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.

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