Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Reconciliation / Redemption


There are five (5) topics that I want to tackle here, each in their own post:
  • Forgiveness.
  • Reconciliation / Redemption.
  • Righteousness / Justification.
  • Holy / Sanctified.
  • Salvation.

Too often we can group these together when discussing Christ, or being Born-Again, or Salvation; but these are separate words for a reason, for they each mean something different, and each occur separately.

I have addressed much of these topics already throughout my blog, but I am breaking down each one now succinctly in separate blogs.


1.       RECONCILIATION / REDEMPTION

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly, there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth: peace, goodwill toward men!”

What an amazing proclamation, that God is at peace, and has only good will toward mankind. And He can only have achieved this through Christ Jesus.

All of what the Lord gives to us are Gifts for His created humanity. It is up to us to accept or receive much of what He is Gifting. As we learned in the first part about Forgiveness, He Gifted His own Son (Jesus Christ) as an offering and sacrifice for our sins of the flesh.

1 John 2:2
And He [Chris Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

When we accept the Gift of His Son, that remaining Sin of not believing in Him is also forgiven. Our sins of the flesh have been purged, never to be remembered. And because of that, we can free ourselves from a sin-conscience and have a righteous-conscience.
This freeing from a sin-conscience is symbolized through water baptism of a believer:

1 Peter 3:21
The like figure [of Noah’s Ark]: whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We now will also look at Reconciliation / Redemption and what that looks like Gifted to us as well as part of His Completed work through the Cross, Resurrection, and sending of the Holy Ghost. Much of this I have already tackled in my blog:


What is Reconciliation and Redemption?
Simply put, it is a mutual exchange: in that Christ Jesus exchanged Himself for the world:
Reconcile – G604: apokatallassō
-  to reconcile completely
-  to reconcile back again
-  bring back a former state of harmony

Reconcile – G2644: katallassō
-  to change, exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value
a.       to reconcile (those who are at variance)
b.       return to favour with, be reconciled to one
c.       to receive one into favour

Reconcile – G1259: diallassō
-  to change
-  to change the mind of anyone, to reconcile
-  to be reconciled, to renew friendship with one

Redeem – G629: apolytrōsis
-  a releasing effected by payment of ransom
a.       redemption, deliverance
b.       liberation procured by the payment of a ransom

Redeem – G3084: lytroō
-  to release on receipt of ransom
-  to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom
a.       to liberate
b.       to cause to be released to one's self by payment of a ransom
c.       to redeem
d.       to deliver: from evils of every kind, internal and external


Whom is Reconciled?

When I talk about Reconciliation and Redemption here, I want to make it clear that I am not talking about Eternal Salvation through a person’s belief in Christ Jesus. Being Born-Again through belief is separate from Reconciliation and Redemption—and this is what I want to demonstrate here.

Matthew 5:23-24
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought (something) against you; Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way to first be reconciled [G1259] to your brother; and then come and offer your gift.

Jesus spoke this as part of His “Sermon on the Mount”. When we read about anything Jesus spoke about, we must acknowledge that He did not speak anything He did not see of His Father. And with that, we must know that whatever instruction or way of life we see Jesus say, it is not ever something that God Himself will not do—i.e.: If He commands us to do something, it is because He follows that same exact command; God will never tell us to do something more than what He Himself does.

In Matthew 5:23-24, His instruction is to reconcile yourself to your brother before you sacrifice your gift on the alter. And this is not that you have something against your brother, it is that he has something against you. This is exactly what God the Father sees of the world at that time. Mankind had something against God; so before He sacrificed the Gift of His Son, He went about, through Jesus, reconciling Himself to his brother.

And then, by the Grace of God, through Christ Jesus and the Cross (the Death of His Son) reconciled all (first the Jew, then the Gentile). And did so before we even believed on Him. His sin-sacrifice made us reconciled to Him:

2 Corinthians 5:14-21
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us [this] ministry of reconciliation, that is: that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us [this] word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, [you are] reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 5:10,18
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, that being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Therefore, as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Colossians 1:19-20
For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ Jesus] should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Ephesians 2:14-16
For He [Christ Jesus] is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

Hebrews 1:3
[Christ] being the brightness of [God's] glory, and the exact reproduced image of His nature and being, so upholding all things by the word of His power; when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down by the right hand of the Majesty on High.

