The Good News of Jesus Christ

Category: Forgiving Page 1 of 3

Forgiveness for Abigail

A person can ask for forgiveness for another person’s sins, especially when such sins affect her or him. This can save the person who did not sin from destruction. But the sinner can still get punished.

If we look at Abigail, the wife of Nabal, we see an interesting story about forgiveness. Abigail asks for forgiveness. But this request is for something her husband did. David gave protection to Nabal’s farmers against attacks. In return, David asked Nabal to “share any provisions you might have” (1 Samuel 25:8). But Nabal refused. So David went with 400 men to kill Nabal and his family. But Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard what her husband did. And she met David before he reached Nabal. She met David with the provisions. This is when Abigail said, “Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant” (1 Samuel 25:28). Here Abigail asks for forgiveness. But what wrong has she done? Abigail has done nothing wrong. She asks for forgiveness for the actions of her husband Nabal, who refused David. For Nabal returned David’s protection by not giving David’s men provisions. So Abigail asks for forgiveness for Nabal’s sin. Nabal did not know this happened. But when he found out, God killed him. But Abigail and her household were spared.

The God of Joshua

God forgives people when their life shows they really want to live how God wants them to live. So God’s forgiveness is conditional.

Since we know God forgives who he wants, we know he does not forgive who he does not want to forgive. Again, God’s forgiveness depends on his will. And as stated before, forgiveness is not a given. Yet even when someone asks for God to forgive her or him, forgiveness is not a given. This means a person can ask God to forgive her or him and not get forgiveness from God. Asking God to forgive us is not the only condition for forgiveness. We can see this when the leader of the Israelites, Joshua, advises the Israelites how they should live. Joshua tells the Israelites “God will not forgive their sins” (Joshua 24:19). But this claim is not a broad statement about forgiveness. It relates to something specific. For Joshua later states the condition of forgiveness. He says, “If you abandon the LORD and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you” (Joshua 24:20). In other words, God’s forgiveness depends on a sincere walk with God. That means it is futile to ask for God to forgive us while living an evil life. In that case, God does not listen to a request for forgiveness. So God does not forgive sin by request only. A person’s life must be in line with such a request of forgiveness.

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