God Does Not Save Unrepentant People

When Christ prayed from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), was He saying He forgives unrepentant people? 

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said "Father Forgive Them" from the Cross
Let's unpack Christ's statement:
1. If a believer had killed Jesus with full knowledge of who Christ was, there could be no forgiveness (Hebrews 6:4-6).

2. But the Roman soldiers and jealous Jewish leaders didn't understand what they were doing (Acts 3:17). 

3. If one of those responsible for his death later understood who Christ was, they would probably think their salvation was impossible. I believe that's why Christ forgave that particular sin from the cross.(1)

4. But any of those forgiven of that sin would most certainly repent of it if they later came to Christ. Repentance is a non-negotiable step in our salvation (Matthew 4:17; Acts 3:19; Acts 26:20; 1 John 1:9-10).(2)

Why is it important to understand this concept? Because some people teach that this passage proves Christ forgives and saves everyone, whether they repent or not.(3)
(1)  It's very likely that some of the soldiers who crucified Christ later came to believe in Him (Matthew 27:54). I imagine His words from the cross assured them they could be saved. The Apostle Paul also committed violent acts against Christ before his conversion (Acts 9:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:13).
(2)  After we become Christians, we should repent whenever we sin. However, believers need not worry that they won’t go to heaven if they die before they are able to repent of some sin because believers’ sins (past, present, and future) are completely covered by the death of Christ (Colossians 2:13-14). If it were possible for a believer to walk away from Christ as explained in Hebrews 6:4-6, that sin would not be forgiven.
(3) The popular book The Shack teaches this error. On page 225, the Shack god says, “In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.”

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  1. Personal question : I have an ex husband that was very cruel verbally to our oldest daughter. she refuses to speak to him and visa versa. He is a christian, but she is not. He is very legalistic and believes he was in the right. I was in the middle, but very afraid of any repercussions from him, so unfortunately, I said nothing while the abuse was going on, because he did it to me too. I am a Christian and have since apologized to her. She wants nothing to do with Jesus now. Why did he do this to her and I but not the younger two children? He now tries to keep the youngest from visiting me when this one is also here. How should I act? Why do you think he does/did this? His dad did the same to his sister...will our son behave that way too if he has children?

    1. Hi Jen,
      I'm sorry for your situation. It sounds like it was very difficult for you and your daughter.

      It's hard to know why someone chooses to hurt another person. Perhaps the only answer is that we are sinners. If your husband is genuinely following Christ, he is probably not listening to the Holy Spirit's conviction in this area. I would encourage you to pray that he will begin to see what he is doing.

      You've done the right things to ask your daughter's forgiveness, and I encourage you to keep loving her and I even encourage you to repeat your apology from time to time if she needs to be assured that you regret what was done to her. Perhaps as you continue to show her your love, she will open up to Jesus.

      No, I don't think you need to worry about your son. Your husband's father made the wrong choice and your husband made the wrong choice. But your son can make the right choice, especially if he knows the Lord.

      God bless you, Jen.
      Again, I am sorry for your suffering.

  2. This is amazing. You are so on target. We are finally coming out of the fog of lies and deception that the church has unknowingly embraced on many subjects and especially this topic. God bless you are you for doing the foot work for us busy Christians. This is so encouraging.


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