God Doesn’t Do Half-Jobs: Why Partial Forgiveness Is Completely Bogus


There’s a teaching going around that says that God has only half-forgiven us. If it sounds wacky, that’s because it is. But partial forgiveness is what you have if you think there are things we must do to stay forgiven. Sure, Jesus forgave us at the cross, but to stay forgiven we need to forgive others or keep confessing our sins or do other stuff. The implication is that if we fail to do these things, we fall out of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Three arguments are usually offered in support of this teaching:

(1) Jesus said, “If you forgive others, your heavenly Father will forgive you” (Mt 6:14), thus forgiveness is conditional on what we do
(2) Peter refers to being forgiven from our “past sins” (2 Pet 1:9) implying that our present and future sins are yet to be dealt with
(3) John seems to say that Jesus will only cleanse us from our sins if we confess our sins (1 Jn 1:9) – so if we don’t confess, we don’t get forgiven

Let’s look at each argument in turn.

(1) Jesus said forgiveness was conditional

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer and finished by stressing the need to forgive others if we desire forgiveness ourselves. The Sermon on the Mount is the most eloquent exposition of old covenant law ever preached. Jesus preached it before the cross to people who were living under the law.

Why was Jesus preaching law? Because the Pharisees had watered down the law diluting its power to silence the mouths of self-righteous men. The law was intended to break our pride and reveal our need for a Savior (Gal 3:24). If you think the law easy and do-able, you will not have a true appreciation of your sinful state and you won’t see your need for Jesus.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus announced that He had come to fulfill the law. He then proceeded to preach about the pristine, standard of God’s holy law. That standard is neatly summarized in his appeal to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

Now how would you feel if the Sunday preacher said, “you must be perfect”? How would you feel if he said, “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20)? If your reaction is, “I’m in trouble, I need help,” then you are closer to freedom than any Pharisee then or any religious person now.

The law is holy, righteous and good but it has no power to make you holy, righteous and good. When Jesus said you will be forgiven in proportion to the forgiveness you show to others, He was preaching pure, unadulterated law. What He said is just, it is good, and it condemns you.

The truth is the measure of forgiveness that we need from God is infinitely greater than any forgiveness we could show to others. Thankfully, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law on our behalf when he went to the cross. In the very act of paying for the world’s sin, He forgave us our sin! That’s breathtaking. The very condition for forgiveness that Jesus preached on the Mount, He himself satisfied on the cross. Only in Christ do we receive the Father’s forgiveness.

(2) Peter implies that only our past sins are forgiven

When Jesus died on the cross He did not cry out, “it is half-finished.” No. God doesn’t do half-jobs. Everything that needed to be done to satisfy the demands of justice was done by Jesus. His sacrifice was the once and final solution for our sin (Heb 9:26).

It’s a simple truth, yet many people just don’t get it.

Peter writes that the main reason why some Christians don’t mature is that they have forgotten they have been cleansed from their past sins (2 Pet 1:9). Their knowledge of Jesus and what he accomplished is so limited that they are “ineffective and unproductive.” They live power-less lives.

We have been reconciled to God not by dead religious works but by the blood of Jesus. A Christian is literally a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Our sinful life is in our past. Although we may continue to act like sinners in our unrenewed thinking, we are sinners no longer. Hence Peter says, “stop living in the past and grow up.”

What brings forgiveness of sins? Jesus’ blood (Mt 26:28). “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22). As Jesus bled and died on the cross, God canceled the law that was against us and “forgave us all our sins” (Col 2:13-14).

You were forgiven 2,000 years ago. It’s nonsense to say that God hasn’t forgiven our future sins because when he forgave us all our sins were in the future.

(3) John says forgiveness depends on our confession

How do we receive the free gift of forgiveness? Repent and put your trust in Jesus. John writes that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to purify us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). Some take this to mean that we are cleansed from sin through our confession. But John makes it clear that it is the “blood of Jesus” – not our confession – that “purifies us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7).

And did you notice John said “all sin”? Just in case we missed it, John says it again: Jesus cleanses us from “all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). All means all. All includes past, present and future sin. When you are cleansed by Jesus you are well and truly cleansed!

“The LORD says, ‘Now, let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool.'” (Is 1:18, GNB)

As I have said elsewhere, John is not preaching a doctrine of human confession but a doctrine of divine forgiveness. Like every other writer in the New Testament John goes to great lengths to show that divine forgiveness is a God-thing from start to finish. If we respond to His overtures and acknowledge our sinful state and our need for a Savior, we are eternally, completely, perfectly forgiven!

When you sin, guess what – you are still forgiven! God’s grace is greater than your sin. Of course you should not sin and when you do you should repent, but rest assured that nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.

