The Jews and the Christians say, "We are the children of Allah, and His beloved." Say, "Why then does He punish you for your sins?" In fact, you are humans from among those He created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, and to Him is the return.
Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed. It can be ignored. To the extent that we abandon love we will feel it has abandoned us. Denying love is our only problem, and embracing it is the only answer. Through the power of love, we can let go of past history and begin again. Love heals, forgives, and makes whole.
She had a big heart. no not the ones that donate to charity or take a bullet for someone else. The kind of big heart that accepts too many faults from other people, forgives too easily, gives people more chances than they deserved; despite all that, she still wanted them to be happy. Because if they were, then she was too
Omar Ashraf Ezzeldin
Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who 'forgives' you-out of love-takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice. The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself.
Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who 'forgives' you--out of love--takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice. The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself.
You can never know if a person forgives you when you wrong them. Therefore it is existentially important to you. It is a question you are intensely concerned with. Neither can you know whether a person loves you. It's something you just have to believe or hope. But these things are more important to you than the fact that the sum of the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees. You don't think about the law of cause and effect or about modes of perception when you are in the middle of your first kiss.
When a person is evoked for who she is, not who she is not, the most often result will be the inner healing of her heart through the touch of affirmation. Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will possibly lead to the bloody, anguish gift of yourself, a love that forgives seven times seven, that keeps no record of wrong. This is the criterion, sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God.
Only it's just the same. In fact, do you know, because of all that pressure, and worry, and fear, it's worse. There aren't many men who think clearest when the stakes are highest. So people are even stupider in a war than the rest of the time. Thinking about how they'll dodge the blame, or grab the glory, or save their skins, rather than about what will actually work There's no job that forgives stupidity more than soldiering. No job that encourages it more.
First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn't believe and doesn't seek the faith. Premise that - and it's the fundamental thing - the mercy of God has no limits if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart; the question for one who doesn't believe in God lies in obeying one's conscience.
Love is uncontrollable, has no definition, limit, nor interpretation. It levitates you beyond unrecognizable heights and seeks nothing in return, but acknowledgment and liberty to rove. Love forgives, appreciates, admires, comforts, and brings endless bliss. It does not judge, critique, endanger, nor damage. Love is compassionate, exceptional, unique, and eternal
Zenaida O. Salazar
The friend who holds up before me the mirror, conceals not my smallest faults, warns me kindly, reproves me affectionately, when I have not performed my duty, he is my friend, however little he may appear so. But if a man praises and lauds me, never reproves me, overlooks my faults, and forgives them before I have repented, he is my enemy, however much he may appear my friend.
Johann Gottfried Herder
Do whatever you want, as long as you say you want to be a part of Europe. And then you'll get away with anything. Look, the Albanians do God knows what. They sell weapons and women, they take hostages. And the world forgives then, as long as they're pro-Europe and pro-NATO. They'll forgive us, too. That's the trend in today's world.
It is interesting that Jesus encounters a person, personally, forgives him, transforms him adds Him into the Church - the Body of Christ, However today, Church is getting the other way around, she is raising up a believer in Church, feeding the cup of her doctrine and then showing the person of Christ in with the veil of concocted and diseased doctrines.
Christmas is supposed to be this time when everyone is nice to one another and forgives one another and all that, but the true meaning of Christmas is presents. And in the real world, Santa's not fair. Rich kids get everything and poor kids get secondhand crap their parents bust their asses to afford. It costs money just to sit on Santa's lap.
Every day of Ramadhan Allah beautifies Jannah and says: "Soon my righteous servants will finish their work and will rest in you." On the last night of Ramadan Allah forgives the sins of His servants.' They asked: 'Is the last night Lailatul Qadr?' He said: 'No, but the worker is paid when he finishes his work.
