This article deals with the nature of sin and forgiveness, as well as prayer for forgiveness and how God answers it.
God has given and allows humans to exercise free will. Sin occurs at the soul level, when one exercises their will contrary to the Father’s will based on wrong desires. These opposing motives affect the body, resulting in acts corresponding to the sinful thoughts and cravings.
God has decreed a way that will free the soul and body from sin. It consists of eliminating the wrong appetites and desires that lead to sinful acts. Only then will the soul come into its natural condition of harmony with God’s will. Since man is the initiator of sin, man must also be the actor and initiating force to bring about these changes in his will. God is, however, very willing to help in this process and to forgive sin.
Forgiveness involves two steps. Firstly, the person has to realize that sin is the result of thoughts and deeds out of harmony with God’s will and laws. Secondly, effort and struggle are necessary to align with the divine laws and to get rid of the recollections of sin which cause suffering.
Prayer for forgiveness involves asking the Father for help in turning away from wrong thoughts and in exercising their will in accord with God’s will. The answer to such prayer does not affect or remove the person’s sins, but has a powerful effect on their state and soul. The person will be influenced in such a way that it will be much easier for them to change their wrong appetites and desires. The individual will also be better able to remove from their recollections acts and thoughts causing their souls to be in a state of sin and to suffer as a result. As the person’s soul and life come into harmony with God’s law, they will forget their sinful desires and acts and find true forgiveness.
So, God doesn’t forgive by the mere act of pronouncing forgiveness or by an instant blotting out of sins, thereby removing the condition of the soul that causes the disharmony. Neither can any humans pronounce forgiveness on behalf of God. Many have been deceived by the teachings of popes, priests and churches, believing they were forgiven, and then realizing in the spirit world that they were not and having to suffer consequences of their wrong acts.
Jesus’ teaching included the good news of a yet higher level of forgiveness. In the Old Testament, this was not understood – the principle was “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” – the Law of Compensation (cause and effect) was in full force. By contrast, Jesus taught about forgiveness as that operation of the Divine Mind which relieves man of the penalties of his sins and permits him to turn from his evil thoughts and deeds through seeking the Love of the Father. It is the Divine Love, transforming the soul from divine image to divine likeness and resulting in the New Birth, which qualifies one for residence in the Celestial Kingdom.
When a person repents and earnestly prays for forgiveness and renewal (Regeneration) and for the Divine Love, a greater law, the Law of Forgiveness and Love, which supersedes the Law of Compensation, comes into effect. The Divine Love gradually replaces sin in the soul. Since Love is the fulfilment of the law, there is no further need of forgiveness because there is no sin to forgive. So in the Celestial context, forgiveness becomes unnecessary.
Reference: New Testament Revelations of Jesus of Nazareth, pgs. 426-434
Photo: Cheryl Empey
- Origin and Nature of Evil
- Evil Spirits
- Sin and its Remedy
- Potential Good within Evil
- Unpardonable Sin
- Cause and Effect
- Suffering – Easing the Pain
- What Celestial Spirits Think About War
- End of the World