Some people try to put limits on God’s forgiveness. They say that he withholds His forgiveness unless we do this, that and the other thing. They say that God forgives in accordance with our behavior or performance. But that is not what the Bible says.

“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Eph 1:7)

Just as you can’t put a limit on the riches of God’s grace, you can’t put a limit on His forgiveness. Now that’s good news!


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71 Comments on God Doesn’t Do Half-Jobs: Why Partial Forgiveness Is Completely Bogus

  1. Awesome word Paul! Love the clarity you bring to the subject.

  2. Very well done.

  3. Complete and continual forgiveness is possible but the idea our future sins are forgiven is “bogus” at the moment we come to cross. Baptism deals with our past sins “16And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'” Said to Paul many days after his Damascus road experience after he became a believer in Jesus. Baptism in the spirit deals with our future that we are now able to be led by the spirit. That is the Word of God.

    • Our future sins are forgiven is “Bogus???” The Good News is that “all” of our sins were forgiven at the cross. We are new creations in Christ. God sees us as “perfect and righteous; seated in the Kingdom of Heaven with him.” The blood of Christ covers all sin. As someone once said: “All means all, and that’s all that all means.” Why complicate it? We did nothing to earn salvation; we can do nothing to keep it. Do you wish to crucify Christ afresh every time you sin? Please consider this: Union and Fellowship with God. Our union with him is irrevocable. We are his children. That never changes. However; as we all know only too well-we sin daily.

      In order to remain in fellowship with God; we are sorry, and seek his forgiveness for our transgressions. That is our present reality. It in no way affects our salvation. ALL our sins were forgiven the moment we believed. “What is the work God requires of us?” Jesus replied–believe in the one that God has sent. That was a perfect opportunity for Jesus to add human effort to salvation. He didn’t. We are kept secure and safe in HIS hands. It’s Good News! It’s abundant life. Immerse yourself in the Father’s unfathomable, wonderful, healing, joyful love for you.

      “Come unto me; all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I I will give you rest. My burden is easy, and my yoke is light.”

  4. Susana Vivas // May 20, 2010 at 5:18 am // Reply

    I love Grace teaching, thank you for sharing, I love it! God Bless!!

  5. Liked what you said, but was wondering how you would approach the following few verses?

    “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:26-29

    • Paul Ellis // June 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm // Reply

      Hi Tim, thanks for the comment. I know that preachers who are confused about what Jesus accomplished on the cross have used this text to speak condemnation over those whom Jesus justifies. Afterall, the writer is addressing “brothers” (v.19) and refers to “us” five times in verses 19-25. Although most of the epistle is written for believers, note that the letter wasn’t addressed to Christians in particular, but to Hebrews in general. Like any good preacher, the author of the letter makes no assumptions about his audience/readers. He assumes that at least some of those hearing/reading the letter will be unsaved. He writes to warn these people.

      In the 4 verses you mentioned he describes people who have received the knowledge of the truth but “deliberately keep on sinning.” In other words, they have looked at the cross, tasted the goodness of God, and scorned it. They are unrepentant. This cannot be referring to a Christian who is a new creation, who has received the grace of God that teaches us to say no to ungodliness. The mere fact that someone carries on unchanged shows that they have not been apprehended by the grace of God. So the author must be writing to sinners. When the author says “if we” in verse 26, he is identifying with the lost, much as Jesus did, in order to lead them to salvation.

      One of the themes of Hebrews is that Jesus’ one-time sacrifice was superior to the sacrificial system of the Levites. They were a type, but Jesus is the reality. Any Jewish listener would’ve been familiar with the fatal consequences of rejecting Moses’ law. The author uses this to highlight the far more serious consequences of rejecting the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of grace. This scripture, along with Hebs 6:4-6, makes me think of people like Judas. Judas had an awesome exposure to the grace and goodness of God yet was unchanged by it. People who have a taste but walk away often become hardened to the gospel. It is almost impossible for such people to be brought back to the place of repentance. Perhaps a frightening warning, such as those found in Hebrews 6 and 10, is needed to jolt them to their senses.

      Update: My friend Cornel Marais has just posted his take on Hebrews 10:26. He has a nice take on this scripture comparing the warning to ignoring off-ramps on the highway to hell. You might also want to check out my own post on Hebrews 10:26.

      • Thanks Paul. I had been wrestling with that scripture for a while and wondering what the heart of its message was. Really enjoyed reading your blog!

      • Joanne Armstrong // May 7, 2012 at 9:03 am //

        The word “received the knowledge of the truth” in Hebrews 10 means just that…

      • Hi Joanne, I had to delete your three part comment as it violated my comment policy in several respects. Please keep comments short (<250 words) and limited to the post being discussed (partial forgiveness in this case). Any comments you have on Hebrews 10:26 should go under that post.