So where does Stan fit in this equation?... We are told to meditate on scripture, even the hald that details the consequences of evil, the consequent of Jericho and all. Not to pretend out God has somehow changed since the time of Christ. Obviously, Paul's idea of admirable and noble is quite different from ours. God forgives us, Bill. We have mocked His victory by whitewashing the enemy for the sake of our neighbirs approval." No Greater Love has any man...
O you who believe! do not kill game while you are in pilgrim sanctity. Whoever of you kills any intentionally, its penalty shall be a domestic animal comparable to what he killed, as determined by two honest persons among you-an offering delivered to the Kaabah. Or he may atone by feeding the needy, or its equivalent in fasting, so that he may taste the consequences of his conduct. Allah forgives what is past. But whoever repeats, Allah will take revenge on him. Allah is Almighty, Avenger.
Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost: but not because it is lost. Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal. Love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved... Of all powers he forgives most, but he condones least: he is pleased with little, but demands all.
For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin to love from day to day more and more.
Love. Not the kind you see in the movies or hear about on the radio. The real kind. The kind that gets beaten down and bloody, yet perseveres. The kind that hopes even when hope seems foolish. The kind that can forgives. The kind that believes in healing. The kind that can sit in silence and feel renewed. The real kind of love. It's rare and we have it..
We deliberately forget because forgetting is a blessing. On both an emotional level and a spiritual level, forgetting is a natural part of the human experience and a natural function of the human brain. It is a feature, not a bug, one that saves us from being owned by our memories. Can a world that never forgets be a world that truly forgives?
There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself-it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.
Religion and science have nothing to do with each other, they're about different things, science is about the way the world works and religion is about miracles, I mean, if you ask most ordinary people in church or in a mosque why they believe, it's almost certainly got something to do with the belief that God does wonderful things, that God intervenes, that God heals the sick, that God answers prayers, God forgives sins.
I'm not saying that suffering is our fault. I believe we suffer because sin has taken hold of the world. And with sin comes selfishness and heartlessness and wickedness. But I also think there will be a day of reckoning, Nick, when God lays out all we've done and judges our actions. That's not as popular to talk about anymore, I suppose. We all like to hear about a God who loves and forgives rewards. But He isn't holy and just if He doesn't deal with all those wrongs. I would never want to stand before God without having done everything in my power to extend His mercy to the people around me whenever I could.
No, I don't believe it, " Joseph said. "From listening to my father and grandfather talk about El Shaddai, I think he's different from the gods of Egypt. I think that none of us could ever be good enough for God. I think of Him as being so good that a human can't even enter His presence. A man would die if he did. I think God's merciful, Rashidi. I think he forgives us because he loves us, just as we forgive our children because we love them. "Rashidi's eyes brightened. "A God that loves people! Now there's a new thought!
There are two gods. The god our teachers teach us about, and the God who teaches us. The god about whom people usually talk, and the God who talks to us. The god we learn to fear, and the God who speaks to us of mercy. The god who is somewhere up on high, and the God who is here in our daily lives. The god who demands punishment, and the God who forgives us our trespasses. The god who threatens us with the torments of Hell, and the God who shows us the true path. There are two gods. A god who casts us off because of our sins, and a God who calls to us with His love.
For, after all, if it is from Christ that we are to learn how God relates himself to sin, suffering, evil, and death, it would seem that he provides us little evidence of anything other than a regal, relentless, and miraculous enmity; sin he forgives, suffering he heals, evil he casts out, and death he conquers. And absolutely nowhere does Christ act as if any of these things are part of the eternal work or purposes of God.
David Bentley Hart
A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God's errands, as to palliate them with God's name... We are too ready to retailiate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what Love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
A dog "" a dog teaches us so much about love. Wordless, imperfect love; love that is constant, love that is simple goodness, love that forgives not only bad singing and embarrassments, but misunderstandings and harsh words. Love that sits and stays and stays and stays, until it finally becomes its own forever. Love, stronger than death. A dog is a four-legged reminder that love comes and time passes and then your heart breaks.
