I am realizing there is a lack of revelation of God’s forgiveness. This misunderstanding sure contributes to a rampant Christian identity crisis and a twisted view of who God really is. In fact, our confusion about our own forgiveness affects how we view others. I sure had no idea of the magnitude of His forgiveness. But by golly I am starting to see the enormity and simplicity of the Good News! I have been searching the scriptures to see if this is so, and sure enough this ‘too good to be true’ Gospel is so!
Let’s jump into this area of God’s forgiveness – you just might be surprised, challenged, stretched, even resistant or offended.
The majority of Christians would say that God forgives us of our sins, but they believe it is an ongoing forgiveness. After all, we traditionally think of ourselves as just “sinners saved by grace”, so we expect to sin, and hence we will keep asking God for forgiveness. That would have been my understanding for decades in my Christian walk, and that is what I did – kept asking forgiveness when I sinned, and feeling so disappointed, guilty, and ashamed when I blew it. “Oh God, I’m so sorry, please have mercy on me!”, would be the cry of my heart. “Lord, I will try harder next time. I really love You, I want to please You, I want to be more like Jesus, I want to worship You more, I want to serve You, I want to help advance Your kingdom, I want to love You more…” – on and on it went. Gosh, just writing out those ‘want tos’ wore me out! Hey, anyone else out there with that litany of apologies with a do it better next time religious pattern?
The Christian religious system teaches – we have to acknowledge we are sinners, repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us of our sins, ask Jesus to be our Savior, and then we will be saved. But after that we will still have to ask Him for forgiveness when we sin. Hmmm, does this mean He didn’t have enough power to totally forgive us and cleanse us? Could this suggest Jesus was kind of an impotent Savior?!
By continuing to see ourselves as sinners who must continue to ask for mercy and forgiveness, then it appears this is how He will finish the good work He started. He really needs our help? (Phil 1:6 1Thes 5:24)
Does He need our will power to help make us more holy – our will power to pray more, worship more, study the Bible, save the lost, give more? Then when our will power fails, we need to once again ask forgiveness? Consequently, we are plagued with disappointment with ourselves and believing we have also disappointed God. Good news, huh?
Religious tradition also teaches we have to chose Him to be our Savior. We have to want to be forgiven and ask to be forgiven. If we don’t, then we go to hell. Gulp. So our salvation is up to us!? Hey, doesn’t God seem mean with that kind of teaching? But, Jesus said, “I chose you, you didn’t choose me…” – where does that fit in?
Wow, lots of work to do if you want to be a Christian – hey, kind of like a lot of other religions! Could the Gospel possibly be better than the traditional Christian religious system has been telling us? I shout, “Yes! It’s incredible GOOD NEWS and most of us have never heard it!” I sure hadn’t.
Have you ever heard of or seen these scriptures (below) that speak to how much God forgave us? If you are familiar with them, do you apply them only to believers and perhaps to those who decide to believe? Do you realize these words are for ALL mankind? Please give these passages serious consideration, look beyond tradition, and let Holy Spirit speak to you. (Note – all emphasis with capital letters are mine)
- When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL our transgressions. Col 2:13
- But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-6
- “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:12
- “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb 10:17,18
- Little children, your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1Jn 2:12
- You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. 1Jn 3:5
- For the love of Christ compels us, having concluded this, that one died for ALL, therefore ALL died; and He died for ALL, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him… 2Cor 5:14,15
- God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them… 2Cor 5:19
- He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him 2Cor 5:21 (note: ‘might’ is not in original text. ‘become’ is Greek ginomai – to come into being, to birth)
- You were in Christ when He died which means that His death represents your true circumcision. Sin’s authority in the human body was stripped off you in Him dying your death. Col 2:11 (MIR)
- John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world!” Jn 1:29
- Jesus Christ…the firstborn from the dead. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood… Rev 1:5
Sure looks like He took away ALL sin for ALL people (past, present, future). Gasp! Is that possible?! This has huge ramifications on how we see God and how we see ourselves, let alone others. May He give you ears to hear and eyes to see truth that will indeed set you free!
- When God made man in His image He said it is very good – and He has never changed His mind!
- We have believed a lie about what really happened at the cross and in turn we believe a lie about our true identity.
- Here’s the kicker. Romans 4:25 – He was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification (our righteousness, our innocence). His resurrection reveals and confirms our righteousness, our innocence, our justification! If we were still guilty and sinners after Jesus died, then His resurrection would not have happened! Oh my goodness! How big is this fullness in Jesus?!