Scripture brings up many opportunities for reconciliation. Some are accompanied by concerns as we consider our actions and motives.
Here is one such pericope from Matthew 18. Here some have found concern pertaining to the idea of election, some to the question of losing of personal salvation, and some on the distance in which our debts are forgiven.
In the Matthew pericope I wish to point out Verse 27, which indicates that debt is forgiven while verse 34 seems to bring the debt back or retract the forgiveness.
I hold to a world-view that considers sin to be forgiven once and for all. Psalm 103:11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Debt is not the same as sin. Debt may be the consequences of sin but not the condemnation of a forgiven state. We often suffer the earthly effects of our sins even if we are forgiven in an eternal sense.
Matt 18:35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you,” is a concerning statement, especially as it seems supported by other Biblical witnesses as, Matt 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
This can lead to endless debate about forgiveness. But we can rise above the turmoil as we simply consider that the meat is mercy. Matt 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
When we have compassion and mercy, we have peace instead of questions and turmoil.
Matt 18:23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
24“When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.25 “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 “So the slave fell to the ground and 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.
28 “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 “So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 “But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
31 “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that 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.
35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”