Hebrews 10:10,12
By [His] will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Moreover, this Man [Christ Jesus], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.


So what does this all look like in reality and the world in which we live?

In reconciling the world to Himself through everything that Christ Jesus completed, God gave all people equal opportunity to come to Him. There is no excuse against us to believe on Him into Salvation—He eliminated an “us and them” mentality, that He cannot treat anyone different from anyone else (either as a believer or unbeliever). This is what is called God being “no respecter” of persons.

Acts 10:34
Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

Romans 2:11
For there is no respect of persons with God.

James 2:1
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

This too is how Paul could say he saw no one after the flesh—he only saw what He saw from God…who they were to God the Father. How can we determine a person by their actions of the flesh when that person, and you, and myself, have each been completely forgiven of our sins of the flesh.

In my upbringing in a religious church and family environment, I learned how to be judgmental of others because I was very judgmental of myself. As a religious Christian, I personally would strive not to sin…to do my personal best to “be like Christ” as I had been taught. This striving of moral perfectionism (which I didn’t realize at the time was just my attempt at self-righteousness) allowed me to see what sin I wasn’t committing, and then point the finger at those who were committing that sin I wasn’t.

The problem was when I ended up sinning in those things I saw others do; all-the-while hiding my own sins in a nice religious façade. My life (soul and body) was a mess because of it. I never had the Holy Spirit’s peace about it, and always feared God’s wrath upon me for any and all sins—especially the ones I deemed worse than others.

Yet when I got freed from religion through understanding God’s Grace and being Baptized in the Holy Ghost, the Lord showed me how much He Loved others and me in any and all the sins I would commit (and continue to commit). My sins would never be a hinderance to how much God Loves me (and for anyone as well). He could never leave me nor forsake me because of sin—and how could He, He Himself removed all them from me; even before I committed any. He equalized humanity.

This is why He cannot treat anyone according to their actions, only what Christ did for all humanity. This gives all people the chance to come to Him in belief. For an unbeliever, He treats them the same as a believer; reserving final Judgement of the unbeliever until after they die; giving a person their entire life to choose Him.

For me, this was difficult to see in my religious state. I expected God’s wrath to manifest in other people’s lives from their sins (against me or not). I used to believe, as some pastors preach, that the hurricane that struck New Orleans was God’s wrath against their debauchery; or that any natural disaster is God punishing a nation or a people. But that cannot be true, for neither God, nor Jesus, is currently Judging anyone now!

John 12:44-50
Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

This is why we see sin in our own life and the lives of others go ‘unpunished’ by God. Even though, when I saw something bad happen after I personally sinned, I thought it was God’s vengeance on me. But the one rarely had anything to do with the other. The only coincidence would be because of “reaping what I sowed” (Galatians 6:7-8).

This brings up Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11)—did God kill them? No!

God (the Holy Spirit) was not the one responsible for their deaths. They (Ananias & Sapphira) were. They gave up / yielded up their own spirits.

Acts 5:5a
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost.

Acts 5:11a
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost

This “giving up the ghost” is in the same form as what Jesus did, knowing that no one killed Him, but that He Gave His own life (John 10:17-18).

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”, and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

It does not specifically say what caused Ananias and Saphira to give up their ghost, but for me: their guilt-ridden sin-conscience (under the Law) was so strong, that when they found out they were discovered, their life failed them and they gave up their own ghost (spirit). They had a literal fear of God because they had yet not been set free (accepted freedom) from the Law or a sin conscience in their own personal lives.

So no matter what disaster we see or what people may wrongly die, it is not of God. God cannot and will not reprimand us for any sins. To some, this is unfathomable, as it suggests that it will give people a license to sin.


