Many Christians believe that saying a prayer is enough for forgiveness or removal of any curses they may have. They completely ignore that our LORD is a God of recompense and restitution is required. In this post, we will explore the requirement for restitution for true repentance.
Requirement of Restitution
“I will send out [the curse,]” says the LORD of hosts; “It shall enter the house of the thief And the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It shall remain in the midst of his house And consume it, with its timber and stones.”Zech 5:4
Can a thief steal the money from others and ask forgiveness to God without restoring what he stole? Can his descendent prosper from a stolen inheritance while there is a curse from God to consume his house?
Speak to the children of Israel: ‘When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the LORD, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give [it] to the one he has wronged. But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for the wrong [must go] to the LORD for the priest, in addition to the ram of the atonement with which atonement is made for him’.Num 5:6-8
While Christ became an atonement by giving His own life instead of the ram in the law, it is our responsibility of making restitution to the one we wronged when we confess our sins.
Requirement of reconciliation
If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.Matt 5:23-26
Jesus taught us not to give any gifts to God if a brother has something against us. He always wants us to agree (or settle as in the gospel of Luke 12:58-59) with our adversary. It is important to note that the adversary here is someone we owe money to. This can be either money we borrowed, stole from, or pledged. This is why Jesus taught us we will be thrown in prison until we have paid the last penny. If Jesus taught us to agree or settle with our adversary to whom we owe money, can we ask forgiveness to God but refuse to obey Him i.e, to settle and agree with our adversary?
And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”Luke 11:4
While restitution is required for us to pay back for true repentance, we must not extract it from those who owe us but to forgive them. If we don’t forgive, God will not forgive our sins.
|Stolen ox and slaughtered or sold or killed (Exod 22:1)||Restore 5 times|
|Stolen sheep and slaughtered or sold or killed (Exod 22:1)||Restore 4 times|
|Stolen livestock found alive (Exod 22:4)||Restore double|
|Livestock feeds in another man’s field (Exod 22:5)||Restitution from best of his own|
|Loss by kindled fire (Exod 22:6)||Restitution|
|Stealing money or articles or clothing or ox or sheep or donkey (Exod 22:7-9)||Restore double|
Long story short, God wants us to restore double for all stolen things. He also wants us to restore the loss of others because of our wrong doing but necessarily stolen.
True repentance involves not just confession of sins but restitution to those we wronged. Restitution is double for all stolen items. If someone had any loses because of our wrongdoing, we must restore it to them. While restitution is required for us to pay back for true repentance, we must not extract it from those who owe us but to forgive them. If we don’t forgive, God will not forgive our sins.
What if I can’t locate the owner again , and how do I make up for the stolen goods or can I throw them away pls help.
As in (Num 5:8 if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for the wrong must go to the LORD … ), we must give it to the LORD. As Jesus said in Matt 25:40, if we want to give anything to Him, we must give it to the least of His brethren. Those who does the will of His Father in heaven are His brethren (Matt 12:50). In short, we can give it to the poor and needy Christians near us.
What if I am unable to work due to disability, living at poverty level, and though it is my desire to make restitution, I do not have the money to do so?
There is always hope since our LORD is a merciful God. Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant. The king was able to forgive all the servant’s debt. Hence, God can be merciful and clear all our debts when we are unable to pay. But being merciful or compassionate is not always guaranteed (Exod 33:19). As the Scriptures say, we must love Him and keep His commandments for Him to be merciful towards us (Exod 20:6). As the parable itself says, we must show pity towards others for God to be compassionate towards us (Matt 18:33).
Thank you, Felix, for the reminder of our LORD’s mercy, and the parable of the unforgiving servant. I will earnestly purpose to show pity and compassion towards others, as I would want God to show towards me. The words, “There is no forgiveness without restitution” still weigh heavily upon me. Is there anything I can do out of my sorrow (for this sin that I cannot make restitution for) and desire to “make things right”? Some kind of act of penance, atonement?
I believe the answer Jesus spoke through the parable is very clear. The only thing God expects us is to show mercy to others just as He showed to us. Nothing else is required.
Thank you and God bless you.
My situation is similar and I’ve learned to accept Gods mercy and grace but if you have some extra funds look out for a homeless person and lend out some money and forgive debt if they can’t pay back or before they offer if your heart says so and try not to do it again I have messed up a couple times after being saved but I’m going to pay restitution this time
I am a Christian who has sinned and stolen a lot and now know I need to seek forgiveness my paying restitution before I am totally forgiven. My problem is I am 73 and running out of time. The grievances go back years and many people have died and business out of service.
How do I repay what I stole on a retired funds?
I am just so sad for being such a sinner and now I am closer to death that I want
I will gladly pay all I have. But I
May not be able to repay All of it.
Could you tell me how I can seek forgiveness?
I want to see Heaven. And don’t deserve the suffering Jesus did for me by my actions!
Jesus didn’t expect the thief on the cross to pay back what he stole before He can meet him in paradise. He was about to die and really can’t do anything. If we look into the thief on the cross, he humbled, repented of his sins, acknowledged Christ as the King and even rebuked and started preaching to the other thief with both his hands and legs nailed to the cross. Only then Jesus said, “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43). As John the Baptist said, we must bear fruits worthy of repentance (Matt 3:8) similar to how Zacchaeus did (Luke 19:8-9).
Sometimes, it’s not possible to restore the victim but no sin harder for God to forgive. David is a murderer and adulterer for which the law condemns him to death – while God forgave Him it is not without consequences and curses. Similarly, we must keep in mind certain consequences of stolen things. Take Eli for instance. God was angry with Eli because he was making himself fat (or eating the meat) what his sons took from sacrifices by not properly offering to God. Here, Eli was indirectly benefiting from the evil his sons were doing. Hence, if your children inherited any wealth from you that is part of stolen things, they will inherit the curses and anger from God as well. As part of restitution, you must let them know about the source of those and the consequences if they inherit it and encourage them to do what Zacchaeus did. You must do as much as you can to restore and leave the rest to God.
Finally, there is no death penalty for a thief in the law. Hence, it is not a sin worthy of death as John calls it (1John 5:16-17). Hence, as John said in his letter, God will give life if we pray, and He will surely forgive.