      • Paul,

        thanks a lot for all your writing! It’s a blessing indeed!! I’ll bookmark this site (which I just found today).

        I just had a quick question, as I try to understand grace vs law.

        I know of people who loved God a lot, and were used by God mightily. God worked big miracles through them – prophecies, healings, preachings, etc. – true wonders of God – and then all that success corrupted them and they fell in a life of sin, from which they did not return ever again, and they since passed away. One in particular, even became a very agressive atheist and now debates Christians.

        Do you mean to say that those people NEVER knew Christ in the first place? (If so, WHO was preaching the gospel tirelessly through them? WHO was casting out demons through them? WHO was healing people through them?

        I would deeply appreciate a response. Thank you in advance! God bless you!

      • Hi, thanks for the encouraging feedback. Normally comments under posts are deleted unless they pertain to the post being discussion. Please read this post entitled “8 ways to get your grace questions answered.

  6. Nice post.

    Another point that is often ignored is the obvious hypocrisy of a God who says who tells us to forgive others (even when they do not apologize) and yet does not do it himself.

    Every thing God tells us to do, he does himself. He forgives before we ask. He IS forgiveness, its in his very nature.

    There WAS a legal requirement of The Law that demanded justice but let us not think it was God’s lack of forgiveness thats sent Christ to the cross. Christ is in essence the very forgiveness of God.

    To suggest that we are not forgiven now or in the future would suggest the need for another Christ.

  7. Hi,

    This is great.

    I’m not sure if this is the right place for this question. But what do you make of 1 Pet 3:7 where Peter speaks to husbands to treat their wives well that their prayers wouldn’t be hindered? Or something like James 5:16 talking about the effectiveness of the prayers of a righteous man? It would seem to me that we all have complete access to God through the blood of Jesus whatever our outward behavior looks like once we have put our faith in Christ. All who are in Christ are righteous as a gift. That’s been made so clear to me and it’s so liberating.

    Keep doing what you do. You are bringing freedom to many captives!

    The blessings of the Lord be upon you.

  8. May I also add that in HEB 10:29 the greek word for insulted (strongs #1796) means “the insulting disdain of one who considers HIMSELF superior”. So Paul is absolutely right, praise God. In verse 39 of the same chapter the word soul in the greek (#5590) means not mind, will, and emotions but BREATH, and also SPIRIT. So they were most certainly unbelievers. The Lord also shared a rhetorical question with me, “How do you insult grace (HEB 10:29, Spirit of Grace? ) “By not receiving it”. Law demands, but under grace (undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor (GRK)), our job is to receive praise god.

  9. Victor Tembo // December 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm // Reply

    Hi Ellis,

    Thanks for your great article. I do believe that Jesus has forgiven our past, present and future sins.

    This is a radical statement that confounds the religious.

    2 Peter 1:9 is a verse that really troubled me when I first learned that all sins: past , present and future sins have been forgiven.

    However, that verse has not been correctly translated by many versions. The original rendering says……..’past LIFE of sin’……….other versions say …’old SINS’……

    I think there’s a HUGE difference here. If it’s old sins, it implies present and future sins are not included. But if it’s a LIFE of sin, it means a complete take away of past, present and future sins altogether.

    One edition of New Living Translations says…..old life of sin……..

    and the New Life Version (NLV) puts it this way:……. 9 But if you do not have these things, you are blind and cannot see far. You forget God saved you from your old life of sin.

    I’m glad you said this: “A Christian is literally a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Our sinful life is in our past. Although we may continue to act like sinners in our unrenewed thinking, we are sinners no longer.”


    Victor Tembo

  10. Beautiful! Thank you…

  11. I may be a little late to the discussion, but I have been growing more and more concerned that what my church, and this blog post is teaching, may be little more than a “tickling the ears” of believers. My first question would be that if we are indeed forgiven of ALL future sins, why would Jesus instruct in the Lord’s Prayer to ask the Father to “forgive us” as we forgive others. Do you really contend that this is ONLY an instruction for pre-resurrection believers? Are you prepared to say that the Lord’s prayer no longer necessary for the “eternally secure”? Are you willing to preach that the Lord’s prayer is unnecessary for believers? Please prayerfully consider your response, I beg you, because I assure you that I am taking this VERY seriously and have prayed for wisdom, love, and discernment from the Holy Spirit before confronting this, which I consider a major issue.

    I’m sure that you are familiar with the church at Sardis and that it was pronounced as being “dead” in Revelation 3. Though it appeared to be alive and had “a reputation of being alive” and looked spiritually vibrant on the outside, it was spiritually lifeless. The church was Christian in name only. Please take special notice of what Jesus said to the Christians at Sardis upon His return, after His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection for every person’s sins: “You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4 – take time to read these passages.

