will be saved
Knowing and believing
that all of our sins (past, present, and future) have been completely
forgiven through the blood of the Lamb is the doorway through which every
child of God must walk before he can begin to truly understand the amazing
grace of God. Trying to teach a Christian that he has a new identity in
Christ, that the Holy Spirit now actually lives in him, and that his
Heavenly Father loves and accepts him unconditionally will make little
sense without him first believing that the sin issue between himself and
God is over.
Perhaps no other aspect of our salvation in Christ has
been so confusing, paralyzing, and even divisive within the body of Christ
as the forgiveness of our sins. How tragic that one of the most glorious
and foundational truths of the gospel has deteriorated into a perplexing
doctrine that many Christians would prefer to argue was an incomplete work
of our Savior rather than one that is actually "finished" (John
Why the confusion on something so elementary and crucial
to our salvation? Your enemy, the father of lies, does not want you to
know and believe that you have been forgiven, once-and-for-all. Since he
cannot alter your eternal destiny if you are in Christ, then he will do
all he can to deceive you into thinking that your behavior is to be the primary
focus of your life.
Some Christians seem to think that the key to
experiencing the "abundant life" that Jesus promised is to
"keep short accounts with God." Letís wake-up, Church! The
last thing that Satan wants is for you experience the freedom you now have
in Christ (Gal. 5:1) through setting "your mind on the things
above" where "your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col.
You see, the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) knows
that if you believe the truth that your sins have actually been
"removed" by God, "as far as the east is from the
west" (Psalm 103:12), you will begin to shift your attention off of
yourself and onto your blessed Redeemer! The result? The supernatural,
miraculous life of Christ will be expressed through you, bringing glory to
God and producing the righteous behavior your new heart longs to display.
Many teachers today tell their listeners that the sinner
can come to God just as they are and receive forgiveness of sins
(salvation is much more than just getting forgiven). But just as quickly
as the sinner responds to Christ by faith and is saved, they are told to
make sure they keep all their sins confessed so they will stay forgiven!
Letís see, Mr. Banker. Iím 10 years
behind on my mortgage and still have 20 years of payments to go. But
you are telling me that you will pay my entire past, present, and future
debt as a gift if I will just receive it? Well, thank you! I accept!
Gosh, Iím so excited I donít know what to do next?! Whatís that
you say? I need to make sure I get all my future payments in on time or you
will throw me in jail?!! But, I thought you saidÖ
Itís no wonder that the anxious questions
from many of todayís Christians seem to have no end: "As a child of
God, have I been completely forgiven through the shed blood of my Savior
or not? Did He only forgive me for my past sins and now itís up to me to
keep myself forgiven? Donít I need to continue to ask Him to forgive me?
Isnít it my ongoing, continual confession of my specific sins that makes
me right with God? If I die today before asking, begging, pleading,
confessing a certain sin to Him, am I on my way to hell? Didnít Jesus
himself teach that Ďif you do not forgive men, then your Father will not
forgive your transgressionsí (Matt. 6:15)? Arenít we all just
Ďpositionallyí forgiven? What if I miss a sin? Please, somebody tell
me, am I forgiven or not?!!!!!!!"
There is only One "somebody" who
can answer these questions. He is The Bible Answer ManÖHe is the Holy
Spirit (John 16:13)! The Holy Spirit is the One who reveals truth to us
through the written Word. We are dependent upon Him alone to show us from
the Word "the things freely given to us by God" (1 Cor. 2:12).
So letís examine just a few of the precious gems in Scripture that speak
to the topic of our forgiveness through Christ, relying upon the Spirit to
show us what is trueÖ
Have you placed your faith (depended upon)
in the person of Christ as your only hope for salvation? If so, you can
know that "everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of
sins" (Acts 10:43). What have you received by trusting in Him?
Forgiveness of sins! Is this reason to praise His name? You bet it is, but
there is moreÖ
If He has saved you, then "by His
doing you are in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:30). Why is that
important to know? Because, "in Him we have redemption through
His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses" (Eph. 1:7). Is our
having forgiveness based upon our confessing, asking, pleading with God?
No, we have forgiveness (now and forever!) "according to the riches
of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). His grace really is amazing!
But didnít Jesus teach that we would only
be forgiven if we made sure we forgave others (Matt. 6:14-15)? He sure
did. At the perfect time in all of history, with the old covenant still in
effect, "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law" (Gal.
4:4-5). How was God going to redeem those who were under the Law? By
coming down to earth Himself to show man and teach man that "by the
works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight" (Rom.