Obscenity of the Gospel

This is how "scary" the truth of the Gospel is, and the "obscene" accomplishment Christ did through the Cross: that all the sins of the flesh were and are forever taken away from us. So abundantly taken-away from us that Paul writes that we are actually free to do anything we want (ANYTHING--whether of sin or of faith); all without fear of God's judgment or wrath! And he wrote it twice:

1 Corinthians 6:12
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

How could Paul write such a "controversial" statement if he was not absolutely sure that all sins are done away with and Christ bore the punishment for all those sins for us.
This too is how we must not see (perceive or judge) a person in the flesh--that is, in the deeds of their flesh or their sins or actions. And he is not talking about believers only, but all people: believers and non-believers whom God has reconciled to Himself through Christ.

Thus, if God has reconciled the entire world to Himself through the one-time accomplishment of Christ, not holding any kind of sin or misdeed of the flesh against any human; then how can we hold sins against others or ourself?

If sin cannot be an issue with God, why do people and churches and doctrines focus so much on sin? Fear!

They fear sin--of their own or others. Yet fear is not of God..."I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of peace and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). To have that peace is to have a clear conscience out from sin (having a righteous conscience).

Does this freedom give us a license to sin then? Absolutely! Paul even says we can abuse that Grace, yet we should not:

Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Yet, when you understand how free you've been set free by; and Loved without fear of reprisal or punishment, then you naturally end up not sinning. Christ made us dead to sin and the Law! The strength of sin is the Law (a sin conscience). The strength of the Gospel sets one free from wanting to sin.

For sin is not beneficial to us (expedient per the verses above); but faith is: “Build yourself up in the most Holy Faith” (Jude 1:20). But we must never forget that our sins have all been cleared form our lives!

To understand how forgiven we all are all, and how free from the punishment of God we are now, just look at how people like Hitler or events like the Crusades or the Cambodian killing fields exist. If God still punished people for their sins, then He would have had ample reason to punish or kill Hitler and others before the violence became what it was.
God didn't "allow" those things to happen, He had no ability to interfere because of Jesus Christ's complete accomplishment of eternal sin-sacrifice for all people’s flesh sins. Nor does God violate a person’s free will to do such things or be deceived in following them. To have punished Hitler (or even been the one to kill Ananias and Sapphira) would have been to reject His own Son's accomplishment of full forgiveness of all mankind's sins of the flesh.

When we learn to let go of sin, we learn to Love others as Jesus demonstrated that Love (not judge others or ourself). The more we focus on sin, the more we get caught up in sin. The more we sin, the more we can fear God. The more we fear God, the less we tend to have relationship with Him. And the less we have relationship, the less we experience His Life!

This is the freedom Christ came to set us free from: sin. Once and for all time, forever and forever (Hebrews 10). And not only did He do that for me personally, but for the entire world.


No Longer a Fallen World

These forgiven sins of the flesh, and this reconciliation, has taken away the Fallen State of this world which resulted from Adam’s (and Eve’s) disobedience and curses placed on this world from their actions. Creation has been reconciled (Colossians 1:20). For when Christ Jesus sacrificed Himself, it included the whole world: not just mankind or a selection of humans, the entire world:

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 John 2:2-3
And He [Christ Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

I was writing a Facebook post a few years back, and as I was typing, the Holy Ghost stopped me as I was typing “Fallen World” in reference to the current world we live in. It was so abrupt, I didn’t even finish typing it. And in that moment, He said “Redeemed World”. It shook me, but in an instance, my view of reality changed. No longer was I a victim of a “Fallen World” but a victor in a “Redeemed World”.

Too often, as I did, we tend to chalk things up to being in a Fallen World. We think that this is just the way it is thanks to Adam. But in doing so, I neglect something Christ Jesus took care of for me and for all mankind—that Christ Jesus restored what Satan took from Adam; we now have our authority back. For everything that is a result of their disobedience (iniquity / sin) is no more. That fallen world state has ceased to exist because of Christ Jesus. The curse is removed and the “prince of this world” has been judged and cast out:

John 16:7-11
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, that it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Ghost] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world: of Sin (because they do not believe in Me), of righteousness (because I go to My Father and you see Me no more), and of judgment (because the ruler of this world is judged).

