The axe of forgiveness


Have you ever noticed how Jesus went around forgiving people who neither asked for forgiveness nor deserved it?

A paralyzed man is brought to him. Everyone watches for the physical healing but Jesus says, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).

A woman caught in adultery is brought to him for judgment. Jesus has famously said that law-breakers are in danger of hell-fire (Mt 5:29) and this woman is a bona fide law-breaker. But instead of picking up rocks Jesus says, “I don’t condemn you” (Jn 8:11).

Why did Jesus do it? Why did he forgive the sick and the sinful?

Because if sin is the root of man’s problems, then forgiveness is the axe. Once Jesus had dealt with the root, he dealt with the fruit. The paralyzed man was healed. The adulteress was empowered to go and sin no more.

Christmas is the time when we celebrate God’s good gifts embodied in his Son. Of the many gifts God has given us, forgiveness is the first. It is the gift that unlocks all the other gifts.

Do you need healing? Take heart – your sins are forgiven! If Jesus has borne your sins, he is has borne your sicknesses as well (Is 53:4). In Christ you have been forgiven of sin and set free from all its effects including sickness. However, if you don’t know for sure that you have been forgiven, then you will have a hard time receiving healing. You may even think that you deserve your sickness or, worse, that God made you sick.

Forgiveness is the gift that everyone needs, but you will never receive it if you think you have to do something to get it. In Part 1 of this study, we looked at three reasons why Christians can never earn God’s forgiveness through confession. In today’s post we will look at three more reasons why Christians never need to confess-to-be-forgiven.

Before you write in and tell me that you find confession helpful and liberating, let me reiterate that I am not against confession. It is good to be open and transparent about our weaknesses and failings. What I am opposed to is the lie that says Christians must confess, or do anything, to maintain their forgiveness. If you routinely confess-to-be-forgiven you’re actually disobeying God and cursing what He has blessed. Instead of being a stepping stone to your deliverance and healing, the Bible teaches that this sort of confession will actually empower sin and minister death to you.

The remedy for any lie is the truth. Here are three more wonderful promises regarding your forgiveness:

4.   You were forgiven completely for all time

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. (Heb 10:12)

Jesus’ death on the cross was a once-off sacrifice offered for all time. It was perfectly perfect in every respect and there is nothing you can do to improve upon it. Those who take 1 John 1:9 as their justification for trying to earn what we’ve already been given, need to pay more careful attention to what John is saying: the blood of Jesus purifies us from “all sin” (1:7) and cleanses us from “all unrighteousness” (1:9). All means all. “All sin” includes the sins we haven’t done yet and all the sins we have never confessed.

Jesus went to the cross as humanity’s sinless representative. With His dying breath God the Son asked God the Father to forgive us (Lk 23:34). Then having fully satisfied the requirements of the law that stood against us, and having forged a new covenant in His blood, Jesus declared “it is finished” and gave up His spirit. His redemptive work complete, Jesus now sits at the right hand of God waiting for His saints to rise up boldly in their forgiven-ness and put His enemies – sickness, poverty, oppression – under their feet and His.

Jesus will never go to the cross again. If you sin today, He is not going back to Calvary tomorrow. Asking Him to forgive you again is like saying His first sacrifice was not enough – that you really need Him to get back up on the cross. This is disgraceful (Heb 6:6), but “we are confident of better things in your case” (Heb 6:9). Rejoice that His one-time sacrifice paid for it all and you are eternally forgiven. When you sin, guess what – you are still forgiven! God’s grace is greater than your sin. I’m not encouraging sin and if you are choosing to live in sin then you are unacquainted with the grace of God that teaches us to say no to sin. But if you trust in Jesus and His finished work, then rest assured that nothing in the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither life nor death, can separate you from God’s forgiveness. Hallelujah!

5.   You were forgiven in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Eph 1:7)

What is the limiting measure of God’s forgiveness? Is it our performance? Is the state of our confession? No! We are forgiven according to the riches of God’s grace. God is not stingy with grace. How do we know God is gracious? Because He has forgiven us and His forgiveness is 100% a gift. If you have to do something to get it, then it is no longer a gift but an obligation, and God owes you nothing.

Jesus forgave the paralytic before the man had uttered a single word. He forgave the adulterer who was speechless with sin. One didn’t say anything and the other couldn’t say anything, yet Jesus forgave them both. Jesus forgave to demonstrate that He had authority to forgive. Forgiveness is His business, His decision, His initiative, and His gift to us. The only thing you have to do is receive it, and the only way you won’t receive it is if you try to earn it through confession or other dead works.

