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In Matthew 18:23-35, the parable of the unforgiving debtor, it tells the story of a debtor who owes a king money. The king forgives the debtor, yet the debtor doesn't forgive the the one who owed them. The king responds with throwing the original debtor in jail.

If the debtor was forgiven, then how could he be thrown in jail?

Psalm 103:12 says:

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

If the debtors transgressions are gone ... ?

In a modern legal context this would called 'double jeopardy'.


migration rejected from Mar 5 '14 at 19:44

This question came from our site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

closed as too broad by wax eagle Mar 5 '14 at 19:44

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This has been migrated from BH.SE. – Dan Mar 5 '14 at 16:16
According to whom? – wax eagle Mar 5 '14 at 16:17
Some people say that when you mix Psalm 103 and Matthew 18 means 'once forgiven always forgiven' so you may have to specify which doctrine you are questioning – WelcomeNewUsers Mar 5 '14 at 16:39
This needs some kind of objective standard for truth to be here. – wax eagle Mar 5 '14 at 19:44
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a parable (an earthly representation of a Heavenly concept) not an actual event.

Jesus told us many times that we cannot expect God to forgive us our sins unless we also forgive others for the wrongs they do to us.

All scripture is quoted from the King James version.

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

It must be important for it to be in 3 of the 4 Gospels. Even beyond that Jesus also said:

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

This tells me that we should not expect God to treat us better than we treat each other.

Luke 6:36 and 37

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

As a Christian (which means 'little Christ) We should strive to be as much like him as possible. Yet the good thing about it is as often as we mess up if we are truly sorry and ask for forgiveness he will give it.

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Notice I said truly sorry, that does not mean you can intentionally sin and just ask for forgiveness.. That doesn't work!

See also other Matthew 18 Q&A's at BH.SE: "How did a prisoner pay back debt?"; and "What does “torture” mean in Matthew 18:34?" – Davïd Sep 16 '15 at 22:36

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