    They imply that the rest of the members of the church at Sardis had somehow soiled their spiritual clothes and were no longer worthy to walk with Jesus “dressed in white”. How did they wind up getting soiled? Can sin really defile a Christian and even bring him to his spiritual death? Can the saved actually lose their blessing? Can they really no longer be saved? Will many “Christians” not get to walk with Christ? IS the way truly as narrow as Christ warned us?

    “Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22 – This is obviously to a believer. So is Paul telling Timothy that there is some effort required to keeping oneself pure? What is the point if all future sins are forgiven?

    I submit that these quoted passages are not for the “unsaved”, but for those that follow Christ…

    I’m growing weary of seeing blatant sin among the flock of believers and an utter lack of remorse for it. so I’m imploring you to consider refocusing on calling the members of our Christian family to rise up and answer the call to live lives that are holy, blameless, and a blessing to others; and no longer be examples of hypocrisy. When a church body is lulled into believing that there is nothing they can do or no sin they can commit that will take them out of “abiding in Christ”, the result is lethargy, more sin, and no repentance of confession. Contrary to popular teaching, people do not stop sinning when they get saved. And if you say they don’t, there are many people in our churches that are fooled into believing they are saved, eternally secure, and have nothing to worry about…

    All of these passages teach that we, as Christians, still have to put forth some effort to be found righteous in Him. The gift of grace is free, but there is still effort involved. The gift must be accepted. I submit that this is something that many Christians need to hear. There are many Sunday-only Christians. Continued insistence and reassurance that they can’t be plucked from His had has lulled them into thinking that they really don’t have to do anything else. I believe this is false. Most of these verses indicate that there is some effort involved on our part. Please, read the above passages again, or use your own translation. I think you will see that in fact we are not absolved from continually working to be effective and productive in the faith. In fact, we are called to do so. The examples of the churches in Revelation as well as the narrow path should be paid more attention to. Please prayerfully consider all of this as we move into a new year.

    If you think living a life of piety, action, and study takes effort, and we must finish the race. Remember, we, as His disciples have this promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

    I anxiously await your reply. This topic deserves serious discussion, not prompt dismissal. Watching God work,

    • Hi Chris, you raise a number of excellent questions which deserve thoughtful answers. I trimmed your comment only because it was far too long. (Please respect E2R’s comment policy and limit future comments to 250 words.) I encourage you to raise specific comments and questions under specific posts. For instance, questions about Sardis could go under the post on Sardis.

      I am not sure if you read the post above for I nowhere contend the Lord’s prayer is an instruction for pre-resurrection believers. It is, however, a fine example of preaching the law to those under the law. If you think we must keep this or any other law, then I guess Christ is not the end of the law for you and you are, by definition, an unbeliever. (I am not trying to provoke a fight; many believers are unbelieving-believers.)

      If you insist that we must do what Jesus says in Matthew 6 (“forgive to be forgiven”) then I must insist that we do what Jesus says in Luke 24 (“proclaim the gift of forgiveness in all nations”). It’s the same Jesus, but a different covenant. The cross changed everything.

    • We are already victors, overcomers and righteous simply by believing, not by doing, or avoiding but simply through faith- 1 John 5:4, Romans 10:9-11 For the furture sin bit see Hebrews 9:24-26 one time blood offering for everything

  12. I never presume that we cannot be forgiven if we ask for it, that is the gift of forgiveness, but if you insist believers need not ask for forgiveness anymore, you ignore the following:

    “…now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” Colossians 1:19-23 (what happens IF we do NOT continue in our faith?)

    “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14,15 (why would a church member need forgiveness again? James doesn’t ask if the person is saved or a believer)

    All future sins are forgiven? What about Hebrews 10:26-27 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” so is Christ’s sacrifice going to help those that deliberately keep sinning after receiving the knowledge or after being saved? If it was merely after hearing the truth, can’t they eventually come to Christ?

    • 1. If we stop walking in faith – for instance, we start trusting in our effort like the Galatians did and the Colossians nearly did – we fall from grace. Doesn’t mean you’re not saved (God is faithful, even if we’re not), but you won’t feel saved. In fact, you’ll feel cursed and joyless. Paul said to the Colossians, “He has reconciled you” (Col 1:22); “you were circumcised but not at the hands of men” (2:11); “He forgave us all our sins” (2:13); “you have been given the fullness of Christ” (2:10); “you have been raised with Christ” (3:1); and so on. So many wonderful affirmations of the complete and perfect work God has done for us and in us. God doesn’t do half-jobs. He is the Alpha and Omega and more than able to keep us from falling and present us to himself without fault and with great joy.