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

Neither the Devil nor the curses of the world have a strength—and if I see them having and affect in my life, I know deception is afoot.

When we live in a mindset that it is still a Fallen World, or that the Devil still has power, we hold on to a “defeated” belief. But when we have a mindset of living in a Redeemed World, we stand above defeat and can stand in rest.
  • Christ took care of sins.
  • Christ took care of sickness and disease.
  • Christ took care of the world’s curse.
  • Christ took care of defeating Satan.

For me, I did not understand how elevated the Lord made me through the defeat of Satan; and I am still learning to change my mind on things I believed before. But I have come a long way from a life “waiting for heaven to come”. I could now Live a Life on this earth in their Love and Authority and Holy Spirit! Their Kingdom of Heaven is now (not to come). And as a believer, filled with the Holy Ghost, I became as powerful as Him!

When I understand not only what Christ has done for me as a believer, but also done for unbelievers, things become simplified and far less overwhelming. And this helps when I am able to minister to unbelievers—for I know I do not have to do any conquering of my own (in my own faith) to be able to help a person into belief.

And because Christ did, I can rest in just opening up the Holy Ghost to a person, heal them, cast out devils, and more without worry. Demonstrating God’s Love for them. I no longer see a “sinner” but see the Love God has for anyone!

Moreso too, I can minister to believers that nobody needs to live a defeated life as I used to!

We, must never see one’s self or anyone else as being a result of living in a Fallen World; this is a lie and a deception and takes away what Christ has accomplished, as well as His authority given to us. And never use "Fallen World" as an excuse for not overcoming your situation and that of anyone else. We live in a Redeemed World!

Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God had set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He is Just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 5:6-21
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ).
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 9:26
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He [Christ Jesus] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1 Peter 1:18-19
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

So I will repeat: no longer is this a Fallen World in which we live—it is a REDEEMED WORLD! All humanity was under the curse of Adam before the Cross; but after the Cross, we are all under the blessing of Christ Jesus. We were sinners under Adam, but now reconciled under Christ.

How wonderful of a Gift it is towards all mankind to say we have been given back our authority lost by Adam.


Where Does This Take Us?

We, as believers, must let the world know this complete (completed) reconciliation as His “ambassadors”:

2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, [you are] reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

This is why is it important to understand Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for all sins of the flesh, and this exchange of Himself for Reconciliation / Redemption, because this sets us free from any hindrance to come to Him in belief—no more having a sin-conscience, and no more living the lie that we are stuck under Adam’s curse, or victims of the Devil’s work.

We can then look and see that we don’t have to do any work to get to God or make ourselves self-righteous in His sight before He accepts us. He accepts us now to come to Him because of what He Himself did as a Father through the Completed Work of Christ Jesus. There is nothing we can add to that Completed Work, and we can now see that my self-righteousness is but dung compared to the Righteousness of Christ—a Righteousness now Gifted out unto everyone to accept!

And this Righteousness is what we will tackle in the next post as we transition into believing in Him.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Forgiveness


There are five (5) topics that I want to tackle here, each in their own post:

Too often we can group these together when discussing Christ, or being Born-Again, or Salvation; but these are separate words for a reason, for they each mean something different, and each occur separately.

I have addressed much of these topics already throughout my blog, but I am breaking down each one now succinctly in separate blogs.

Additionally, there is an included audio sermon message I presented for this topic of Forgiveness, guest-pastoring at The Dwelling Place.





1.       FORGIVENESS

When are we forgiven?

Having grown up in a church religion, I have heard many discussions on this question. Some say we must ask for forgiveness every time we sin—even to the point that you lose your salvation after each sin and must continually confess them to then be brought back into salvation. Others say we are only forgiven when we come into belief with Christ. Others say all people have already been forgiven.

Before we get into the answers for that, let’s quickly understand what sin is. Simply put, what is not of Faith is sin (Romans 14:23)—in that, whatever is not of Christ / Holy Ghost is sin (i.e. the Holy Spirit in and through us). And we can know what the myriad ways of sin are based on the Law. But then also know that the Law gives power to sin—a “catch 22” in a way. Moreso though, when Jesus came, He preached and explained above and beyond the Law what sin is per a heart condition—not just an action, but a heart-thought that is sin. That even if you somehow (like the Pharisees attempted to do) did not commit the action of sin, they still sinned in their hearts.

