Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guthrie, 2009. Chapter 7, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Give You a Heart for Forgiveness”

Chapter 7, “Hear Jesus Saying, ‘I Will Give You a Heart for Forgiveness” pp. 91-106

Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is essential to the Christian life. Guthrie emphasizes Jesus’ demand that we forgive others. I observe that her exegesis is again based on the NLT version, which does not reflect the original, choosing to add a qualifier that we forgive if we are holding a grudge. The text simply says if we have anything against someone we must forgive. Guthrie pushes our stubborn unforgiveness which is less forceful than what Jesus says, but she suggests we are all stubborn.

What of times when we would justifiably hold something against someone? Maybe we hve been hurt, possibly badly. Jesus says we are forgive. [At this point, Guthrie uses the NIV translation of Mark 11:25, which is much closer to the original.] Jesus, in fact, is willing to give his own life for forgiveness, generously, regardless of the cost, regardless of our sin. It is this grace of God which motivates us and enables us to forgive others.

Guthrie hints at, but does not come out and say, that the Christian life is one of repentance and forgiveness. Yet all the while she keeps coming back to our need to forgive. Jesus is present as the one who helps us do better, but not as our forgiver. This finally leaves us working out our own salvation rather than receiving a salvation based on grace. It is salvation by works. This is not the comfort for the soul in anguish I would expect to find in a Christian book chapter about forgiveness.

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