6.   Your sins are long gone

But now, once at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb 9:26b)

The word “forgive” literally means to send away. You sin hasn’t merely been overlooked, it has been abolished (AMP), put away (ASV), and removed (GNB). Neither has God put away your sins in the same way that you might put your rubbish in a bin by the back door – close by and smelly. He has removed them from you as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12). If you were to go looking for your sins, you wouldn’t find them. They’re gone! They’ve all been blotted out (Is 44:22).

You may ask, but what about the sin I did just this morning? Like all your sin this one was dealt with at the cross. It was not recorded as a black mark next to your name because God is not in the business of imputing sin (Rms 4:8).

God’s got better things to do than count men’s sins against them (2 Cor 5:19). It is human nature to keep score but this is not God’s nature. God is love and love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Co 13:5). Your Father is not a fault-finder. If you were to ask Him about this morning’s sin, He would say, “What sin? I have no record of that sin. Stop looking for it and look to Jesus.”

You did have a sin problem, but God dealt with it by nailing it to the cross (Rm 6:6). This circumcision of your old nature was not done by the hand of man, but by Christ Himself (Col 2:11). You have been given a new nature with new desires. As you renew your mind you will come to see that although sin is destructive and best avoided, it cannot touch His love for you. God is quite able to deal with your sin and the axe of His forgiveness has already been laid at the root of that bad tree!

Jesus – not confession – is the cure for condemnation

The amazing thing about Jesus is that He forgives us in advance. We “go and sin no more,” not to get free from condemnation, but because we are free from condemnation. The secret to overcoming sin is not found in making promises we can’t keep, but in knowing that Jesus believes in us! Stop examining yourself and examine Him! He’s altogether wonderful. Stop confessing your sins and confess Jesus your Redeemer. Confess that He is your wisdom from God – your forgiven-ness, your righteousness and your holiness (1 Cor 1:30).

In the next part of this study, we will look at two of the biggest misconceptions people have about God’s forgiveness.


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20 Comments on The axe of forgiveness

  1. //The amazing thing about Jesus is that He forgives us in advance. We “go and sin no more,” not to get free from condemnation, but because we are free from condemnation. The secret to overcoming sin is not found in making promises we can’t keep, but in knowing that Jesus believes in us! Stop examining yourself and examine Him! He’s altogether wonderful. Stop confessing your sins and confess Jesus your Redeemer.//

    Wow. I really enjoyed that paragraph. Excellent summary. Reverence, joy, liberty, obedience, forgiveness, faith, and love – all in one place at one time. Very well expressed. Thank you.

  2. Susana Vivas // December 30, 2010 at 3:02 am // Reply

    THANK YOU for this! I love your page,.. really! I am blessed to have found this. You are a blessing!!!!

  3. Confession of sin for the believer has nothing to do with earning forgiveness from my point of view, but with open fellowship between me and God and between man and man – . Sin still kills – it kills fellowship and creates barriers keeping people apart. THE VERY THING JESUS CAME TO RE-INSTATE IS ‘FELLOWSHIP’! -1COR 1: 9. I am not talking about loosing your salvation because you SINNED and have missed a beat,that is NOT the issue i am addressing – because even if I prove to be unfaithful He remains faithful, I am talking about fellowship and living (walking) in the light which equals walking in love.Sin will mess with that and isolate us from one another – forgiven or not! Coincidently growth happens in the light.i thank God for the ‘Grace Preachers’! The church needs the help that this truth brings to us desperately – as it always has. It IS the ONLY beginning to life in God there is – Free redemption and free forgiveness. ! but let’s not camp at this message!
    We need to move on and preach and teach the nurture of this life we have freely received, that will allow the individual to grow toward maturity and being enabled to receive an inheritance (Gal 4: 1-3)Of course it is by Grace – It is by grace we learn to stop relying on the arm of the flesh ( which is what the religious have in common with the world) and trust the Holy Spirit in and for everything. When I fall in temptation, YES I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT I AM FORGIVEN and that my sin was included in the atonement – OH WHAT AN IMPORTANT THING TO LEARN AND REMEMBER ESPECIALLY AT SUCH A MOMENT
    As essential this is it IS ‘JUST’ THE BEGINNING OF A LIFE THAT NOW NEEDS TO BE LIVED with the backdrop of forgiveness, pushing forward to know Him and becoming like him
    Be blessed in your pursuit of our teacher and Lord.

  4. I have been greatly blessed, my heart rejoices because of what God did for me. What a wonderful Savior. Thank you for explaining it so well, I found this site at a time when a Pastor told my husband to come in the church and confess all his sins…I asked him, why do you have to confess what was forgiven and forgotten by God? I will share this site with my husband and we will go through each scripture verse. God bless you.

