gospel and by enduring to the end, walking in obedience to the commandments," (Roy W. Doxey, The Doctrine and Covenants Speaks 1:104).
  • RC: Forgiveness is not by faith alone, but by faith and baptism and works.
    • “Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit,” (CCC 985).
    • "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification," (CCC 987).
    • “Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father--every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins,” (CCC 1437).
    • “The sacrament of forgiveness. “ . . . Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification,” (CCC 1446). “It [penance] allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration,” (CCC 1447).
    • “ . . . obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance,” (CCC 1453).

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.