Good Faith, Repentance,
Mercy and Forgiveness
byTim Greenwood

Mercy is the legal right to set aside any breach of a good faith contract in the presence of repentance, as if the breach had never occurred. Mercy is a type of forgiveness. Unlike remission, mercy does not blot out or erase the breach, but rather strikes it out, draws a line through it or covers it up. The breach is still on record, but set aside for the sake of the contract.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 KJV).

If you claim never to have breached an agreement, contract, promise or relationship, then you are only deceiving yourself because everyone knows that you are lying. But, if you just have enough integrity simply to come to Him and confess your breach, you will find that the Lord is still standing in good faith concerning your agreement, contract, promise or relationship and He has the legal right to set aside your breach and expunge every record of the wrong that was done.

On the other hand, if you deny your breach, then you are additionally slandering the Lord's integrity, when it is you that has no integrity (1 John 1:8-10 TGV).

For instance, if Marcia, as an apartment manager, approaches a tenant to notify them that they are in breach of their rental agreement for some infraction, she has the legal right to immediately issue a 30-day notice for the tenant to move themselves and all their possessions off the property. But she also has the legal option to issue a 3-day notice to comply or quit, which requires the tenant to choose to either comply with the agreement from this time forward or to move out. And should the tenant choose to comply, Marcia can legally "set aside" the breach allowing the contractual relationship to continue as if no breach had ever happened.

After all, she is in the business of filling the apartments with tenants, as opposed to keeping tenants out or emptying apartments. God is like that too. He is not trying to keep people out of His Kingdom. He is trying to get as many people as possible into His Kingdom. Not only that, but He is also doing everything He can to get you in on His offers of salvation, healing, deliverance, provision, security and so much more. Actually, anyone has the legal right to show mercy and forgive any breach against them.

Marcia does not want tenants to leave. But what if the guilty tenant denies the breach, and refuses to "repent?" Repentance is the willingness of one who breaches a good faith contract to admit the breach, ask for mercy or forgiveness, change their behavior and make the breached contract whole again.

Should they refuse to repent, then the breach stands and they can expect to be served with a legal notice to move out. You see, the moment that the tenant denies the breach, they are from that point acting in bad faith and the relationship has became dysfunctional if not adversarial. The denials are actually accusations of bad faith on Marcia's part, and question her integrity. Note that if they move, Marcia did not kick them out. It was the un-mended breach of contract that legally demanded them to be removed.

It is exactly the same with God. If you sin, then you have just breached a contract, which demands repentance. Before the breach can be legally set aside, which will allow the contract to continue through the mercy of God, there must be repentance.

So, mercy, usually following repentance, is what makes it possible to repair a breach. And forgiveness willingly writes off any losses or punitive damages caused by that breach. Combined, mercy and forgiveness make it possible for the relationship to be restored, repaired and for all additional indebtedness caused by the breach to be written off. Aren't you glad that God provided such wonderful tools as good faith, repentance, mercy and forgiveness?  TGM