Are sinners forgiven too?
I get asked more questions about forgiveness than any other subject. “Am I really forgiven? What if I sin and don’t repent? What if I don’t confess? What if I backslide?” I have written numerous posts on all these points, but forgiveness seems to be a blind-spot for many. We just can’t get it into our heads that God might forgive us without any action on our part. That just sounds too good to be true. What are you trying to tell us? That God is good? That the gospel is actually good news?
If you’re uncertain about God’s forgiveness, your faith will be weak and unproductive. So to demolish any uncertainty, I want to ask a bold question: Are sinners forgiven? You would have to agree that if God has forgiven sinners, then surely He has forgiven Christians who don’t repent or who forget to confess some of their sins? By forgive, I mean to remit or send away our sins – something the Bible says happened at the cross. Here’s the punch-line: You are forgiven whether you believe it or not, but it won’t do you any good unless you believe it.
If we can see from scripture that sinners are forgiven, then just maybe we’ll be able to rest assured that we are forgiven too.
So are sinners forgiven? I’m going to call on four great prophets to answer this question. Here’s David:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Ps 103:12)
When David sinned with Bathsheba, everyone knew about it. It was a public sin that led to death for at least two people and brought David pain and regret. He said, “I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (51:3). By all rights, David should’ve been executed for his sin. The law covenant under which he lived had a legitimate claim on his life (Lev 20:10). But David appealed to the One who is greater than the law. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness” (Ps 51:1, NKJV). David was not trying to excuse his sin – he knew full well that he had done a terrible thing. But he had a revelation of a compassionate Father “who does not treat us as our sins deserve” (Ps 103:10). He asked God to “blot out my transgressions” (Ps 51:1), and through the prophet Isaiah, God said He would:
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isa 43:25)
Isaiah 42-45 is a four chapter advertisement for the new covenant. Isaiah 42 tells us about the coming Savior and Isaiah 43 tells us about the “new thing” that He will do. What is the new thing? “I will blot out your transgressions and remember your sins no more.” What an amazing new thing! Under the old covenant, sins were recorded and remembered (Lev 4-6). But under the new covenant they would be blotted out and remembered no more. Isaiah was not the only one to see this coming. Here’s Jeremiah:
This is the covenant I will make… I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Jer 31:33-34)
Imagine hearing this while living under the old law covenant. I would’ve asked, “When, Lord? When will you do this great new thing?” Well by the time we get to Hebrews we learn that God has already done it. Jesus appeared “once for all… to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb 9:26). “When this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down” (Heb 10:12). When Jesus did away with all sin, the prophecies were fulfilled. Hebrews even quotes them just to make sure we don’t miss the connection: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Heb 10:17). Jesus didn’t die just for confessed and repented sins. He died for all sin. Just look at the words of our fourth prophet, John the Baptist:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Joh 1:29)
Whose sin did Jesus take away? The sin of the world! Does the world include sinners? Yes! Then sinners are forgiven. Their sins are no longer being recorded:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Cor 5:18-19)
Men have sins but God is neither counting them nor remembering them. How can you say such things! Sinners aren’t saved! I didn’t say they were. But they are forgiven:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins… (Col 2:13)
When were your sins forgiven? When you were dead in your sins! In other words, you were forgiven before you repented, before you confessed, before you were born again. In fact, you were forgiven long before you were born. How is this possible? I didn’t do anything to merit His forgiveness. Exactly! That’s why it’s called grace.
Don’t believe the bad news
God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you. His forgiveness is entirely based on the finished work of the cross. Those who claim we must do stuff to be forgiven are saying that Jesus needs to come and die again, that once wasn’t enough. This is called bad news and it’s not in the Bible. Don’t believe it. Jesus didn’t die for some sin but all sin. His one-time sacrifice for the sin of the world was perfectly perfect and completely complete in every respect.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Jhn 2:2)
Paul, you sound like you’re preaching universalism. I’m not – I’m telling you the same good news that the prophets foretold and the apostles declared: God the Son has done away with sin! Neither God the Father no God the Holy Spirit remembers our sins anymore! This is the gospel truth. Do you believe it?
