These are very good questions and I believe the scriptures give us an answer. As we shall see, there are THREE different kinds of forgiveness presented in the Bible and the THIRD one is rare.

JUDICIAL FORGIVENESS is the forgiveness a sinner experiences when he repents of his sins and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. We read of this in Acts 13:38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (NKJV). The moment a sinner believes on Christ as their Savior, they are forgiven by a holy and just God. God is the JUDGE, and He pronounces them forgiven. This forgiveness is a one-time event, and their sins are “eternally forgiven.” See Ephesians 1:7 and 1st John 1:12.

RESTORATIVE FORGIVENESS is the forgiveness a child of God experiences when they sin and then confess their sin to their heavenly Father. We see this in 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Even though the child of God has been eternally forgiven by a JUST God (who WAS THEIR JUDGE before they were saved), he still needs to go to God the FATHER if they sin and confess that sin in order to be RESTORED TO FELLOWSHIP with the Father. The Father promises immediate forgiveness the moment we do confess it and then He cleanses us from sin through the Word of God (see Psalm 119:9 and Ephesians 5:25-26).

GOVERNMENTAL FORGIVENESS is not as easy to define but in order to understand it we need to read Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirt reap everlasting life.” This verse applies to ALL MEN, including the believer in Christ. It has to do with one “reaping the consequences of their conduct in this world.” Using your example, a believer may be guilty of committing a murder and they may still have to “reap what they have sown” by being put to death. God has established GOVERNMENT on earth to deal with crimes and in the case of murder the punishment is death. We see this in Genesis 9:5-6, “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning…from the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. ‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed.” In Romans 13:1-7 we see that every “governing authority” is “appointed by God” (verse 1). And if one “resists the ordinance” they “bring judgment upon themselves” (verse 2). In verse 4 we see that God’s uses those in government to punish the evildoer and in the case of murder they must execute the person: “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not BEAR THE SWORD IN VAIN; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to EXECUTE WRATH ON HIM WHO PRACTISES EVIL.”

The fact that one has experienced God GRACE in “judicial forgiveness” does not exempt him from experiencing God’s GOVERNMENT if he commits murder. He may indeed be put to death for first degree murder by the government for as we saw, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” I have often given a pamphlet to convicted prisoners titled, “The Lord’s dealings with the convict Daniel Mann.” Daniel was saved while awaiting his execution for murder and even though he knew he had been completely forgiven by the God as his JUDGE, he realized that in God’s earthly government he would have to pay the ultimate price by being executed. It is rare indeed that God will “forgive one for murder” but if He does it is a case of GOVERNMENTAL FORGIVENESS. We do have an example of that in Scripture. King David was found guilty of planning the death of a man named Uriah in order to marry his wife (see 2nd Samuel chapter 11). In 2nd Samuel 12:9 the prophet Nathan told David, “Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? YOU HAVE KILLED URIAH the Hittite with sword.” In verses 12-13 we read, “So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; YOU SHALL NOT DIE.’” Again, this kind of forgiveness is rare indeed. David did NOT have to die, though he deserved to. God chose to “forgive this sin” and David did NOT have to “reap what he had sown.” Yet we do go on to read in verse 14, “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” So, even though David didn’t have to suffer the ultimate punishment of DEATH, he did have to suffer some consequences for his sin by losing his child. If you read on in chapters 13 & 18, we see his sons Amon and Absalom were murdered and in 1st Kings 2 his son Adonijah was executed.  (DO)  (536.3)