When Stephen forgave those who stoned him in Acts 7:60, he may have opened the door to the eventual salvation of some of them. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said that whatever the apostles bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven, and in John 20:23 he said “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” This is the same behavior we see from Jesus on the cross. Perhaps an integral and necessary part of our salvation was his release of us for the sin of crucifying him. Perhaps his declaration that “they know not what they do” wasn’t limited to those who crucified him. Perhaps it was in reference to all sin, for he did bear the sins of the entire world in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Do we ever really know what we give up when we choose sin over deeper relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we ever really comprehend the cost, either in what we lose or in what He suffered? I think not. And while we do know that we are sinning and choosing to sin when we do make that choice, I dare say that we don’t really know the cost, either in our loss or his suffering.
“God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”