Put your faith in the good news
Jesus said that forgiveness of sins is a gift that must be received (Acts 26:18). Two kinds of people will never receive this gift: (1) Those who don’t think they’re sinners in need of a Savior and (2) those who think they must do things like confess and repent to earn God’s forgiveness. (In case you’re wondering, 1 John 1:9 is directed to those in the first group – see 1 John 1:8.) The grace of God can only be received through faith (Eph 2:8). Everyone is forgiven but not everyone believes that they are forgiven. Those who don’t believe reject the gift that God offers them.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin because men do not believe in Me (Jn 16:8). Sinners don’t need the Holy Spirit to tell them that they’re sinners. If their own consciences don’t condemn them, the law will (Rm 3:20). The Holy Spirit is here to convince the world that our sins been blotted out and removed as far as the east is from the west. The Holy Spirit is here to reveal Jesus and the finished work of the cross.
I want to add my little voice to the mighty Holy Spirit and shout the good news from the rooftops: You are forgiven! You may be the worst sinner on the planet but by the grace of God you are forgiven! You may be a saint who has drifted into sin but you are forgiven! Whether you have confessed everything or nothing at all; whether you have repented or are still senseless in the pig pen – you are forgiven! Whether you believe or don’t believe the gospel – you are forgiven! Receive it – receive his forgiveness and grace.
A proper response to this good news is to turn to God and put your trust in His amazing grace. This is called repentance. We don’t repent to get forgiven; we repent because we are forgiven. If you are still unsure about this, review the scriptures above and then tell yourself, “I am totally forgiven because of Jesus.” All the blessings that are ours in Christ – His acceptance, righteousness, holiness – flow from the revelation that we have been completely and eternally forgiven through the precious blood of the Lamb. See Jesus sitting down at the right hand of the Father. He’s not running around cleaning up your sins. His redemption work is done and He now invites you to enter His rest.
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I was just debating Mt 6:14-15 with some folk, who have not grasped what Jesus did at the cross, in fact may I be so bold as to say, the Church by an large has not understood the complete work of Christ at Calvary.They are still preaching that unforgiveness will keep you out of heaven [ that was me before my eyes were opened] How many times did I prach this scary message and use the above scripture to full effect.
When one understands that Jesus was talking to people under the law & the law demanded this as it wa performance driven & that was the weakness of the LAW, people could not keep it.
Today we are not under the law but under GRACE & all that is asked of us is to accept JESUS AS LORD AND SAVIOUR.
But the Church still preaches that unforgiveness will keep you out of heaven, I heard it this SATURDAY again, and my spirit reacts immediately.
Unforgiveness has many side effects that are not pleasant and can even lead to death but our salvation will not be at risk.. praise God.
To sum up – Jesus tried to save humanity from sin and … succeeded? Blasphemy!
What do you mean? Blasphemy?
Jesus has already saved humanity from sin when he declared “It Is Finished”
that is the Good News! that is the Gospel! that is what we believers are giving our life for Christ!
that is the Gospel a true believer preaches. that even faced with death by firing or beheading in other countries (I hope i can list one)
the Gospel is Good News, the Gospel is Grace – the ALL humanity’s Sin are forgiven.
Matthew, receive that forgiveness and live a truly free life
When he said “blasphemy”, I think he was being sarcastic. In other words, a tongue in cheek way of agreeing that Jesus did indeed succeed in saving humanity from their sins.
It was a way of suggesting that to doubt Jesus succeeded in His task/mission is indeed blasphemy.
Yes, humans still sin. None but the Lord is perfect. But what it means by Jesus saving humanity from sin is this:
Sin can no longer enslave us. We are free. When we ask the Lord for forgiveness, we are forgiven. Every sin past, present and future has been forgotten. Yes, it still upsets God when we sin but he doesn’t ever hold it against us. Jesus HAS saved us from sin and because of this we are free to enter heaven and live forever by his side.
Remember that he loves you, Matthew. He loves everyone and he wants you to understand that you have been saved from your sin and they no longer stop you from entering the kingdom of heaven.
A young teenager 😛
Hi Paul, Great post! I’ve noticed there are many Christians who’ve received forgiveness of sin but don’t yet know that Christ also ‘took away our sin’, Hence, they still struggle with guilt, condemnation, shame, rejection etc from the things they did before they became a Christian or since becoming a Christian.
In my view this is because many are still teaching an Old Covenant approach to forgiveness, whereby sin was only covered (atonement) but not taken away, therefore the people still lived with a consciousness of sin (Heb 10:1-4).
Whereas in Christ, our sin is not only forgiven but ‘taken away’. We are now righteous conscious.