      2. Why would anyone need forgiveness? Because they offended or hurt someone of course. It says, “Confess your trespasses to one another” not to God. He remembers your sins no more. Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, forgive him” (Mt 18:21). We need to be told to forgive; God doesn’t. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

      3. See this post on Hebrews 10:26-27.

      Chris, you seem to think everything in the Bible is a salvation issue. It’s not. There’s more to this new life than avoiding eternal damnation. If you were single and I suggested you get married and you got married, it would be ridiculous for me to keep telling you to get married. You already are. Instead, I would talk to you about the joys of your new married life. It’s the same with the NT writers; much of what they write is about the new life we have in Christ – not just how to get it, but how to live it and work it out once you have it.

      You’ll find other answers to your questions in the archives.

  13. I am confident and I will finish the race, with Christ as my strength. My concern is for those in the pews being told that they are saved. Many of them are not abiding in Christ. Do you want to detail what “abiding in Christ” actually means? You ignore verses that don’t fit your theology. Many churches do this….

    I agree there is much more to this life than avoiding eternal damnation. The purpose is to fear God, keep His commandments, and glorify Him with our lives. Teaching of everyone is eternally saved fulfills none of those.

    • Who says everyone is saved? Not I. Only those in Christ are saved.

      You’re quite casual with your accusations Chris. This is not place for throwing stones. I don’t ignore verses that don’t fit; I write posts about them. Here’s my post on abiding in the vine.

    • I once died under the be-good, obey, good-works, etc. to be saved/accepted “gospel”. I had a head stuffed full of Jesus and bible knowledge all the while a blackness down in my heart that no one could see through my clothes of “holy Christian living”. I came to the point where I could no longer stand a God who hated me because I was not good enough. It is an evil cycle of needing God’s help to stop sinning but Him withholding it because you sin too much. The only solution offered for beating sin was behavior modification with a couple of prayers thrown in. Didn’t work. I knew my spiritual problem had to have a spiritual solution! Standing there on the brink of throwing God out the window He got this radical grace view of the Gospel to me.
      I discovered I had never been saved in the first place! I only mentally agreed with the concept of Jesus but went about trying to earn God’s favor with my behavior. The proof is in the life change. The blackness was GONE. I had people asking what had changed me!
      The obedience-abiding-works teachings never gave me Jesus. They treated my Holy Savior as the gateway to a life of walking the straight and narrow on my own. That view treated the blood of my Savior as a common thing with no more power than that of the animal sacrifices, not good enough to cleanse me more than a little until I sinned again.
      Your doctrine gives room to boast for you say “I am confident…I will finish” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Works are works are works. No churchy double speak changes works into gift-of-God. Either it is a free gift unearned, unmerited OR the verse really should say the wages of righteousness so the good ones can boast.
      I died under works-gospel, which is “another”, but thanks be to God who kept on chasing me I HAVE FOUND THE TRUTH!

      • Excellent post Colleen. So beautifully said. I too dwelt with this blackness and found the infinite grace of God. Far from being a threat to the standards the bible espouses, Properly understood, limitless grace and infinite forgiveness frees people from sin and removes the need for it. Unfortunately some do not understand this and think that the only solution to sin is chasing someone down with the law and beating them over the head with it til they comply.

      • wow… and amen

  14. Phillip Waite // April 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm // Reply

    Paul. Tell me you see this. There are no future sins. Rom’s 3:25 “that were previously committed” 2 Peter 1:9 “old sins” Sorry to quote.
    1 John. The whole epistle declares that a Christian cannot sin. Chapter 2. He is still declaring Christ to those who sin. (Unbelievers) We finally “get”chapter 1, with our brother Joseph Prince. But, we fail to see the same pattern moving through chapter 2. He writes to unbelievers (addressed to all, including deceivers) in the church so that they might not sin. If they do, they have a saviour, an advocate, Jesus Christ, who propiates ours sins.
    Look at James. Chapter 5. If you grumble, condemned. Do not swear, fall into judgement. Confess your trespasses to one another, that we might be healed. (By his stripes we were healed) These are directed at unbelievers and believers. It is only the unbeliever that can come under judgement, condemnation, healing for trespasses. We were healed of our trespasses we we believed.
    “And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” This is, if the prayer of faith is for a member of the church, whom has not come to Christ, then it is possible this will be a salvation moment.
    Because we are still under the beggarly elements of unbelief in our new creation, we not only not believe or interpret the scriptures correctly, but in this, we fall from Grace and strengthen flesh in us. This in turn forces us to interpret the scriptures to justify how we feel and experience the flesh in our lives. As soon as we start to see that we cannot sin as John states, we will experience joy, freedom, liberty, power.
    Joseph Prince says, right believing leads to right living.
    Paul, I respect your knowledge. Can you see this?

