"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" (Ephesians 1:7) New International Version (©2011)
"He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins." (Ephesians 1:7) New Living Translation (©2007)
But, some of you reading this may ask the question or hear the question being asked by others, "what about confess in 1 John 1:9 and the Lord's Prayer given by Jesus?" Before we go there again, (and you can read about those items in great detail from the links), what are you going to say to God in your prayers on a daily basis? Are you going to continue to ask Him for what He has already done? Or, are you going to place faith in what He has done for you in His finished work on the cross?
Are you a simple confessor of Jesus, giving lip service to what Jesus has done; or are you a possessor of the Holy Spirit, alive living in you, never to leave you, never to forsake you, never to stop loving you, never to get out of fellowship with you, no matter what you do or don't do?
Some will say that there are a couple of different types of forgiveness. They will say, "I know my sins were forgiven on the cross judicially," (also known as positional forgiveness) and here comes the big "BUT" out of their mouths, "but I have to ask God for forgiveness to experience it in my life when I sin, (this is experiential forgiveness) - after all, take a look at what Jesus told us to do in the Lord's prayer, and look at 1 John 1:9."
When Were Your Sins Forgiven?
Let us reason together...(Isaiah 1:18) First off, can you really talk to God out of both sides of your mouth, and have it be truth? Can you really imagine going to God on a daily basis and thank him for what he has done for you on the cross, and then in the very next breath ask for forgiveness from God? This is exactly what some folks are doing everyday in their prayer life, and sometimes multiple times during the day. Which is it, do you believe God forgave you, or do you need more forgiveness today from God? What about all the sins you forget to confess? What happens with those sins that you forget to confess under the banner of experiential forgiveness?
Confess Means to Agree With God - Not ask for Forgiveness
For many folks, the word "confess" is synonymous to asking for forgiveness from God. Catholics will tell you that they go to the priest, in a confession booth, and ask for forgiveness. Protestants will tell you that they don't have to go to a priest at all to confess their sins, they go directly to God, confessing their sins to Him, to get their sins forgiven.
God on the other hand has declared, "It is Finished!" Forgiveness has been finalized. Forgiveness is completed. Forgiveness is eternal. Forgiveness is total. Forgiveness is found in the person of Jesus. A person receives complete forgiveness of sins when they receive Him. A person does not get forgiveness of sins over and over again as they did in the old covenant. This is exactly what Protestants and Catholics are doing. Catholics are sacrificing God everyday in the Mass. Protestants are sacrificing Jesus everyday in their minds, asking God to do what He has already done. Neither the Catholics nor the Protestants recognize that Jesus took away all their sins on the cross. They are in unbelief that God did it all, and they think there needs to be something from man to extract (appropriate) the forgiveness from God.
What Does a Person Truly Believe?
The following question comes to my mind. Does a person really believe in completed forgiveness on the cross, if they believe God did it judicially, yet they turn around and say they need to ask for it experientially? For anyone that is sitting on this mode of forgiveness, it is difficult to tell really what they believe in their own minds, and how they are praying to God at each moment in time. Do they thank God for His forgiveness to begin with in a judicial mode, and then turn around and ask for forgiveness in an experiential mode? Which does a person really believe and when? This type of behavior is indicative of a double-minded person, unstable in all things (James 1:8), no matter who it is. This type of sinful behavior can be seen in pastors, teachers, and laity. Anyone in this mode, it is like pulling teeth for them to look closer at the Word of God. They are resting in their traditions, in their religious systems, and their own understandings.
Is God Waiting for Man to Ask For Forgiveness Before God Forgives?
Pastors and teachers are pulling people away from Jesus (with a watered down gospel) as much as the cults are pulling people away from Christ. These pastors and teachers will have this wonderful sermon on Grace, and tell the people of how Jesus took away all sin on the cross, and then at the end will say something completely opposite like, "God forgive me for the bad things we have done in life." Which is it? Did God take away all sins on the cross, or is there more forgiveness required by God? Their idea of forgiveness is not that Christ completed the work at the cross, but that forgiveness is now a joint works action between God and man. They will say this is how we forgive others, so God must forgive like human forgiveness. Are we now to think that God's divine forgiveness is like man's forgiveness? May it never be so!
People living like this think they only need God 10% of the time. The other 90% of the time they think they are basically good. "Watch me God, look how good I am, - and I ask for forgiveness for the times I am not good" is what a person is indirectly saying to God, living in a mode of confessionalism for forgiveness instead of living by faith in what He has done for them. In essence, most folks don't believe their sins are completely forgiven. They need a little soapy scrubbing cleaning action now and then to get themselves presentable to God. They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and gotten caught in the sin that so easily entangles.
Putting Faith Into Practice
Put an end to your confessionalism for forgiveness, and agree with God (confess) that he took your sins away on the cross for all time, for all sins. He is the faithful one to have forgiven you and to have cleansed you for all time of all unrighteousness. Confess it. Agree with God concerning it. Put it to rest. Walk by faith that He has done it all.
If Jesus is God in the flesh (and He is - John 1:14), and Jesus prayed from the cross to the Father and said, "Father forgive them for they know what they do" (which He did say - Luke 23:34), do you think that prayer was answered by God?
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. "
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