Radical Forgiveness


Radical Forgiveness
Brian Zahnd

When Jesus calls his disciples to take up their own cross and follow him, he means that his disciples are not merely to admire him, but to actively imitate him. And what did Jesus do? He voluntarily abandoned the option of violent retaliation, responding to deep injustice with nothing but forgiving love. On the cross Jesus absorbed sin that was violently sinned into him, refusing to call for the “twelve legions” of retaliation. Instead, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgiven them, for they know not what they do.” With this act of radical forgiveness Jesus broke the bloody cycle of violent revenge. Jesus shed his own blood rather than shed the blood of his enemies. By the blood of Jesus we have been redeemed from sin — the sinful way that Cain and his successors organized human civilization. This act of cruciform love is the epicenter of Christianity. The cross gives the world a new organizing principle. Instead of being organized around an axis of power enforced by violence, the world has now been re-founded around an axis of love expressed in forgiveness. This is what we mean when we speak of the salvation of the cross.

Our own imitation of this kind of cruciform love is demanding, but nothing less than this is authentic Christian discipleship. Sadly, for the most part, the world is still waiting to see this kind of radical discipleship taught and lived out with any consistency by the Church. This should also make it clear why any talk of being a “Christian nation” — whether claimed by Russia, Spain, England, Germany, the United States, or any other body politic — is sheer propaganda. For if as a matter of policy an institution is committed to violent retaliation, whatever else it may be, that institution by definition cannot be called Christlike.



My book Unconditional? The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness is now out in paperback under a new title and with a new cover: Radical Forgiveness: God’s Call to Unconditional Love

The post above is not an excerpt from the book, but a 300 word thought that came to me today while giving a radio interview on the subject of radical forgiveness.

For some reason it also made me think of this…

  • steve


    Faith only advocates are very inconsistent when is comes to explaining the meaning of for the remission of sins that is found in the Scriptures.

    Acts 2:38 The Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)

    Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (NKJV)

    Matthew 26:28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which shed for many for the remission of sins. (NKJV)

    Faith only advocates proclaim that for in Acts 2:38 actually means because of. In other words the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost repented and were baptized in water because their sin had already been forgiven. Were they save by “faith only?”

    Did John the Baptist baptized because those he baptized had already been forgiven? Did for mean because of? Were they saved the very minute they repented. Were they saved by “repentance only?”

    Did Jesus shed His blood because the sins of men had already been forgiven? Did for mean because of? Are all men saved by the “the crucifixion of Jesus only?”

    The same word, for, was used in Acts 2:38, Mark 1:4, and Matthew 26:28. The Greek word eis has not been translated as because of in Acts 2:38, Mark 1:4, or Matthew 26:28. There is not one single translation that translates eis as because of. Are all translations in error? Is God not powerful enough to have His word translated correctly?

    Forgiveness of sins followed the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

    Forgiveness of sins followed those who were baptized by John the Baptist.

    Forgiveness of sins, under the New Covenant, follows being baptized in water.


    Men are saved because of God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8.
    Men are saved because of the shed blood of Jesus. Matt. 26:28.
    Men are saved because of faith. John 3:16.
    Men are saved because of their repentance. Acts 3:19.
    Men are saved because of their confession. Romans 10:9.
    Men are saved because of their immersion in water. Acts 2:38.


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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