Forgiveness is Conditional
“If, indeed, Jesus unconditionally forgave those who crucified Him, then, of course, that would mean they had been forgiven without hearing or believing the gospel. Clearly that teaching is heretical. ... On the cross, Jesus did not forgive; He prayed. The same is true of Steven. If forgiveness is unconditional, Jesus, Stephen, and others would have forgiven their murderers rather than use what, if true, would be a roundabout way to do so. We believe also that Jesus prayer was answered. How could that be? Not apart from the means, but by them. Jesus’ prayer was answered in the response to the preaching of Peter and the apostles on the day of Pentecost. They were not forgiven the sin of crucifying the Saviour apart from believing that He was dying for their sins, but precisely by doing so in response to the faithful preaching of the gospel in Jerusalem. We do not have to resort to some strange doctrine of the forgiveness of sins apart from faith in Christ in order to explain Christ’s prayer.”
(Jay Adams, From Forgiven to Forgiving, 1994)
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