70 myths on losing salvation (26): If you don’t forgive, God won’t forgive you.


Myth 26. fail to forgive others as you have been forgiven, and get your original sin debt re-instated. Matt 18:20-35; 6:14-15

Matthew 18:20-35

New International Version (NIV)

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 6:14-15

New International Version (NIV)

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Great, do these verses tell you that God’s forgiveness is conditional upon you forgiving others? The writer of 70 ways of the article “70 ways a believer can fall away”:http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/70-ways-a-believer-can-fall-away/  clearly suggests this.

It seems to suggest that God will reinstate your sins even after you have been forgiven if you do not forgive your brother, hence making salvation conditional upon your forgiveness unto others.

It is imperative for us to note the context of Matthew 18: 21-35 is made with Jewish Jurisprudence i. e. Jewish law. Jesus is not saying you will be thrown to hell. Rather he is quoting the Old Testament. 

Deuteronomy 15:9
Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

Genesis 4:24
24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy- seven times.”

In Deuteronomy 15:9 you actually see that there is a provision for an appeal when a person who is suppose to be forgiven of its debt but thereafter show ill, just like the unmerciful servant. As such the Law of Moses provides for an appeal for that servant to make an appeal to the Lord.

Now what do you mean by “making an appeal to the Lord”?

John Gill’s expository notes state the following:

and he cry unto the Lord against thee;
go to the throne of grace, and in prayer bring a charge, and lodge a complaint of unkindness and uncharitableness: and it be a sin unto thee; the Lord shall reckon it as a sin, a very heinous one, and call to an account for it.”

As such the Law provides for a case of reinstatement of debt against a man who refuses to forgive a man.

It is pertinent to note that this is a provision under the Law of Moses.

We are no longer under the Law of Moses.

That is why Paul writes in the New Testament the following:

Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:13
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Notice here God has forgiven you. It is then you are called to forgive?

If you are in Christ, you have been forgiven. Now forgive. After the cross, we are forgiven first. Then we are to forgive. We no longer forgive to be forgiven. 

About Genesis 4: To forgive 70 times 7 times is not to forgive until the 490th time. It is not to carry hatred in our heart like Lamech did. But to have the heart of God. Jesus says forgive not in your feelings but from your heart. 

Lamech had killed a man. It is here that he thought if Cain was avenged 7 times, he must be avenged 70 times. Lamech had no idea that the reason God would punish anyone who would kill Cain 7 times was actually God’s grace upon Cain who should have died for his murder on his brother Abel. It was to protect Cain rather than to avenge him. Lamech distorted in his thinking used fear to intimidate his enemies by saying he should be avenged 70 times. Lamech was possessed by the spirit of revenge.

Jesus is saying that we should carry the spirit of Lamech and should forgive from the heart. He is not saying if you don’t forgive someone you are going to hell.

As a believer you must understand you are not just forgiven. You are justified. When my wife and I quarrel we bring up things in the past. So while I may have forgiven her, I have not justified her. God is different. He says “I remember your sins no more.” Dear friends, do understand this, justification means “as if you had never sinned.” This is a very important theological concept. Jesus did not forgive you. He did not provide an atonement for your sins. These are old covenant concepts. The book of Hebrews said in chapter 10 “He took away your sins” once and for all.

Taking away your sins is different from forgiving you. It means all your sins have been taken away on the cross. That is why before the cross, you must forgive before you are forgiven. After the cross, we are forgiven first. Then we should forgive, there is no must. But Paul says true forgiveness comes under grace, because we know how much we have been forgiven. Forgiveness under law comes from fear about being punished again. It keeps a record of wrongs and does not come from the heart. There is no forgetting of sins of the other.

However when you realized God does not even keep a record of your wrongs, He has chosen to forget your wrongs, you find that forgiveness flows from His grace and your favourite phrase will be to “Forget about it.” That my friends, is true forgiveness.

Also you can follow the refutes of  70 ways of losing your salvation by just click to this link:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/tag/70-ways-to-lose-your-salvation/)


  1. welcome back!

    this post compliments very well 1 John 1:9
    “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all sins” – 1 John 1:9

    if we do not confess, then we are not forgiven.

    1. One time you ask forgiveness for your sin, one time, at salvation. In I John 1 Paul was addressing a mixed crowd – some saved some not, he was literally giving his testimony. When Jesus died on the cross God reconciled the whole world to Himself. Every man was forgiven before we asked. Man need only receive the gift of forgiveness. Our unforgiving heart is a sin covered already by the blood of Jesus. Forgiveness NEVER depends on our ability/willingness to forgive. If it did none of us would be forgiven.

      1. It’s a nice OPINION you have there, but is it BIBLICAL? Isn’t it the same deception the Devil played on Eve, i.e.: “If you don’t obey God’s word you are not gonna die”.
        Are you not saying the same thing!!?

        Jesus states CLEARLY: You don’t forgive, I won’t forgive. What could be simpler? If our theology does not match that well then we need to change our theology!

      2. There is pre cross theology and post cross theology. Notice Paul says forgive as you have been forgiven. Forgive before you forgive is old covenant theology.

  2. An extended look at the parable in Matthew. These are my preliminary thoughts. feel free to add on:
    1) The King freely forgave
    2) The servant was self righteous, believing he could pay. Meaning he was able to attain.
    3) Even though forgiveness was given, he knew not about it and demanded righteousness (debt) from another who could not pay
    4) The Law saw this happening and the Law demands the same righteousness which the self righteous servant could not produce.
    5) It is interesting to note that the way a self righteous person demands another of what he is owed is like one who gets the other jailed up and tortured when this obviously produces zero ability to earn something for paying back. In short, it is impossible to demand rigtheousness from a person who is in poverty of righteouness.
    6) Jesus concludes the parable by answering Peter indirectly that if you want to follow the Law, then behold, you will be measured as such.
    But if you kjnow you are forgiven much (accept His free gift of righteousness and forgiveness, then you will not even be asking how many times you need to forgive.

  3. This before the cross and after the cross analogy is nonsense and has zero biblical basis. Are you saying that what Jesus said before dying on the cross changed after He died and rose again, I.e. The teaching that If u don’t forgive, your sins won’t be forgiven by God was also ‘crucified’ together with our sins? This is a horrid piece of justification to twist Jesus saying to negate the truth that if we don’t forgive the sins of others our own sins won’t be forgiven. And if our sins are not forgiven, it means we have to repent. And repentance requires us to forgive. When we refuse to forgive, the sins how then shall God forgive us? The condition for God’s forgiveness is repentance. This before after cross Theology is illogical and foolish to put it mildly.

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