What joy is ours that the Lord not only forgives our sins ,but allows the soul to know Him, so soon as she humbles herself. The poorest wretch can humble himself and know God in the Holy Spirit. There is no need of money or posessions in order to know God, only humility. The Lord gives Himself freely, for His mercy's sake alone. I did not know this before but now every day and every hour every minute, I see clearly the mercy of God. The Lord gives peace even in sleep, but without God there is no peace in the soul.
Silouan the Athonite
Grace, on the other hand, means that God is pursuing you. That God forgives you. That God sanctifies you. When you are apathetic toward God, He is never apathetic toward you. When you don't desire to pray and talk to God, He never grows tired of talking to you. When you forget to read your Bible and listen to God, He is always listening to you. Grace means that your spirituality is upheld by God's stubborn enjoyment of you. Charis: God's Scandalous Grace for Us (p. 76).
The burden God places on each of us is to become who we are meant to be. We are most fully ourselves when Christ most fully lives in us and through us. The mother shines brightest with her child in her arms, the father when he forgives his wandering son, and the artist when he or she is drawing attention to grace, by showing the pinprick of light overcoming the darkness in the painting, or the story, or the song. The world knows darkness. Christ came into the world to show us light. I have seen it, have been blinded by it, invaded by it. I will tell its story.
I regard myself as the most wretched of all men, stinking and covered with sores, and as one who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Overcome by remorse, I confess all my wickedness to Him, ask His pardon and abandon myself entirely to Him to do with as He will. But this King, filled with goodness and mercy, far from chastising me, lovingly embraces me, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the keys of His treasures and treats me as His favorite. He talks with me and is delighted with me in a thousand and one ways; He forgives me and relieves me of my principle bad habits without talking about them; I beg Him to make me according to His heart and always the more weak and despicable I see myself to be, the more beloved I am of God.
Christ became our Brother in order to help us. Through him our brother has become Christ for us in the power and authority of the commission Christ has given him. Our brother stands before us the sign of the truth and the grace of God. He has been given to us to help us. He hears the confession of our sins in Christ's stead and he forgives our sins in Christ's name. He keeps the secret of our confession as God keeps it. When I go to my brother to confess, I am going to God.
To be good Christians you have to contemplate the suffering humanity of Jesus. "How can we bear witness? Contemplate Jesus. How can we forgive? Contemplate Jesus suffering. How can we not hate our neighbor? Contemplate Jesus suffering. How can we avoid gossiping about our neighbor? Contemplate Jesus suffering. There is no other way". These virtues are the those of the Father, who forgives us always, and Our Lady, Our Mother, shares in these virtues too.
God wants man to be His creature. Furthermore, He wants him to be His PARTNER. There is a causa Dei in the world. God wants light, not darkness. He wants cosmos, not chaos. He wants peace, not disorder. He wants man to administer and to receive justice rather than to inflict and to suffer injustice. He wants man to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh. He wants man bound and pledged to Him rather than to any other authority. He wants man to live and not to die. Because He wills these things God is Lord, Shepherd, and Redeemer of man, who in His holiness and mercy meets His creature; who judges and forgives, rejects and receives, condemns and saves.
You can have everything in the world, but if you don't have love, none of it means crap, " he said promptly. "Love is patient. Love is kind. Love always forgives, trusts, supports, and endures. Love never fails. When every star in the heavens grows cold, and when silence lies once more on the face of the deep, three things will endure: faith, hope, and love." And the greatest of these is love, " I finished. "That's from the Bible." First Corinthians, chapter thirteen, " Thomas confirmed. "I paraphrased. Father makes all of us memorize that passage. Like when parents put those green yucky-face stickers on the poisonous cleaning products under the kitchen sink.
