Have you (the born again Christian) ever struggled to feel forgiven by God? I’ll confess to you that I have, even though the bible doesn’t teach that we Christians are supposed to feel forgiven. Nevertheless, I’ve found that the way to feel forgiven by God, is to rest in the truth about the finished work of Christ, (see Romans chapters 3, 4, & 5, and Hebrews chapters 4, & 7, 8, 9, 10). And the results of this rest for the believer is confidence, joy, & peace in our spirit.
However, I’ve found that every now and then the voices of religion come along and muddy the Christian’s understanding of what the blood of Jesus Christ has accomplished for our sin guilt where God is concerned. Religion will nullify the blood of Jesus, by pointing the Christian to 1 John 1.9 as the methodology for us to (ongoingly) cleanse our sin guilt.
(an aside note)
I want to emphasize the seriousness of this matter about what you believe about God’s forgiveness. The fact is, this isn’t a periphery topic; this is a top-level issue of doctrine. In fact I once resigned my church membership because of irreconcilable differences that I had with church leadership on this very topic.
You see, (like you perhaps) I had previously been a wreck of sin-guilt when God drew me to salvation. And ironically, religion was the one entity that attempted to subtly strip away the priceless spiritual treasure that God had given to me of total forgiveness of my sins. Religion, was the very obstacle that I had to overcome to embrace God’s grace.
There are few things more demoralizing than for someone to come to embrace what the finished work of Christ accomplished for them…Only to then have your religious leader try to take that spiritual treasure away from you. They deny the atonement-blood of Christ, by advising the Christian to pursue ongoing forgiveness from God.
The reason why this is such a critical issue for the Christian to settle, is because not only does this reveal what you really believe about the atonement-merit of the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood, but it also directly affects how you do life as a Christian.
Meaning, if you as a Christian aren’t resting in that you have already been fully forgiven in the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood, you’re going to live your Christian life in a fog of uncertainty about how forgiven you really are from God from one day to the next. Which turns your relationship with God into a treadmill of misery, because your focus turns away from your Saviour, and onto yourself. Your Christian life becomes a constant neurotic introspection of how you keep sinning in your flesh, (with the accompanying & never-ending task of pursuing God’s forgiveness for those sins that He has already given and applied to you].
And please understand that I’m not discussing whether or not we should be turning away from our sins, because we should ALWAYS be doing that. Sin has harsh consequences that harms our witness, others, ourselves, and it grieves God. Moreover, we should continually be seeking God’s help in our ongoing struggle to resist sin.
So with those matters addressed, what I present for your consideration in this post is this:
• What did Jesus’ blood actually accomplish in regard to the Christian’s sin guilt before God?
(And related to that question)
• Does God issue any ongoing forgiveness to the Christian (given that Jesus has already fully atoned for our sins)?
Now please read & consider the message within the chapter of 1 John chapter 1, (it’s only 10 verses long).
1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
So what did those words of scripture communicate to you?
Were those words of scripture written:
A. To instruct Christians on how to receive ongoing forgiveness from God?
B. Was it written to a segment of an audience who needed to be corrected about certain beliefs so that they could be saved?
[We already know that John has written to a mixed audience of both saved and lost people.
Look at John 20.31: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” As well as Revelation 22.17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. “]
So if you’re convinced that 1John 1:9 is a directive for the Christian to receive ongoing forgiveness from God, then according to the surrounding text, you would also have to believe that…
• Some Christians need to be convinced that Jesus physically walked the earth and interacted with people.
• Jesus’ blood did not fully cleanse the Christian of all sin debt & unrighteousness where God is concerned.
• There are Christians who are liars, and walk in darkness.
• There are Christians who deny that they have sinned, they are deceived, and the truth is not in them.
• There are Christians who make God a liar, and His word is not in them.
Now to conclude this post, I ask you to consider the relevant fact that you and I weren’t even born yet when Jesus paid for our sin debt on the cross. (Therefore He had to be taking on the full weight of our sin debt, because all of our sins were in the future when He paid that sin debt).
Therefore… the concept of a Christian trying to “stay forgiven” from God doesn’t make any more sense than you taking an umbrella outside today to keep you dry from last Tuesday’s rain. (The event has already passed).
Someone has either received Jesus’ past shed-blood for their sin debt, or they haven’t.
Look at what John wrote in the book of Revelation, (the same writer of 1 John) about the extent of forgiveness in Jesus’ blood:
5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.“
It’s a very interesting topic to think about isn’t it? And I believe that it will bless you very much if you will set religious traditions aside, and prayerfully consider this issue anew.
Thank you for sharing a moment of your time with me.
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ! And no glory to us whatsoever!