I note also that numerous modern choruses propagate this teaching by using the word ‘covered’ instead of cleansed or taken away.. Hill song for one.
Eg – ‘My Redeemer Lives’ – I know He rescued my soul, His blood has ‘covered’ my sin, I believe, I believe etc……………………………………………
I wrote a nice letter to them pointing out the mistake. They replied, saying, the pastors felt it was right at the time to include it.
Great point Peter. . . .Our sins are NOT “covered”. . . .they are removed in Christ.
Warren (South Carolina)
Hey Paul, I agree with your post and the basis of forgiveness and repentance. I am curious though what your thoughts are regarding whether forgiveness can be lost, or perhaps your thoughts on the context of scriptures that seem to suggest continued forgiveness being dependent on whether we also forgive others. I recently read John Bevere’s book “The Bait of Satan: Staying Free from the Trap of Offense”. I think he would agree with your post above, but he has a chapter that suggests if we refuse to forgive others, we will not obtain the forgiveness available to us. He supports his position with a lot of scripture, but I do not have the book with me at the moment and can’t recall it readily.
If a person doesn’t forgive others… he’s judging them… and the judgment falls back upon oneself. Judgment… lack of forgiveness… robs one of the joy of life. God’s forgiveness is a done deal. Experiencing that forgiveness means we have to rest in Him… and let go of judgment.
The primary scripture he refers to is the passage in Mark 11:24-26. Some people might say that if you refuse to forgive someone that you are choosing to live your life according to the Law. I’m honestly not sure what I think either way at this point, but so far the scripture seems very clear unless there is something in the realm of context or cultural relevance at the time that would shed further light on the subject. He also refers to Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 6:37, and the big one that seems hard to dispute is Matthew 18:21-35. He also talks about the possibility of a person being able to turn away from salvation (not God or someone else taking it away, but a person rejecting it) in relation to 2 Peter 2:20-21 and Jude 12-13. He elaborates further with 1 John 4:20 relating hatred and unforgiveness. You’d have to read his whole chapter on the subject to get a true sense of what he is saying. Hoping that Paul Ellis has some awareness of this topic and will offer his thoughts.
@The primary scripture he refers to is the passage in
* These are the words of Jesus before he died at the Cross
Mark 11:24-26, Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 6:37, Matthew 18:21-35
– “…Forgive, or you will not be forgiven…”
“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my Father which is in heaven”
– Matthew 10:33
* Peter denied Jesus three times. How come Jesus never mentioned
* it after His ressurection? 3 times Jesus mentioned His love to Peter.
* Jesus never reminded him of his denial or sins.
“Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”
– Ephesians 4:32
* The words of Jesus after His ressurection.
* FORGIVE BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN
* Jesus was the Great teacher of the Law. He Uphelf the Law,
* Jesus uses the Law perfectly to bring Us to the end of ourselves (Matthew 19:16-22)
* Jesus also Fulfilled the Law.
@Some people might say that if you refuse to forgive someone that you
are choosing to live your life according to the Law
* I honestly believe, People who refuses to forgive are people under the Law
* once you experience the Grace of God, You will forgive effortlessly.
@He also talks about the possibility of a person being able to turn
away from salvation (not God or someone else taking it away, but a
person rejecting it 2 Peter 2:20-21 and Jude 12-13
* I might be wrong, but i am assuming you are talking about a person loosing salvation?
* I’ll assume not – a person rejecting a salvation being offered you mean.
* Peter was talking about FALSE Teachers.. read the entire chapter 2
2 Peter 2: 19-21
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption;
for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the
knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in
them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness,
than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
* Jude also talks about the apostates, false teachings and teachers
Jude 1:4 (NLT)
“4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches,
SAYING THAT GOD’S marvelous GRACE ALLOWS US TO LIVE IMMORAL LIVES
* the best way to detect a false (who claims to Love God) from the true believer
1 John 4:20
“20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does
not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
I hope we have not deviated from the main “we are all forgiven”. including the false teachers
I mostly agree with all of your comments. I especially agree with the idea that if a person refuses to show forgiveness or mercy, chances are they never truly repented and received salvation in the first place. I also agree that when a person has experienced the grace of God, forgiving another person becomes much easier. The verse I referred to in 2 Peter, yes he was referring to false teachers, but he was also talking about people responding to the false teachers and turning away from what they had previously been taught. Apostle Paul refers to this as well in one of his epistles. However, again people might say if a person is swayed from the Gospel that they had first been taught and turns to false teaching, then their soil was shallow or rocky and the seed never really “germinated” in the first place. It is certainly a difficult subject. Another verse in James says this, “So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13, NASB). However, I realize there are issues in translation and that “judgment” doesn’t necessarily refer to salvation or condemnation. I’m just saying there are a lot of statements in the Bible both before and after the cross that people struggle with meaning due to translation and cultural context issues.
very well said.