You are angry at the God you were taught to believe in as a child. The God who is supposed to watch over you and protect you, who answers your prayers and forgives your sins. This God is just a story. Religions try to capture God, but God is beyond religion. The true God lies beyond our comprehension. We can't understand His will; He can't be explained in a book. He didn't abandon us and He will not save us. He has nothing to do with our being here. God does not change. He simply is. I don't pray to God for forgiveness or favors, I only pray to be closer to Him, and when I pray, I fill my heart with love. When I pray this way, I know that God is love. When I feel that love, I remember that we don't need angels or a heaven, because we are a part of God already.
The greatest book in the world, the Mahabharata, tells us we all have to live and die by our karmic cycle. Thus works the perfect reward-and-punishment, cause-and-effect, code of the universe. We live out in our present life what we wrote out in our last. But the great moral thriller also orders us to rage against karma and its despotic dictates. It teaches us to subvert it. To change it. It tells us we also write out our next lives as we live out our present. The Mahabharata is not a work of religious instruction. It is much greater. It is a work of art. It understands men will always fall in the shifting chasm between the tug of the moral and the lure of the immoral. It is in this shifting space of uncertitude that men become men. Not animals, not gods. It understands truth is relative. That it is defined by context and motive. It encourages the noblest of men - Yudhishtra, Arjuna, Lord Krishna himself - to lie, so that a greater truth may be served. It understands the world is powered by desire. And that desire is an unknowable thing. Desire conjures death, destruction, distress. But also creates love, beauty, art. It is our greatest undoing. And the only reason for all doing. And doing is life. Doing is karma. Thus it forgives even those who desire intemperately. It forgives Duryodhana. The man who desires without pause. The man who precipitates the war to end all wars. It grants him paradise and the admiration of the gods. In the desiring and the doing this most reviled of men fulfils the mandate of man. You must know the world before you are done with it. You must act on desire before you renounce it. There can be no merit in forgoing the not known. The greatest book in the world rescues volition from religion and gives it back to man. Religion is the disciplinarian fantasy of a schoolmaster. The Mahabharata is the joyous song of life of a maestro. In its tales within tales it takes religion for a spin and skins it inside out. Leaves it puzzling over its own poisoned follicles. It gives men the chance to be splendid. Doubt-ridden architects of some small part of their lives. Duryodhanas who can win even as they lose.
Tarun J. Tejpal
Do you know, my darling, how very much God loves you? He loves you so much that He created you and blessed you with this life. He gives you the strength to help you grow; trust in Him and this you will know. He nourishes you with food and drink, but most importantly with the words He speaks. He answers all the questions you ask and never forsakes you; that's a fact. He comforts you when you cry and heals the pain inside. He banishes all your fear because He holds your life so very dear. He keeps you safe from harm and protects you from those who would do you wrong. He forgives you for the mistakes you make; when you repent, then you find His grace. He is patient, gentle, and kind as He leads you on this path of life. Do you know, my darling, how very much God loves you? He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you and save your life. Trust in Him and find true life.
Achilles might be a good papa to the family, but he was also a killer, and he never forgives. Poke knew that, though. Bean warned her, and she knew it, but she chose Achilles for their papa anyway. Chose him and then died for it. She was like that Jesus that Helga preached about in her kitchen while they ate. She died for her people. And Achilles, he was like God. He made people pay for their sins no matter what they did. The important thing is, stay on the good side of God. That's what Helga teaches, isn't it? Stay right with God. I'll stay right with Achilles. I'll honor my papa, that's for sure, so I can stay alive until I'm old enough to go out on my own.
Orson Scott Card
This is stupid." "Look. You think how stupid people are most of the time. Old men drink. Women at a village fair. Boys throwing stones at birds. Life. The foolishness and the vanity, the selfishness and the waste. The pettiness, the silliness. You think in war it must be different. Must be better. With death around the corner, men united against hardship, the cunning of the enemy, people must think harder, faster, be... better. Be heroic. Only it's just the same. In fact do you know, because of all that pressure, and worry, and fear, it's worse. There aren't many men who think clearest when the stakes are highest. So people are even stupider in war than the rest of the time. Thinking about how they'll dodge the blame, or grab the glory, or save their skins, rather than about what will actually work. There's no job that forgives stupidity more than soldiering. No job that encourages it more.
