Unconditionally Hating Demons

pray for satan

Those of us who’ve grown up in a christian culture have probably all been taught to love everyone and even forgive and pray for our enemies.

Yet somehow demons have managed to be excluded from the definitions of the words “everyone” and “enemies.”

We were not taught to love demons.

We were not taught to forgive demons.

We were not taught to pray for demons.

Why?

Aren’t demons “someone”?

Aren’t they our enemy?

How come they are exempt from what Jesus instructed his disciples to do?

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).

And why were we taught things that the scriptures in fact never do say, such as:

God doesn’t love demons.

Demons can’t repent. 

Demons can’t be forgiven. 

overboard

If God created demons, he must have initially loved them. But if God’s love for them could change after they turned bad, why should we be any different?

Why do we think that demons, unlike us, cannot change their ways? Why do we think that it’s “too late” for them? The scriptures never say this. According to Jesus anyone who believes in him can gain eternal life, and his reasoning is that he didn’t come to condemn but to save (John 3:16-17).

Why do people cringe and even become outraged at the suggestion of forgiving demons?

People often say “God is love!” and proceed to describe him with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. That very segment says that love keeps NO record of wrongs. Most people have no problem applying that line to humans. But…. what if there are no boundaries to love? After all, Paul did note in Romans 8:19 that creation (not just humans) eagerly awaits the manifestation of the children of God. Or maybe when in Mark’s account of the life is Jesus (Mark 16:15), he mentions that Jesus asked those with him to preach the gospel to ALL creation (again, not all humans). Do we really think that we can stretch the goodness of God so far that he interrupts us and says “Okay, okay I know I’m good/gracious/merciful/loving and all but come on guys, I’m not THAT good… sheesh!”? – Daniel Kotin

I’m done being angry. It’s no fun. When anger is directed toward demons, people call it “spiritual warfare” and act as if it is a fruit of the Spirit, but it’s not.

I’ve been more at peace in my heart since I’ve extended pardon to the “spirits in prison,” just like Jesus did (1 Peter 3:18-20).

devilAccording to Jesus, we are the ones who determine whether demons are forgiven or not.

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:23).

So I choose to forgive all demons.

I forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

I choose to believe that God will indeed be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28) and that God’s redemption really is powerful enough to “restore all things,” even demons (Acts 3:21).

When evil shall have been some day annihilated in the long revolutions of the ages, nothing shall be left outside the world of goodness, but that even from those evil spirits shall rise in harmony the confession of Christ’s Lordship. – Gregory of Nyssa

I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its king, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures. – St. Jerome

In the end God’s patient love will succeed in making all his creatures weary of their unfaithfulness. The most stubborn will eventually give in and consent to love him, and at last even his enemy death will be overcome. – Origen

The devils themselves after a set time expired should be loosed from their torments, and become bright angels in heaven, as they were before. – Origen

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Also see:

The Salvation of Satan by C. A. Patrides
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2708524

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Quit Forgiving

Many seem to think that God was unable to forgive us until the murder of Jesus. Indeed, this is how many understand words like “holiness,” “righteousness,” and “justice” that we find in the scriptures – that forgiveness requires blood. They might be thinking of Hebrews 9:22 – “Indeed, under the Law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

Notice, however, that this holds only “under the Law.” Consider also that God has never been under the Law.

If we say God couldn’t forgive people until Jesus paid for their sins with blood, we limit him by something outside himself. If we say he could but didn’t, he’s less forgiving than he has commanded us to be.

Jesus opposed the prevailing understanding of limited forgiveness and taught to forgive always, no strings attached (Matthew 18:21-22). This is in contrast to the Law, which taught punishment and revenge, “an eye for an eye.” If God had to punish before being able to forgive, he would be the worst at forgiving. Further, if God will remain eternally unforgiving of people, as some christians believe, then perhaps he is the most unforgiving of all! Some people are concerned for the people who will remain eternally unforgiven, but since unforgiveness hurts most the one who is unforgiving, I would be concerned about the well-being of such an unforgiving God!

Perhaps the christian conception of redemption is confused.

I propose that God is not in the forgiveness business.