  15. Phillip Waite // April 22, 2013 at 9:28 am // Reply

    The blood of bulls could not TAKE AWAY their sins. Their atonement was only for their past sins. That’s why they had to keep coming back. Otherwise, they would have no more concienceness of sin. But Christ’s sacrifice has TAKEN AWAY our sins, and in him is no sin. That’s why the scripture says past and previous sins. That’s why we are Holy and Sanctified. He cannot dwell in an unholy vessel. We cannot be in him if we are sinners. Hence, saints. Hence why we do not have to confess sin. Hence why 1 John is evangelical, and not sanctificational. Sin is the sin of unbelief. Convictis us of our sin because of unbelief.
    We will be as he is when he returns. Not because of anything we have to do. We are precious in his sight. The law says we not good enough and there is something we have to do. That we still sin and are sinners. Grace says done. We still commit acts of unlove, Paul calls that sin. But the father see’s us in Christ. As Christ, in him. Sinless. He gave us to him. This is preace, freedom, liberty. Joy.

  16. No, you can’t put a limit on the riches of God’s grace, but you can sin. Sin is transgression of the law, and when that happens , a man is then under the law. Romans 6:14-16, ” For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of ‘sin unto death’, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Jesus also said this in John 8:34, “…whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” So, 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Thus Romans 6:20, “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.” Free from that which keeping the law could give. But, Romans 6:18, “Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.”
    Its all about servitude, who will you serve? Bob Dillon wrote a great song after becoming a believer, “You gotta serve somebody”. Either righteousness or sin, the Lord or the devil. For the scripture say’s 1 John 3:8, “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning….” …

    • Bob Dylan also sang “In His love I am secure… by His mercy I’ve been spared not by works, but by faith in Him who called.” It’s not all about servitude for Jesus came to set us free. We serve because we are free, not to become free. We bear fruits of righteousness not to become righteous but because in him we are perfectly and eternally righteous.

    • And what he meant is you either serve Gods righteousness or your own.If the law has been fulfilled in Jesus are we not making his work incomplete , by trying to fulfill the law.Sin is not breaking the law, but breaking Gods heart by rejecting the freedom offered in his Son, when we honor this freedom he gives us a new heart that follows his Son in this fulfilling the written law.

      • Yes, sin is the transgression (breaking) of the law (1 John 3:4, KJV). For we would not even know of sin without the law. But, I agree it also breaks ‘hearts’, yes even Gods. According to 1 John 3:5, it is the very reason (purpose) of Jesus coming, to destroy the ‘works’ of the devil by “taking away our sins”. But, if we sin, we need to deal with it, confess it. Because we are then under condemnation (no confidence toward God) which is the very antithesis of 1 John 3:21.

  17. He did come to set us free and if we walk in the spirit (the freedom) we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Roman 8:4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” According to this we, we are to walk a certain way to keep from sin. Romans 6:12, ” ‘Let not’ sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Its something we avoid,”let not”. We need to keep our self under wraps, so to speak, as Paul said in, 1 Corinthians 9:27,
    “But I keep ‘under my body’, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (reprobate).”
    Thats why in 1 John 2:1, Christ pleads, in those ‘that confess’, favour. That these sins have been laid upon him, and he has bore them; that his blood has been shed for the remission of them, and that he has made full satisfaction for them; and therefore in justice they ought not to be laid to their charge; but that the forgiveness of them should be applied unto them, for the relief and comfort of their burdened and distressed consciences.

    • But none of this has to do with your eternal redemption and forgiveness in Christ. For comments pertaining to 1 Cor 9:27, please see this post.

      • But it can lead to Hebrews 10:26 which if we continually (willfully) sin does bring us to a “fearful expectation of judgement”. Something I do not understand completely, but sure don’t want that! But as far as the 1 Cor. 9 goes, its just a prelude for the next chapter that say’s verse 12, “Therefore (after all the warnings ) let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”.
        But you will say, but God will “make the away of escape.” That’s right, but its up to us to take it! Which leads us again to Hebrews 10:26.
        That brings me to what you said to Tim (above), that its not speaking to believers. That’s ‘bogus’ if anything is, as there are three clues that tell us,whom he is speaking to are believers. 1) “For if ‘we’ sin..” Again, “after ‘we’ have received…” hes identifying himself as a believer with these. 2) “…having received the knowledge of the truth….”1 Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 3) “by which he was sanctified”, Romans 15:16, “…being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” No, these are believers, and it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” verse 31.

      • Tom, I would really encourage you to read and perhaps comment under posts pertaining to those specific scriptures. Here they are: Hebrews 10:26 and 1 John 1.