A man worth being with is one... That never lies to you Is kind to people that have hurt him A person that respects another's life That has manners and shows people respect That goes out of his way to help people That feels every person, no matter how difficult, deserves compassion Who believes you are the most beautiful person he has ever met Who brags about your accomplishments with pride Who talks to you about anything and everything because no bad news will make him love you less That is a peacemaker That will see you through illness Who keeps his promises Who doesn't blame others, but finds the good in them That raises you up and motivates you to reach for the stars That doesn't need fame, money or anything materialistic to be happy That is gentle and patient with children Who won't let you lie to yourself; he tells you what you need to hear, in order to help you grow Who lives what he says he believes in Who doesn't hold a grudge or hold onto the past Who doesn't ask his family members to deliberately hurt people that have hurt him Who will run with your dreams That makes you laugh at the world and yourself Who forgives and is quick to apologize Who doesn't betray you by having inappropriate conversations with other women Who doesn't react when he is angry, decides when he is sad or keep promises he doesn't plan to keep Who takes his children's spiritual life very seriously and teaches by example Who never seeks revenge or would ever put another person down Who communicates to solve problems Who doesn't play games or passive aggressively ignores people to hurt them Who is real and doesn't pretend to be something he is not Who has the power to free you from yourself through his positive outlook Who has a deep respect for women and treats them like a daughter of God Who doesn't have an ego or believes he is better than anyone Who is labeled constantly by people as the nicest person they have ever met Who works hard to provide for the family Who doesn't feel the need to drink alcohol to have a good time, smoke or do drugs Who doesn't have to hang out a bar with his friends, but would rather spend his time with his family Who is morally free from sin Who sees your potential to be great Who doesn't think a woman's place has to be in the home; he supports your life mission, where ever that takes you Who is a gentleman Who is honest and lives with integrity Who never discusses your private business with anyone Who will protect his family Who forgives, forgets, repairs and restores When you find a man that possesses these traits then all the little things you don't have in common don't matter. This is the type of man worth being grateful for.
Shannon L. Alder
Do not forgive. Forgiveness accuses before it forgives. By accusing, by stating the injury, it makes the wrong irredeemable. It carries the blow all the way to culpability. Thus, all becomes irrepairable; giving and forgiving cease to be possible. For nothing saves innocence. Forgive me for forgiving you. The sole fault would be one of position: the one and only fault is to be "I, ", for it is not identity that the Self in myself brings me. This self is merely a formal necessity: it simply serves to allow the infinite relation of Self to Other. Whence the temptation (the sole temptation) to become a subject again, instead of being exposed to subjectivity without any subject, the nudity of dying space. I cannot forgive - forgiveness comes from others - but I cannot be forgiven either, if forgiveness is what calls the "I" into question and demands that I give myself, that I subject myself to the lack of subjectivity. And if forgiveness comes from others, it only comes; there is never any certitude that it can arrive, because in it there is nothing of the (sacramental) power to determine. It can only delay in the element of indecision. In The Trail, one might think that the death scene constitutes the pardon, the end of the interminable; but there is no end, since Kafka specifies that shame survives, which is to say, the infinite itself, a mockery of life as life's beyond.
