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Luke 23:34 the Lord said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." The question is about ignorance. Are people forgiven because of ignorance? As God, the Lord has power to forgive sins, what capacity is Jesus asking His Father to forgive these people at this time?

Forgiveness cannot be given unless it is received. You cannot give a gift to a person who will not receive it. When the Lord Jesus prayed this prayer, He was asking the Father to have a forgiving attitude toward the ones who were crucifying Him. The Father could not forgive them until they repented. He was "ready to forgive." Psalms 85:6. He most likely did forgive some of them on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:38).

Luke teaches us that forgiveness cannot be given unless there is repentance for it. "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 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." Luke 17:3-4.

Ignorance of what they were doing was not the basis of forgiveness. To acknowledge sins and repent is the only way God can forgive sinners.

Dear Reader, are you forgiven? Asking God isn't enough, you must repent and trust Christ to be forgiven. "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:47. "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43.

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 9th, 2014 by Sandra Felix