    • I would say that you have a very limited concept of what sin is , if you believe you can stop willful sin in your life.You only express arrogance.I would ask that you carefully examine what Jesus defined as sin by explaining the laws demands.If you do not understand it I could explain it to you and we could see how well you do.

      • Come again, limited concept of what sin is? Thats were we ‘start’ in our faith walk, by the law, convincing us of sin. “…I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Romans 7:7. We cant stop willful sin? Well, “…if we walk in the light as He is in the light,…” 1 John 1:7, we sure can.

  18. Kingsley Adjei // May 27, 2014 at 9:07 am // Reply

    God bless you for all that U are doing.in fact it really liberating some of us who have tried to earn righteousness by our own effort all this year of our christian life. But thanks to GOD for sending his son JESUS that I might receive the free gift of righteousness through faith.

  19. When you sin, guess what – you are still forgiven! God’s grace is greater than your sin. Of course you should not sin and when you do you should repent –> so in grace when we do sin… still must repent…???

    • Chrishariwinata; You are saying the same thing Paul said in his post, “When you sin, guess what – you are still forgiven! God’s grace is greater than your sin. Of course you should (not sin and when you do) you should repent, but rest assured that nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.”
      Seems you are both quoting John, 1 John 2:1, “…that you sin not and if any man sin…”
      Its “if” we sin, not :”when”: we sin.
      To say “when” something happens, you imply it definitely will happen, even if the precise timing is unknown. You use “if” when there is uncertainty about whether the event will happen at all.
      It is the very reason John used the word, as he just instructed (something we do) us to, sin not. Thus an hopeful connotation of being, not willful.

      • We are also taught that if we say we are without sin we are liars, it is not about sinning we are continually in sin, it is a sin to not help someone in need, there are thousands of children that die every day for lack of just one dollar, after hearing this you intentionally sin if you keep more than is required to sustain you, but we are also taught to put others before ourselves, so sorry you have to starve to death, you see we continually walk in sin and grace.We are also taught that to be saved we need to be holy and without sin, and as Jesus once said.“ with God all things are possible “

      • Chris, , true, “if we say we are without sin we are liars”(1 John 1:10) Paul also said something similar, “For all have sinned” Romans 5:23. Yet we don’t stay there, as being a believer brings a change that both John and Paul agree.
        Paul also said; “How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:2. We cant, as we are, “… called to be saints”(Romans 1:7), not sinners! Paul never addressed Christians as sinners, but always, saints, and that over 55 times.
        “It is not about sinning, we are continually in sin”? John, the same one that said, (1 John 1:10), also said; “Whosoever abides in him sins not (does not continue): whosoever sins (continues) has not seen him, neither known him.” John 3:6, going along with Paul, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6. For he that is truly free from sin, does not continue in it! Thanks

  20. Thanks for writing! I was getting very confused when friends challenged me on this, but this makes it clear.
    I was reading the scriptures too. I think in you second point, where you quoted God “forgave us all our sins”, you meant Col. 2:13-14.
    Be blessed!

  21. pnpwertz2comcastnet // February 21, 2017 at 7:24 am // Reply

    What is meant by 2 Peter 1:10?

    • 2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about his calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”

      Short version: When you are certain in your own mind that you belong to Jesus – that he who saves you keeps you to the end – you will never stumble. Peter is saying the same thing Paul says here and here.

      Why do believers stumble into dead works? Because they are unsure about the finished work of Jesus. They start with the spirit but try to continue with the flesh and the result is they fall from grace. This is why Peter begins with “grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Pet 1:2). If you don’t know the grace of God that is found in Jesus, you’ll have no peace.

      And this is why Peter reminds us not to strive in the flesh, but to rely on “his divine power (that) has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet 1:3).

  22. Wow, I am so blessed by this explanation of these verses of 2 Peter 1. Thank you for breaking it down. Praise God for the bible and the fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters! Praise God for the internet that we can discuss these things together!

  23. 1 John 1:9 is written for believers not unbelievers…

  24. Christians preach partial forgiveness all the time. They say that Christ’s blood was only sufficient to pay for the Christian’s sin. They don’t teach that His perfect sacrifice paid the total sin debt of everyone who has ever lived. No sir! He only covered the Christian. What a bunch of hooey! There was nothing partial about Christ’s sacrifice. His blood paid it all. The Bible says, “The world was reconciled to God in Christ, their sins not counted against them.” When will ‘grace’ preachers finally accept the full measure of grace as God intended? When will they stop pushing forgiveness just for the Christian? After all, Christians didn’t even exist when Christ was dying for the ungodly on the cross. Jesus wasn’t thinking about Christians when He was paying the price for sin in full. He was thinking of His precious creation – every man, woman and child that through the miracle of birth, He brought into this world.

