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Forgiveness

We have discussed how salvation is eternal, but if that is true, what happens when we sin, do we still need to ask for forgiveness? This doctrine has been taught in some very confusing ways. People who teach that you can lose your salvation will say that if you must ask for forgiveness every time you sin or else you will not be saved and enter heaven. However, we know that is not true because the Bible tells us that IF it were possible to lose your salvation there would be no gaining it back, because there is no sacrifice left for sins.

Heb 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

We are also told that we cannot be brought back to repentance IF we were to fall away because that would be subjecting Jesus to public disgrace.

Heb 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

There are people who believe that salvation is eternal but still teach that we need to seek forgiveness for our sins in order to keep favor with God. Since we know salvation is eternal and we could not get more forgiveness if we lost it how can we think that we need more forgiveness whether it is for salvation or fellowship with God? There was only one sacrifice for sins, and if anyone is going to claim that they lose the forgiveness that came with that one sacrifice then they have to also admit that there is “no sacrifice for sins left,” and therefore no way to be forgiven again. Why is that? Forgiveness requires blood to be shed.

Heb 9:18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Blood was required for forgiveness in the Old Testament and that did not change under the New Covenant. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. So, if Jesus did not completely forgive us for ALL of our sins, there is no sacrifice left because there will not be any more sacrifices offered.

Under the Old Covenant our sins were covered by the blood of the bulls and goats that were sacrificed for them. But under the New Covenant our sins were not merely covered up, they were taken away.

Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Since our sins were literally taken away, God said that he would not even remember them.

Heb 10:17 Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Since salvation is eternal we have to realize that we had to have already been forgiven for ALL of our sins because Christ died once for all of them.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all , the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Heb 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

Heb 9:26But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Heb 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb 7:27 He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Rom 6:10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all ; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Christ died once for all sins and all people and since forgiveness requires the shedding of blood we know there is no sacrifice left for sins and therefore no more forgiveness can be offered. Jesus said His work was finished and He is now sitting down at the right hand of the Father. He will not shed his blood again for you no matter how grievous your offense is. To claim that any sin was not already taken away by His blood is to claim that Christ's sacrifice was not sufficient.

Since there is no forgiveness left, what happens when a Christian sins? We know that they are already forgiven for that sin because Christ died once for all sins, so salvation can not be lost over a sin that is already taken away by the blood of Jesus Christ. No matter how terrible that sin may be, God does not remember that sin. Does this mean that Christians then have a license to sin? No.

Rom 3:31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

As Christians we still uphold the law, but the motivation for which we do it has changed. First, we must realize that we are not upholding the Old Testament Law. That was done away with and made obsolete when the New Covenant was given.

Heb 7:18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

We are not upholding the Old Covenant that made nothing perfect but the new law given to us by Christ which is the law of love.

John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The commandment we follow now is one of love. We no longer follow the law to gain salvation or God's favor. Instead we follow His instructions out of love for him and for those around us.

We have freedom in Christ, but out of love we should never let our freedom cause others to stumble.

1 Cor 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

We can do all things but should only do those that are beneficial.

1 Cor 10:23 "Everything is permissible"-but not everything is beneficial . "Everything is permissible"-but not everything is constructive.

Christ not only died to forgive us our sins, but he also rose again to give us life. We no longer have to strive to please God, if we walk in the Spirit then we will not fulfill the fleshly desires. We have Christ living in us to guide us. As we study God's Word His Spirit will encourage us to do those things that are beneficial. But even when we do mess up we must realize that we have already been forgiven for that sin and it can not cause us to lose the precious gift of salvation that God gave us. So, what then, does a Christian do when they sin?

First, every Christian must examine themselves to make sure they are in the faith.

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?

If someone is openly and blatantly living in a sinful manner disregarding clear commands from the Lord and finding no guilt or fault with his sin, maybe they are not truly a Christian to begin with. Believing the facts about Jesus does not save a person. Believing in a man named Jesus who is not the same Jesus in the Bible will not save a man. Many people believe many things about God, what they must do is read the Bible and make sure what they believe is what GOD really said. You will never be able to walk in the Spirit if the Spirit is not in you.

However, if a person is truly saved, what does the Bible require them to do when they sin? Well, you cannot ask for forgiveness, for you are already forgiven, but you can thank the Father for that! After thanking him for that forgiveness, commit not to do that sin any longer. Just stop doing it. Consider these words from Paul:

Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

If you lie, simply stop doing it and “speak truthfully.” If you steal, then “steal no longer” and “do something useful” with your hands. There is no command in this passage (or any NT passage) that tells us we must ask for forgiveness every time we sin. In fact, Paul said we should forgive each other “just as in Christ God forgave you.” Notice the word “forgave.” That is past tense, we have already been forgiven and should now simply stop sinning. Not because our sin causes us to lose our salvation or even fellowship with God, but we should stop out of love for the one who has already forgiven us. Our gratefulness for the true, real, and lasting sacrifice of Christ should motivate us to want to follow His command of love and be obedient to His Word. May we learn to rest in the promise of His forgiveness and focus not on things we have done wrong, but on Him who can teach us to do what is right.

Rom 4:7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven , whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

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