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What Does the Bible Say About...Limits on Forgiveness?

Is there ever a point in which God will no longer forgive a person that has an addiction? What if that person finds themselves continually in a relapsed state after asking for forgiveness? Even though the person would ask for forgiveness would there ever come a time when grace, and forgiveness finally just ran out?


God, who is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), has no limits on forgiveness for those who will repent, obey, and ask him for his forgiveness. Jesus told his followers (Luke 17:4), “If he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven time in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” I don’t think he meant that we are only restricted to forgiving once every three hours, but that he was saying there should be no restriction on our forgiveness. Would God hold himself to a less strict standard than that to which he holds us? No, he will forgive without limit.

That said, I must also point to Romans 6:1-2. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” We are, to the best of our abilities, to try to avoid sinning. Paul goes on to say that when our sins were forgiven when we were immersed in water we were raised out of the water to walk in a new life. That doesn’t mean we won’t stumble. It doesn’t mean we won’t stumble often, especially when trying to overcome an addiction. But we are to do what we can to try to walk in the way of righteousness. John says essentially the same thing. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son [continually] cleanseth us from sin.”

Acts 8:22 indicates that God wants us to repent and ask for forgiveness before he will grant it. But if we are honest with God in asking for forgiveness, it appears he will grant it without limit.