Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Parable with a Warning to Forgiven Christians: You Can Fall from Grace

Every Christian should carefully consider the warning Jesus gave in His parable on forgiveness in Matthew 18. He is answering Peter's question about how often Peter should forgive others, and extends the answer with a parable showing that those who have had much forgiven can lose that forgiveness and face torment instead.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
If the grace of Christ that we once received is to remain effective in us, if we are to preserve the confidence of salvation that we once had, we must endure to the end in following Christ and loving and forgiving others.

Growing in such love and charity is one of the essential steps "to make your calling and election sure" and to ensure that our forgiven state is not "forgotten," according to Peter in 2 Peter 1:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.


Sprite said...

Is this admitting that you worship a different Jesus than the "once saved, always saved" Jesus of certain modern movements?

Eric Nielson said...

Amazing what we can learn when we consider the parables and the scriptures as a whole.

Anonymous said...

So, how do we explain the Second Annointing?

Mark D. said...

The "second anointing" is not the same thing as having one's calling and election made sure. The latter is known by personal revelation. The former is an ordinance that is apparently intended to formalize the idea.

So if the inspiration of the appropriate leaders is reliable, the latter implies the former. I wouldn't be so confident about the former implying the latter.

In addition, I don't think there is any reasonable basis for concluding that one can't sin his way out of either state.

Faith said...

The servant did not have his lord's compassion and grace towards his fellow servant.

Whoever believes in the Lord was called by the Lord, receive and understand the Lord's love and grace.

Whenever I read this parable, my mind always goes to the "but of you, it is required to forgive all man."

I thought it was a hard thing to do, to "forgive all man" even if they don't come to say "oh, I'm sorry."

But now, I understand that it is for our sake that he requires us to forgive all man. We are burden free, hate free. So the light of Christ could shine in us.

"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I think the point is to keep the spirit of the Lord alive in us, if the spirit is in us, loving,kindness and forgiving are the fruits of the spirit. If we don't have the fruit, we reject the spirit. That is a sin after we have received so much from the Lord and most important of all, His holy spirit.

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks for pointing that out in the parable. I hadn't made that connection.

Unknown said...

I was listening to a local Christian talk radio show here in North Carolina. The guest was a pastor who explained that he "thought" he had been saved as a teenager, but after going through quite a rebelious college era, re-found the Lord and this time was truly saved. He recognized that what he thought was a confirmation of his salvation before was just the excitement and emotion of a revival meeting.

The obvious question (which was never asked) was "How do you know that in 10 years from now, you won't have another experience in which you realize that now you REALLY ARE saved and this one is just a false hope like the first one was."

When the question is asked, what happens if a Christian who has been saved becomes a Mormon, the answer is always, he wasn't truly saved to start with. Thats the problem with Once-Saved-Always-Saved.

Cindy said...

Did the servant who was first forgiven ever truly accept the gift? Did he ask for forgiveness or for more time to pay his debt?

Anonymous said...

Can we forgive abuse at the hands of Church Leaders that has resulted in severe depression?
When I think of attending Church I immediately think of hurting myself. How can I forgive those whose hatred has hurt me more than a beating ever could?

Faith said...

The servant who was first forgiven did not ask forgiveness directly, but fell down and worshiped the lord and asked for the lord's patience.

It's the lord's compassion made the servant free. The lord gave much more than the servant had asked.

And I think the servant did accept what the lord had offered him, because he went out.

Faith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faith said...

Sorry, I made some spelling mistakes on the last post, and I don't know how to edit it, so I deleted it.


I'm so sorry to hear that... :(

Trust the Lord Jesus, He loves us, He will heal us, and made us strong...

I'd say come unto Christ, not the church leaders.

Forgiveness is the first step toward healing.

I never shared this, but I want to tell you the power of forgiveness.

I never thought I could ever forgive my step father who tried to rape me when I was 17, it was definitely a nightmare, my heart still beats fast when I'm writing about it now, but I do not hold any grudge anymore. It hurt so much, my heart, my feelings, but I was healed, by our savior.

It is not easy, but "with God, everything is possible."

Forgiveness is the first step...

Church leaders are not Christ... Trust our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cindy said...


You said "The lord gave much more than the servant had asked."

It sure does seem as if the Lord offered more, but did the servant really accept the more?

If the servant would have fully accepted what was offered wouldn't he have responded to his servant with loving kindness? Don't you think that is why his Lord responded with such anger? Wasn't His plan was that the second servant would have been able to experience forgiveness because the first was forgiven by the Lord?

Doesn't it seem as though God was mad because He wanted to offer the servant complete forgiveness from his debts, but instead he asked only for patience so that he could pay it off on his own?

Isn't that the message? That we can't enter the kingdom of God unless we truly admit our need and fully accept forgiveness from God? And don't our actions bear out whether or not we have accepted the gift for ourselves?

Won't we all walk around forgiving others of their debts to us because we have truly accepted the forgiveness of our own debts and praising God for His loving kindness?

Faith said...

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for pointing out the message that way, I've never thought about it like that.

Your message led my mind to self-forgiveness.

The servant did not want to be forgiven, but to pay back his debt. So he did not understand or realize the lord's compassion and forgiveness, thus he did not or could not forgive his fellow servant.

I am not sure if this is what you mean. But this is what I get from the message you pointed out.

When we repent, we not only should expect the lord's forgiveness, but also should truly accept His forgiveness. We can only truly accept His forgiveness by forgiving ourselves. When we forgive ourselves, we can fully understand and be thankful for His loving kindness. Then we have His love, His grace, His kindness with us, we have enough loving kindness with us to walk around and passing them to others.

Thank you for the message!

Faith said...

But on the other hand, I think the first servant did accept the offer from his lord, even just the part to give him time to pay back his debt.

Then why couldn't he do the same to his fellow servant?

Could that be why the lord was made at him?

Maybe his lord did not even expect him to fully forgive his fellow servant, but also to give his fellow servant time to pay him back? Instead, this first servant showed no mercy no compassion to his fellow servant, not even the part he has received.

Cindy said...

Good point Kristelle. And isn't that also the whole point that Peter is making? That we must make sure of our election; our position with God because of Christ?

It seems like Peter is saying that if we have truly accepted complete forgiveness of our sins from God, then "...if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

It doesn't sound like the things (fruits of the spirit) were in the first servant, so he must not have fully accepted his election, or his confidence in our salvation as Jeff says. His works would have demonstrated his joy and freedom in knowing his debt was removed by his Lord. Instead, his works sure seem to show that he never fully accepted freedom from his debts, don't they?

mkprr said...

I recently listened to a debate between two evangelical non LDS Christians on this very subject. One taking the "once saved always saved" position, and the other taking the position that enduring in faith to the end is essential. Thought some here might find it interesting.


It appears the argument about this very important and simple doctrine has been going on for over 1600 years with parties from both camps understanding the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

mkprr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

"It appears the argument about this very important and simple doctrine has been going on for over 1600 years with parties from both camps understanding the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."

Well said sir!