  25. I’ve been hearing the same story for 40 years and I’m really ticked off! According to human logic, a gift, a proclamation, an action, an accomplished goal, must be received to be valid….

    • Not valid, but enjoyed. God’s forgiveness is a done deal, but whether you are enjoying his gracious gift is another matter.

    • Actually, right, it is a done deal, but only for those that believe, otherwise it remains unsecured, and such a one, still under the wrath of God, John 3:37 and John 5:24. As this is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict (or convince) of his record of sin, but that their refusal to believe in Jesus is their basic sin, John 16:8.
      How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Hebrews 2:3. As for sure, it is their own business, and that through neglecting the only condition under which forgiveness would not be granted, by rejecting the only means of salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 .
      But as far as there being a line in the sand, there is not one before, as “all have sinned”, yet there is a “manifest” one after, as John drew one in, 1 John 3:10. For a true believer does not continue in (practice) sin, 1 John 3:6, if they truly believe (abide) in Him.

  26. God’s forgiveness is a done deal for Christians and non-Christians alike. No line in the sand between the ‘goodies’ and the ‘baddies’! None of this partial forgiveness junk! We should be able to approach a Muslim, an atheist or an ISIS terrorist and tell him that he was reconciled to God in Christ, his sins removed, nothing on his record to convict him, his eternal destiny secure. Whether he finds great pleasure in the truth or not, is his own business.

    • But he must recieve it i.e must repent ( change their mind to truth) and believe Jesus is the son to recieve it from his end.
      It is True God has already provided it and made peace from his end by the blood of the cross made peace with all things in heaven and earth but to recieve wht God freely gives is by grace through FAITH in Jesus christ
      For EVERYONE who BELIEVES IN HIM i.e believes Jesus is the son of God RECIEVES FORGIVENESS OF SINS IN HIS NAME.

  27. All sin is wilfull because of the weakness of the flesh. The will of the flesh is weak. But wilful missing the nark once you know the truth is what is meant in Hebrews. What God was saying is dont be misled and go back to the old temple service and he was saying it to hebrews in a certain time when the temple still stood. For the sacrifice was the lamb of God done once and was for all humankind.

  28. Firstly, thank you for your website…I am so relieved that you do not seem to be a Calvinist (usually when I read about ‘Grace’ it is by those who have hi-jacked and re-defined Grace to include all the usual Calvinistic doctrines of predestination, determinism, reprobation etc.
    I have, however, a question regarding my ability to receive the ‘knowledge’ of Grace as you explained it elsewhere on your site: If receiving God’s grace is by revelation surely that doesn’t mean that there is nothing I can do to position myself to receive it? This would mean that I must passively wait until God decides it’s time to reveal it to me? There must be some action/s I can do (not works of the flesh) in order to make it more likely …or myself more ‘open’ to receive this revelation. Otherwise I languish in a passive bed of despair.
    Your comments are appreciated.

    • Yes, there are two things Jesus told us to do when we hear the good news: (1) repent (change your mind) and (2) believe it (Mark 1:15). Some will scoff and say “that’s not much,” yet many are lost because they refuse to do these two things.

      • Matthew // July 19, 2019 at 4:28 pm //

        Thanks, Paul, for your reply…you said correctly that we should:
        ‘(1) repent (change your mind) and (2) believe it (Mark 1:15).’
        This is where it gets messy for me (and where I have given the Calvinists too much credence in the past). Both of these (repenting and believing) are described variously as both ‘actions’ (of the free will) and ‘gifts from God’ (without which Grace cannot be received).
        What I need to know is how I can get to experience the love of God (as some do) …or the Grace of God (as you have experienced). I know enough to know that, in this respect, there are two main types of ‘believers’: those who claim to have experience of the above and those who don’t. The ‘don’t base it on your feelings’ brigade are basically saying ‘believe with your mind’. Or maybe ‘believe with your mind that you actually believe’. My view is that it must have been something a bit stronger than that to make voluntary submission to a lion’s jaws tolerable.
        I wish someone who ‘is already there’ (knowing God’s love/Grace) could draw a spiritual map for those of us who are blind. But I guess many have tried.

      • Hi Matthew, you’re asking a fair question, but it’s a question best put to your Father. I can’t help you experience his love, but he surely can. There’s an old aphorism preachers like use: Facts-faith-feelings. You put your faith in the facts (what God has said) and your feelings will surely follow. Find some promise of God that resonates with you, pray that, believe that, stand on that, and ask God to make it real in your life.

  29. Oganes Kazaryan // November 3, 2021 at 11:06 pm // Reply

    Wasn’t the old covenant Eye for an eye tooth for a tooth Jesus said you have heard that it was sad love your neighbor hate your enemy but I say Where in the old covenant is there a scripture saying forgive your enemy

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