Forgiveness is good, but there is something better than forgiveness, and that is choosing to never be offended in the first place.

The reason the scriptures use the language of “forgiveness” so often is not because God was offended by us and then forgave us, but because that was the paradigm of God held by people during that time (especially the Jews with their elaborate sacrificial system). It was a tool to help people understand that God’s not angry and in fact is in a very good mood.

So.

I encourage you to quit forgiving.

More precisely, I encourage you to stop holding things against people so that the need to forgive disappears completely.

Unforgiveness is choosing to entertain thoughts about a wrongdoing someone has done against you. The moment you decide that someone else’s action has created a need for you to forgive them, you have created unforgiveness inside yourself. Again, unforgiveness, even having something that you can forgive, hurts you the most.

Of course, if you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone, forgive! But we would do well to follow God’s example and remember people’s sin no more (Hebrews 8:12).

No more sin remembering -> no more unforgiveness -> no more forgiving necessary

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Also see:

Does Forgiveness Require Blood?
http://hearhim.net/wordpress/2013/08/13/does-forgiveness-require-blood/

The Union of Justice and Mercy

Many people talk about God as though he may be merciful but must be just. In other words, God cannot show mercy until justice is served. Mercy is optional, but justice is necessary.

God has to be just, they maintain, but he does not have to be merciful. He has to punish unforgiven sin, but he does not have to forgive sin. This is a common view among theologians, but it ought to be seen as problematic for a Christian view of God. To subordinate divine love to divine justice so that God has to be just but does not have to love is odd for a Christian who confesses that God is love. – Robin Parry

Further, justice is commonly understood as “getting what you deserve” and is thus seen as being opposed to mercy, which is commonly understood to be “not getting what you deserve.”

This is silly at best. If God requires that justice (in the above sense) be served before he can show mercy, then he’s not merciful at all. If justice has already been fulfilled, then since there is nothing left that is “deserved” it’s impossible to be merciful (i.e. stopping someone from getting what they deserve).

justiceJust what decides “what you deserve” anyways? Does God possess some divine formula for calculating how much punishment to deal out in accordance to people’s bad behavior? Actually, there is something like a punishment formula in the scriptures that matches certain crimes with certain punishments – the Law. The Law does not apply to us, however, since Jesus fulfilled it once and for all.

God does not have some judicial constraint inherent in his nature that forces him to punish sin. God is free; he does what he wants. He moves according to the desires of his heart, not according to some moral standard that bounds him.

Further, God’s justice and mercy are not in opposition to one another; they are in union with one another. As George MacDonald put it, “I believe that justice and mercy are simply one and the same thing.” Justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin. When God shows mercy, He is showing justice. When God shows justice, He is showing mercy. (This is arguably true of all God’s characteristics; this idea is called divine simplicity.)

And where is the biblical warrant, I would ask, for the popular idea that mercy and justice are separate and distinct attributes of God? Where does the Bible even hint that God’s mercy permits something that his justice does not, or that his justice demands something that his mercy does not? Christians sometimes picture God, I fear, almost as if he were a schizophrenic whose justice pushes him in one direction and whose mercy pushes him in another. – Thomas Talbott

The biblical description of justice is not punishment for wrongdoing. In fact, Jesus rejected this retaliatory understanding of justice: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:38-41). A few verses later Jesus explains the reason why we should think this way: “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).

If God’s justice is not retributive, then what is it? According to scriptures it is restoration of what has been stolen, redemption of what has been lost, and reconciliation of what has been broken. It means “to set things right.” Justice is described as showing grace and mercy and compassion to one another. True justice is to set captives free.

No, divine justice does not require payback. To think so is to superimpose our own flawed human sense of justice onto the mind and heart of God. Divine justice is very different. A biblical study of what it means to “bring justice” does not mean to bring retribution at all, but rather to bring healing and reconciliation. Justice means to make things right. All through the prophetic bible passages, justice is associated with caring for others, as something that is not in conflict with mercy, but rather an expression of it. Biblically, justice is God’s saving action at work for all that are oppressed. – Steve McVey

Check out these verses:

“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).

“Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free” (Psalm 146:7).