Forgiveness Grows From Understanding If you find forgiving difficult, bear in mind that it does not mean giving in, but letting go. Whether or not you think someone deserves your forgiveness, you most certainly are worthy of forgiving them, because that is the only way of dissolving the karmic chains and shackles we created for ourselves and each other, in the course of many lifetimes, and of setting each other free. Holding on to anger is a way of trying to compensate for the powerlessness we feel when someone hurts us. It is important to find a way of letting go of anger, by talking with the person who hurt us, without attacking or blaming them, but by describing the effect their behaviour had on us and the world of our feelings. Listening to another's point of view helps us to see things from a different perspective. It makes us more tolerant and shows us the way to true and lasting forgiveness that comes from our heart, instead of our head. If, for any reason, it is impossible to communicate with the people who have hurt us, writing down what happened the way we experienced it can be a good release. Talking the matter over with a friend or a counsellor is another way of letting go. In my view, forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting. It is not easy to forget hurts, but even partial forgiveness is beneficial because re-living past painful incidents in our minds time and again is bad for our health, as this increases our susceptibility to illness. Forgiving is good for all parts of our being, mind, body, spirit and soul. If it is more than we can manage on our own, God and the Angels are waiting to be called upon for their assistance. After all, to err is human and to forgive is Divine. And forgiveness brings inner peace. Meditation, quiet reflections and prayers are the best ways of finding both. It's never too late to send forgiveness to anyone, especially not those who returned to the world of light ahead of us. They are neither dead nor asleep but probably more alive than we are, because they are once more fully aware of their true nature and have been shown by the ministering Angels the karmic debts they left behind. Our loving and forgiving thoughts reach them through the ethers without hindrance. If you have unresolved issues with someone or maybe several people on the other side of the veil of consciousness and long to make peace with them, go right ahead. God and the Angels are delighted whenever one of us requests their help. Ask them to show you how to resolve the issues and through this dissolve the karmic chains that still exist between you. Forgiveness is the most important ingredient in our quest for more harmonious relationships. It grows from and is a natural consequence of a growing understanding of the true purpose of our present existence and human relationships in particular. Though this can be an extremely arduous task, being merciful is essential for becoming whole - meaning healed - through the integration of all the qualities that are our Divine inheritance. This is our opportunity for learning how to take possession of each one of them and the most important one of them is learning how to love God's way and acquiring the ability of a love that understands all, forgives all and heals all. This kind of love isn't blind, but because it understands it forgives. Loving this way opens our heart's and soul's willingness for doing so. Understanding opens our inner vision to the necessity for forgiving and we perceive with great clarity that without it, we shall remain stuck in the past and cannot move on. The trouble with life is, as the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard put it: 'Life must be understood backwards, but has to be lived forwards.' How very true! The best thing about this life is that we are all allowed to make mistakes - nay, maybe we are even. Rays of Wisdom - Astrology As A Lifehelp In Relationships
Rays Of Wisdom
That Reagan shaped mechanical gadget in the metal box that made you jump like a little sissy boy, Joe, that is the heart and soul of what the flag'n'Jebus crowd is scared of so bad they can't even think about him existing.' He looked at Joe, waiting for an aha! that didn't come. 'That whole wing of modern conservatism lives for, on, about, with, in, and by the idea that everything is happening via supernatural powers and that the devil is powerful and has to be fought. Modern science totally spoils that because it gives people so much power but not from supernatural sources. No God in the instruments, you know? 'So with modern tech we can make Ronald Reagan appear to come back from the grave, but to do it with modern tech leaves no need for spirits or sacred words or miracles or any other flavor of magic. Which only re emphasizes what they're most afraid of: living in a world where nobody paints the sky blue every morning, or leaves quarters for teeth, or made platypi as a joke, or decided to sculpt the Grand Canyon, or took granny to heaven to make chocolate chip cookies for the angels. Nobody, nobody, nobody. So since their theology won't let me bring in a Robo Jesus to call forth Robo Reagan, like sort of a Robo Lazarus, and they really want this, like so many people do... well, it can't come from nobody, it has to come from somebody, and the somebody can't be God. 'Well, if the devil is anything, he's somebody.' Joe was still sputtering. 'But it... I mean, they're going to think it's coming out of Hell! Literal capital H real place Hell!' 'Well, exactly. Think about how much that proves. If there's a Hell and a Devil, there's also a Heaven and a God. Once they have their Reagan back all they have to do is pray over him a little, drive the devil out, accept the blessing of a restored Reagan on behalf of God, and they're good to go. God forgives crazier shit than that all the time.