3:20). Jesusí teachings took the Law to a whole new levelÖimpossibly
unachievable! He took the Law past the realm of external performance to
the realm of the heart to reveal the wickedness and hopelessness of all
men. Why? So that they would come to Him for life (John 6:33; 8:24; 14:6)!
Do you ever struggle with unforgiveness toward others? Then just like the
Pharisees of Jesusí day, friend, you need the Savior!
Through His once-and-for-all sacrifice on
the Cross almost 2,000 years ago, we have been forgiven (Col. 3:13).
Unlike the old covenant sacrifices, Jesusí blood did not atone or cover
our sinsÖHe took them away (John 1:29; Heb. 9:26). There will not be a
future payment (Heb. 10:12). He will not, and does not, get up on the
Cross again and again to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world
(Heb. 10:10, 18; 1 John 2:2). When He said, "It is finished," He
Consider the following. Like the Apostle
John writing to a gathering of people in Ephesus toward the end of the
first century, I am writing this brief teaching to not only the people on
our mailing list, but anyone else who may read it here at the end of the
20th century. Do I know for certain that every person on our
mailing list and all those who will read this teaching are saved? No, I
donít. Can you say for certain that everyone who gathers in your church
building on Sunday mornings is saved? Was John 100% convinced and assured
that all those who assembled in Ephesus were born-again? It is only God
who knows the heart.
So let me ask all of you who read
this teaching a couple of questions: "If we," any of us
including myself, were to "say that we have no sin," and
"that we have not (never) sinned," wouldnít we be
"deceiving ourselves," calling "Him a liar," and
"the truth (John 14:6a)" and "His word is not in us"
(1 John 1:8,10). After all, a prerequisite to salvation is admitting you
are a sinner in need of the Savior! On the contrary, "if we,"
any of us including myself, "confess" (agree with God,
acknowledge, say the same thing that God says about;
see Rom. 3:23,
John 8:24) "our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Has there ever been a moment in time when
you realized your sinfulness and your need of Jesus Christ to save you? If
so, having placed your faith in Christ and Him alone, you can be sure that
He not only forgave you, cleansed you of all unrighteousness, and did away
with the old you (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6), but you can be just as certain
that He has raised you up as an entirely new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and
"has given (you) eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who
has the Son (thatís you!) has the life; he who does not have the Son of
God does not have the life" (1 John 5:11-12).
So, are you forgiven or not? Saints, either
He did it all or weíre up the creek. Look at the weight of Scripture and
meditate upon the Word in light of the finished work of the Cross. Have
you forgotten that the new covenant promise from our faithful Lord is that
our "sins and (our) lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Heb.
10:17)? If He has chosen to remember them no more, why do we insist upon
parading them before Him day after day? That may make you
better, but are you walking by faith?
Have you ever considered the fact that
since "whatever is not from faith (a.k.a. unbelief) is sin"
(Rom. 14:23), that each time you ask God to forgive you or do anything to
gain further forgiveness from Him, you are saying that you do not believe
(a.k.a. sin) that His death on the Cross was sufficient? And what about
all the moments in your past that you chose not to walk by faith (a.k.a.
sin)? Have you enumerated each and every one of those acts of sin to the
Lord? Are you getting a little overwhelmed? Do you see why Jesus had to do
it a-l-l? Are you beginning to see that He "will not give (His) glory
to another" (Is. 42:8)?
Itís time for the body of Christ to
humbly, yet boldly, declare the truth of the complete forgiveness that is
available through Jesus Christ. Choose to believe, no matter how you may
feel, that you have been forever forgiven! Share the good news with
others! Forgive others just as the Lord forgave you (Col. 3:13)!
Make a choice to rest in the finality of the cross of Christ. Let us
"give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds
among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted. Praise the
Lord in song, for He has done excellent things" (Is. 12:4-5).
"I write to you, dear
children, because your sins
have been forgiven
account of His name" (1 John 2:12)
forgiveness of us does not stand alone as a separate element of our
salvation. In fact, it is an essential prerequisite to our having also
been reconciled, redeemed, justified, and made righteous. Each time the
word of God declares those who are in Christ have been reconciled,
redeemed, justified, and made righteous, it is also declaring the believer
to have been forgiven (Please note Rom. 3:24,28; 4:5,11,13,25;
5:1,9,10,11,16-19; 8:10,30,33; 9:30; 10:4,10; 1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11; 2 Cor.
5:18-21; Gal. 2:21; 3:6,13; Phil. 3:9; Col. 1:20,22; 1 Tim. 1:9; Titus
3:7; Heb. 9:12,15)
John Moneypenny, "Used by permission, Grace
Walk Ministries, Atlanta, GA"