Sin, and this heart-issue of sin (a sin-conscience), is what Christ came to eliminate. And this what Christ did through His self-sacrifice for us.

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 10:12-18
But this man [Jesus Chris], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from that time waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever those that are sanctified [free from the guilt of sin]. Moreover, the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days”, saith the Lord, “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Now where remission [forgiveness] of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Jesus is right now sitting at the Right Hand of the Father. He, 2000 years ago, accomplished once-and-for-all a sacrifice for sins. And this sacrifice wasn’t just for the Jews or some pre-selected group of people, but for all of humanity—every person on this earth (Jews and Gentiles).

John 10:11,14-17
I [Jesus Christ] am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep [Jews]. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [Gentiles]; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore, does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Ephesians 2:11-18
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity (that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances), so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and reconciling them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

It is through the Cross that Christ accomplished forgiveness (and moreso reconciliation) for both Jew and Gentile—all people. And since He did this long before any of us were born, we have to accept that our sins have already been forgiven. Christ isn’t still hanging on the Cross waiting for all to come to Him to be forgiven. No! He proclaimed from the Cross, “It is finished.” One time for all time.

Sins of the flesh are not an issue with God!

Thus, whatever sin you or anyone else commit, it is already forgiven. If you ask the Lord to forgive a sin, His only response can be, “I already have.” We aren’t told to confess or repent of our sins. Our repentance is not that we confess our sins or repent of them; repentance is not to do with our sins of the flesh, it is about repenting from the Sin of not believing on Him to belief in Him.

This is the only Sin that we need forgiveness of!

The finished work of the Cross was so complete, that the only Sin left for any human is the Sin of not believing in Christ Jesus—all other sins (every sin of the flesh) was taken at the Cross. This is why Jesus told the unbelieving Pharisees that they will die in their Sin of unbelief (the Sin of not believing on Jesus as the Christ).

John 8:23-24
And He said unto them, "You are from beneath; I Am from above: you are of this world; I Am not of this world. This is why I said unto you, ‘That you shall die in your Sin: for if you believe not that I Am He, you shall die in your Sin.’"

This Sin of not believing that Jesus tells of is the Sin (and only Sin) that the Holy Ghost can convict us of:

John 16:7-11
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, that it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Ghost] will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world: of Sin (because they do not believe in Me), of righteousness (because I go to My Father and you see Me no more), and of judgment (because the ruler of this world is judged).

There is only one sin that the Holy Ghost can convict any human of—not the sins of the flesh—but only the Sin of not believing in Christ Jesus. This Sin of not believing is a spiritual sin. All other sins are of the flesh. We are only instructed to believe, not confess our sins into believing:

Mark 16:15-16
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be damned.”

John 3:16-18
Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 5:24
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

John 6:47
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

John 20:31
These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Romans 10:9-11
If you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

And when we do believe, our spirit is changed into His Holy Spirit. And we become worshipers in Spirit and in Truth!

John 4:23-24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Romans 8:9, 11, 14, 16
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit: if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

Our spirit is made a Holy Spirit, which, as a believer, His Holy Spirit testifies of. The Holy Spirit does not testify of our sins, but only, as a non-believer, the Sin of not believing on Him—testifying of the Truth!

God is not convicting us of sins.

God is not convicting us of sins, only of one Sin! This is the Truth that the Holy Ghost speaks, doing His utmost to convince every human being to believe on Christ Jesus. The rejection of this Truth is what condemns a person to Hell (eternal separation from the Lord).

John 15:26-27
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

John 16:13-15
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Mark 3:28-29
Verily I say unto you, “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and as many blasphemies whatsoever they shall blaspheme; however, anyone that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost never has forgiveness; but is in danger of eternal damnation.”