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed'” (Jeremiah 21:12).

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another'” (Zechariah 7:9).

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18).

Man’s definition of justice (the justice of law) is that when a man murders another man, the murderer gets punished. God’s definition of justice (the justice of grace) is that when a man murders another man, God resurrects the murdered man and brings healing, forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation of relationship to the two men. – Christian Erickson

There’s a reason that, unlike the Old Testament, justice is scarcely mentioned in the New Testament – justice has been servedEverything has been made right through Jesus’ finished work of the cross.

Happy Confession – Acknowledging Your Forgiveness

confessless

unforgiveness

Confession and forgiveness are related topics that have been written about plenty elsewhere. Here I will summarize the good news regarding these subjects and provide links for those who wish to look into matters in more detail.

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Confession isn’t about admitting sins. It’s about confessing your true identity. Your old sinful self has been crucified with Christ, is dead, and no longer exists.

Confessing sins doesn’t bring forgiveness. We confess because we are already forgiven, and our confession is that we already are forgiven.

We have been forgiven completely. God does not remember any of the offenses we have committed. He’s not angry at all, and never was. He’s in a good mood, always.

There is no more shame and there is no more guilt. We don’t need to be conscious of sins because they have been cleansed.

Confession is not something you do in order to get forgiveness. It’s something you do in order to celebrate the forgiveness you got for nothing. Nobody can earn forgiveness…Confession is only to bring sins to the light of Jesus and to see clearly that they were forgiven all along. – Robert Capon

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To Confess Or Not To Confess
http://www.charismaministries.org/category/confession/

Do you have to confess a sin for it to be forgiven?
http://www.charismaministries.org/do-you-have-to-confess-a-sin-before-it-can-be-forgiven/

Confession: Here we go again!
http://www.charismaministries.org/confession-here-we-go-again/

Do Christians need to confess their sin? Part 1
http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/christians-confess-sin-1/

Do Christians need to confess their sin? Part 2
http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/christians-confess-sin-2/

12 Reasons Why Christians Don’t Need to Confess-to-be-Forgiven
http://escapetoreality.org/2011/01/14/12-reasons-why-christians-don%E2%80%99t-need-to-confess-to-be-forgiven/

Completely Forgiven? When Confession is Bad for You
http://escapetoreality.org/2010/02/18/completely-forgiven-why-confession-is-bad-for-you/

Is Forgiveness Something God Does or Gives?
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/06/20/is-forgiveness-something-god-does-or-gives/

Healthy vs Unhealthy Confession
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/10/28/healthy-vs-unhealthy-confession/

6 Examples of Confession in the Bible
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/11/04/6-examples-of-confession-in-the-bible/

Why Confession is Still Good for You
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/10/25/why-confession-is-still-good-for-you/

1 John 1:9 – Something Old, Something New
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/06/08/1-john-1v9/

Are Sinners Forgiven Too?
http://escapetoreality.org/2011/10/18/are-sinners-forgiven-too/

Son or Sinner – What Are You Confessing?
http://escapetoreality.org/2011/01/10/son-or-sinner-%E2%80%93-what-are-you-confessing/

Why Do People Need to Receive the Gift of Forgiveness if the Whole World is Already Forgiven?
http://escapetoreality.org/2012/07/11/why-do-people-need-to-receive-forgiveness/

Are We Completely Forgiven?
http://escapetoreality.org/2011/10/26/are-we-completely-forgiven/

The Axe of Forgiveness
http://escapetoreality.org/2010/12/24/the-axe-of-forgiveness/

God Doesn’t Do Half-Jobs: Why Partial Forgiveness Is Completely Bogus
http://escapetoreality.org/2010/04/09/god-doesn%e2%80%99t-do-half-jobs-why-partial-forgiveness-is-completely-bogus/

Where Does Forgiveness Come From? And Why Does it Matter?
http://escapetoreality.org/2010/04/19/where-does-forgiveness-come-from-and-why-does-it-matter/

Complete Confession
http://siggit81.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/a-complete-confession/

Forgiven!
http://gracewalkministries.blogspot.com/2013/02/forgiven.html