Providence then - and this is what is most important to grasp - is not the same thing as a universal teleology. To believe in divine and unfailing providence is not to burden one's conscience with the need to see every event in this world not only as an occasion for God's grace, but as a positive determination of God's will whereby he brings to pass a comprehensive design that, in the absence of any single one of these events, would not have been possible. It may seem that this is to draw only the finest of logical distinction, one so fine indeed as to amount to little more than a sophistry. Some theologians - Calvin, for instance - have denied that the distinction between what God wills and what he permits has any meaning at all. And certainly there is no unanimity in the history of Christian exegesis on this matter. Certain classic Western interpretations of Paul's treatment of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and of the hardened heart of Israel in Romans 9 have taken it as a clear statement of God's immediate determination of his creatures' wills. But in the Eastern Christian tradition, and in the thought of many of the greatest Western theologians, the same argument has often been understood to assert no more than that God in either case allowed a prior corruption of the will to run its course, or even - like a mire in the light of the sun - to harden the outpouring of God's fiery mercy, and always for the sake of a greater good that will perhaps redound even to the benefit of the sinner. One might read Christ's answer to his disciples' question regarding why a man had been born blind - 'that the works of God should be made manifest in him' (John 9:3) - either as a refutation or as a confirmation of the distinction between divine will and permission. When all is said and done, however, not only is the distinction neither illogical nor slight; it is an absolute necessity if - setting aside, as we should, all other judgments as superstitious, stochastic, and secondary - we are to be guided by the full character of what is revealed of God in Christ. For, after all, if it is from Christ that we are to learn how God relates himself to sin, suffering, evil, and death, it would seem that he provides us little evidence of anything other than a regal, relentless, and miraculous enmity: sin he forgives, suffering he heals, evil he casts out, and death he conquers. And absolutely nowhere does Christ act as if any of these things are part of the eternal work or purposes of God.
David Bentley Hart
Manifest in this trade (commercial sale of indulgences via bankers) at the same time was a pernicious tendency in the Roman Catholic system, for the trade in indulgences was not an excess or an abuse but the direct consequence of the nomistic degradation of the gospel. That the Reformation started with Luther's protest against this traffic in indulgences proves its religious origin and evangelical character. At issue here was nothing less than the essential character of the gospel, the core of Christianity, the nature of true piety. And Luther was the man who, guided by experience in the life of his own soul, again made people understand the original and true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Like the 'righteousness of God, ' so the term 'penitence' had been for him one of the most bitter words of Holy Scripture. But when from Romans 1:17 he learned to know a 'righteousness by faith, ' he also learned 'the true manner of penitence.' He then understood that the repentance demanded in Matthew 4:17 had nothing to do with the works of satisfaction required in the Roman institution of confession, but consisted in 'a change of mind in true interior contrition' and with all its benefits was itself a fruit of grace. In the first seven of his ninety-five theses and further in his sermon on 'Indulgences and Grace' (February 1518), the sermon on 'Penitence' (March 1518), and the sermon on the 'Sacrament of Penance' (1519), he set forth this meaning of repentance or conversion and developed the glorious thought that the most important part of penitence consists not in private confession (which cannot be found in Scripture) nor in satisfaction (for God forgives sins freely) but in true sorrow over sin, in a solemn resolve to bear the cross of Christ, in a new life, and in the word of absolution, that is, the word of the grace of God in Christ. The penitent arrives at forgiveness of sins, not by making amends (satisfaction) and priestly absolution, but by trusting the word of God, by believing in God's grace. It is not the sacrament but faith that justifies. In that way Luther came to again put sin and grace in the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation. The forgiveness of sins, that is, justification, does not depend on repentance, which always remains incomplete, but rests in God's promise and becomes ours by faith alone.