This blaspheming against the Holy Ghost is a person calling Him a liar for what He is testifying about. This person is “in danger of eternal damnation” because they, as a non-believer, is maintaining their progression towards Death (Hell) for not believing. They may not “go directly there” at that moment of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, but if they do eventually die here on earth in unbelief of Jesus Christ, they will go to eternal damnation. For this Truth the Holy Ghost speaks is Him testifying of Christ Jesus to get a person to believe, that blaspheme is that person rejecting believing Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:10-13
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you believe in the name of the Son of God.

When a person does listen to the conviction of believing on Christ Jesus and comes into belief, that Sin of not believing is removed (forgiven). This is the process that John speaks of here (speaking to unbelievers):

1 John 1:5-10
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you: that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and are not in the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son makes us clean from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

The sin in discussion here (speaking to unbelievers) is that Sin of unbelief. John is using three sentences, each from a perspective of a person's state of relationship with the Father:
  • v8.  State of a person before believing: If we say [as a non-believer] that we have no sin [that being the sin of not believing in Him], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
  • v9. The moment of believing on Him: If we confess our sin [as a non-believer repenting from the sin of not believing, to believing in Jesus Christ], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin [of previously not believing], and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • v10.  A believing person: If we say [as a believer] that we have not sinned [previously not been in the sin of unbelief], we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

The forgiveness of “all sins” and the “cleanse from all unrighteousness” is both the total forgiveness of sins taken at the Cross (flesh sins) plus the forgiveness of the Sin of unbelieving (spiritual sin). To say, as an unbeliever, that “we have no sin” is to say that it is not a Sin to not believe in Christ Jesus. And to say as a believer “that we have not sinned” is to say that we were never in the Sin of unbelief—also making Him a liar.

We are not sinners.

But as a believer, we have the ability and truth to proclaim that we currently have no sin! This is a bold statement, but a truthful one as John states later in this same letter:

1 John 4:15-17
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 John 5:18
We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; moreover, he is born of God who cares for him, and that wicked one touches him not. 

When we believe, we are made a pure and Holy person whom God dwells in! We are made exactly as Jesus Christ is: “because as He is, so are we in this world”. Christ is without sin, so are we. Christ cannot sin, neither can we. There is no sin we can commit that was not first taken at the Cross (sin of the flesh), then secondly forgiven upon believing in Him (the Sin of unbelief)—two sins taken completely away! There is no sin counted against us! Making us completely sin-free. We aren’t in sin, and neither can we sin as a believer.

Rejecting Jesus.

The only sin is the Sin of not believing in Christ Jesus: as a non-believer, this is the sin unto death; and as a believer, is rejecting Christ after believing, falling back into that sin unto death (the Sin of not believing).

1 John 5:16-17
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

The Holy Ghost seals us upon believing in Christ Jesus. When, after we believe and are sealed, we reject that belief back into unbelief, we grieve the Holy Ghost, for when doing that, we can no longer come back into believing:

Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

This belief into Salvation is something we have to not let go of in this life. For just as the Lord never forces us to believe on Him, He neither forces us not to reject Him—for we can unbelieve out of Salvation and die just like an unbeliever who never accepted Christ.

2 Peter 2:19-22
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome (made worse off), of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

But it takes a special case to be able to reject Jesus Christ after being Born-Again, but it is possible—not through ignorance, nor through loss; But one can by specific choice:

Hebrews 6:4-6
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

A believer can reject Christ Jesus back into the Sin of not believing. And if they do this, they cannot ever come back into being Born-Again-Again—for they cannot crucify Christ again.

Hebrews 10:26-29
For if we Sin willfully [this being the sin of rejecting the belief that one has accepted] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain [guaranteed / irrefutable / sure / definite / confident] fearful looking for [expectation] of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries [them that are opposed to]. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:38-39
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

We are forgiven at the Cross and Believing on Jesus Christ.

So then, back to the original question: “When are we forgiven?” Both at the Cross and at believing in Jesus Christ.

Firstly, for all human beings, all their sins of the flesh have been removed at the Cross. This is a forgiveness we never asked for, nor do we have to ask for. It was done before we committed them and long before we were even born! We did not have a say in this forgiveness as it was God’s Gift for us.