  5. Fantastic writings, the best I’ve ever seen on forgiveness and repentance.

    I am not sick but I do have a chronic injury. I trust Jesus and truly believe what you have said about His forgiveness. He actually fully healed me of a similar problem in 2010 back when I thought I still had to confess my sins (give account to Him in prayer what I had done and agree with Him that sin is bad).
    This supposed physical healing guarantee under grace by experience does not make sense. Biblically I see no reason for there not to be physical healing as Jesus healed all those who came to Him. Do you never get sick? Do you rebuke the sickness and it goes away?
    It is funny that I trust all the spiritual things that God guarantees to those He has made righteous but I, in all practicality don’t see this physical thing as being true. Again I’ve been healed beyond any other explanation, so had my father. God still doesn’t seem to heal every time. Is this something you believe because you think the bible says so or have you experienced its reality?

    • That “God’s will is for healing” is definitely something I believe based on the Bible and the witness of the Spirit. I don’t recommend basing faith on anything other than the revealed word of God, and certainly not on experience. I get sick from time to time and I occasionally experience sporting injuries. Yes, I rebuke sickness every time. Sickness is never welcome. I make no more provision for sickness than for sin. In my household I have seen instant and miraculous healings as well as times when nothing seems to change. I have prayed for people when I’m battling something and seen them healed straightaway. I don’t know why. I don’t condemn myself. I don’t blame anyone. But I do sometimes wonder what the problem is. I am not batting 100% like Jesus, but He is in me and His standards have not dropped. For more on healing, see this post. You may also want to check out this book and this one.

      • I think it is fair to assume my ignorance of what I interpret the revealed word of God to say if it doesn’t match how real life is lived out.
        With the spiritual realities Christ has provided for me I trusted what I found the scriptures to say then I experienced the reality of those joys, blessings, and freedoms every time. The truth was revealed in reality. I don’t doubt God but I am not fully confident in our understanding of Him. If the bible were to say “every car is red” and then I see a blue car I’m going to think maybe I’m misunderstanding what it said. I’m saying this because all of the other promises I’ve seen come true but physical healing, while it happens, still doesn’t happen every time.

        I will read the posts you linked though, thanks.

  6. Hi Paul , One of the things that I get worked up on is the verse that refers to ” Do not grieve the sprit of God” , which I interpret as upset him. This was written from my understanding to Christians by further reference ” to which you were sealed” . If God does not remember our sins no more , how does this fit in ??..Thanks for your time…Your site is simply sensational..

  7. Jeremiah (Kenya) // September 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm // Reply

    Hi paul. Thats wonderful!!!

  8. hi paul, question,.is the scripture john 8:11,so structured,grammatically, to imply that Jesus gave her the gift of no condemnation, I dont know if im asking the question right,or do we weigh it in light of related scripture

  9. i really enjoyed this. it came just in time. my heart was really aching cuz i just heard a message on confession and suddenly the thought of all my past sins came to memory. i actually
    started doubting myself and God. but through christ i am forgiven.

  10. What about 1 John 1:9 “if” we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us. There is an “if” here. And what about The Lord’s Prayer? To ask forgiveness of our debts as we forgive our debtors. Then Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: THAT your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

  11. Warren (South Carolina, USA) // January 20, 2016 at 6:10 am // Reply

    Sweet Post Saint Paul.

    When I thank God for the blood and the cross of Jesus, I think I am confessing my sin (agreeing with God about it). That truth starts to permeate my soul, and God’s grace floods in, enabling me to get free (enjoying it’s reality)!!!

    Multiplied blessings back to you!!!

    Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  12. Hi Paul,
    This has haunted me for some time but with the paralysed man that got healed and the woman caught in adultry. Jesus said to both “go sin no more lest something worse come upon you”. Does he mean hell fire??? I just don’t know, it’s like one minute your excited Jesus said you are not condemned then I feel left trembling to keep myself from sinning???

    • No, he doesn’t mean hellfire. It’s a warning not a threat, like “stop texting on the freeway.” Jesus is saying, stop sowing to the flesh or you will reap destruction. Death is sin’s wage not God’s punishment. And Jesus only said it once. He didn’t say it to the woman caught in adultery. To her he said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” It was an invitation to leave prison.

      • Ok. No one has ever explained it like that to me before. And yes I do need to stop texting while I’m driving! Ha ha ha Ok not that funny but yes I catch the drift.

        I’m very amazed and excited about what I’m reading on your page. Thanx heaps mate. I praise Father God for your ministry and how He is breaking off lies and old burdensome mindsets! Brother Prince was the first as the say “Grace preacher” I heard, and man his preaching exposed so many lies that I had been believing for soooooo long! And then I found you page! I see the Word in such a new light, Abundantly blessed.

        Grace & peace in Jesus wonderful name ✌🏾

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