So what happens then? We spend lots of time in conflict management, we deal with the sinner in accordance to how Christ teaches us, we ‘loose them on earth’ meaning we declare they are forgiven and we bring them back into the community of the church. What happens if that person goes and sins all over again?
Look at these verses:
This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent.” (Amos 1:3)
This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent.” (Amos 2:6)
“God does all these things to a person—twice, even three times—to turn them back from the pit that the light of life may shine on them.” (Job 33:29-30)
There we have it, on the 4th time the sinner is not repentant!
So magnanimous Peter doubles what every Jew holds to and chooses the perfect number!
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18 v 19-20)
Jesus says there is no number, don’t even keep a record of how many times.
Aren’t we relieved for ourselves that God doesn’t keep count?!