Then secondly, the Sin of not believing is removed upon believing. This is our choice as God cannot violate our free-will in believing on Him or not believing on Him. Our choice, our consequences—one to Eternal Life (eternity forever with the Lord), the other Eternal Death (eternity forever without the Lord).

And if we do die without coming into belief, this Sin of not believing is what is judged. Judgement is only of the testimony of the word of God for their denial of believing. This Sin of rejecting Christ Jesus is the most horrible Sin and only Sin that a human has consequences for. There cannot be any judgement for any sins of the flesh, because they would have to be taken back from Jesus and the Cross—which they cannot. For those sins of the flesh, from the Cross are “never to be remembered again”!

The reason the flesh ones are taken care of at the Cross is to eliminate any hindrance to coming to Him in belief—an affect upon a person’s heart. This is recognized in the Garden from the eating of the wrong tree.

When Adam sinned through the tree, they hid themselves from God the Father. Their heart changed in that moment of sin causing them to withdraw from God as a Father. It wasn’t sin that caused the separation, but that they felt in their heart an unworthiness. God never separated Himself from them, they separated from Him out of a fear. This is what pained the Father: that they separated from Him. And this fear continued through people over the course of history. Yet the only way to eliminate that heart-condition (sin-conscience) to want to separate from God the Father was for sin to be eliminated as the heart excuse to separate. Sin cannot separate us from God, we are only deceived in thinking it does.

Colossians 1:19-21
For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ Jesus] should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by Him reconciling all things unto Himself by Him (I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven). And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies, in your mind, by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

It is only in our minds that we were alienated and enemies of God, never in reality. The only power sin has is deception: to make us THINK (a sin-conscience) that we can be separated from God by any sin of the flesh.

Hebrews 3:13 KJVS
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Sin cannot change God's view of us! So, there is no reason to allow it to deceive us in thinking His view is changed of us. Or worse off, that our view of ourselves is not as Christ Jesus—because that is who we are as: Christ Jesus. 

Our sins of the flesh have no actual means to guilt us before God! For if we still “feel” guilty before God (a guilt-conscience), we would not come to Him—just as if we feel guilt towards a person in our own life; that guilt becomes a hindrance to us wanting to speak to them or see them at all.

We should have no more consciousness of sin.

But if there is no sin, there is no excuse to separate ourselves from God. This is reconciliation! He removed our mental separation by removing our sins. Now, logically, we have no argument about sin keeping me from God! We have no excuse to maintain a sin-conscience. We should have no “offence” to God and man—that is, by the original Greek meaning of “offence”: that we should not have a consciousness of sin.

Acts 24:16
And herein do I exercise myself [strive], to have always a conscience void of offence [no troubled by a consciousness of sin] toward God, and toward men.

Philippians 1:9-10
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense [no troubled by a consciousness of sin] till the day of Christ.

We must be diligent in making sure we do not have a consciousness of sin towards God, for He has removed it all from us at the Cross. And if you are a believer, removed the Sin of unbelief too. All a sin-conscience does is create a deceptive mindset barrier to our relationship with God—creating doctrines that oppose God (like forbidding meat or marriage).

1 Corinthians 10:25,26,32
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
Come into an existence of a consciousness not troubled by sin; even by the Jews, the Gentiles, the Church.

1 Timothy 4:1-5
Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; branding their conscience with a hot iron [carrying about themselves the perpetual consciousness of sin]; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

A sin-conscience will try and create doctrines to ‘legally’ make oneself pure to appease the Lord. Yet in truth, sin can never be a barrier between us and God!

We don’t have to be sin-free for Him to Love us. And we don’t come to Him for Him to Love us, He Loves us so that we do come to Him! He died for the whole world (John 3:15-17); for “while we were still sinners (unbelievers), He died for us.”

Romans 5:6-11
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Thus, because we are all reconciled before believing, we are then free to come to Him in belief (all without guilt or hesitation). And once we do come to Him in belief, that last and only Sin, the Sin of not believing, is removed. We achieve then, full righteousness, Holiness, and start our journey into Salvation.