Amazing grace. indeed even those whom the seed has fallen but never “germinated” are very much qualified.
How can we not fall in love with Jesus?
grace and peace to all
Hi, God gave me this understanding of the above. If my “sin” of unforgiveness puts God in a position where He will not forgive me, then I have caused God to be a sinner just like me!
Now we both know that this cannot be the case so we need to accept that we have misunderstood the scriptures.
He opened my eyes by using Luke 6:37 & 38. When you understand that the word “Give” in verse 38 actually means “Give way”, “Give in”, “Yield”, “Submit”, “Surrender” to God’s will, you can see things in a different light. If unbelievers “Give way” under the difficult circumstances of life & develop a tender heart, by “going the extra mile” & “turning the other cheek etc” (He gave me these verses from the same chapter in Luke’s Gospel.), they are more likely to receive the free gift of salvation by His grace.
By the way, I knew that “Give & it will be given etc…..” had nothing to do with money or material things but I did not know what it really meant until He showed me!
Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your posts on FB and reading all of your articles. So, thankful for others out there who are truly declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ!! Blessings on you brother! Eric
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
And even though that statement was meant for the Hebrews… it also applies to us gentiles… who were never under the Mosaic Law in the first place.
Why any Christian would ever refer to Mosaic Law when talking to gentiles is… well… weird. But so many supposed “leaders” do that all the time.
Not only is sin forgiven… the concept of sin has been tossed into the trash heap. No need to ever think about sin again.
What is profitable… is to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit! 🙂
Anybody who claims the need for works should re-read Galatians. Men… Paul (the apostle) has a special request for those who think salvation and life in Christ is anything other than than believing… as opposed to achieving. See Galatians 5:12
LOL. AWESOME 🙂
Thank you…this is one of the best articles on forgiveness I have ever read. I wish it could be read in every church.
@ Matthew: Your summary is off the mark. It would be better said that Jesus succeeded as being the perfect sacrifice for sin – thus God is not counting man’s sin against them. That was the success. However, unbelief in Jesus will result in making His sacrifice of NO EFFECT!!! What a tragedy.
2 Cor 5:18-21 God, …reconciled us to Himself through Christ … giving us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
That’s the gospel! Not blasphemy…. LOL
@Adam. I hope you realise the irony in my “Blasphemy!” statement I did not mean to suggest that the success of saving humanity was actually blasphemous.
I will admit that I dont really understand why a sacrifice was needed in the first place, could not God have forgiven us without a sacrifice if the “old covenant” was not important? Unless of coarse if the father of Jesus was not the creator god but another god seeking to provide a better deal to us hapless mortals.
“I will admit that I dont really understand why a sacrifice was needed in the first place,”
* In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness
– Hebrews 9:22
* If God forgives and sweeps under the carpet your sins, then God is not righteous
* God is righteous in making the sinner righteous
“could not God have forgiven us without a sacrifice if the “old covenant” was not important”?
Who said the old covenant was not important?
The sacrifices perform in the old covenant, cannot bring forth true righteousness!
your sins are actually covered for one year. repetitive sacrifices has to be made.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” – Hebrews 10:4
these sacrifices are just the shadows of things to come. and it came, as a person himself – Jesus.
Jesus became the sacrifice himself. He is the perfect sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world.!
“Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”
– John 1:29
“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”
– Hebrews 9:28
Unless of coarse if the father of Jesus was not the creator god but another god seeking to provide a better deal to us hapless mortals
Matthew, Matthew is the first book in the “New Testament” .
Blood sacrifices for sin are much older than the Old Covenant. God shed blood to cover Adam and Eve’s sin when the ate from the Tree. It’s not a Mosaic Law thing, it’s a “how the universe works” thing.
Fred Akama likes this….. One word. Liberating.
the true gospel is always liberating.thank God for revelation knowledge
Whenever I pointed out my children’s mistakes; I expect them to say sorry (confession) so that they are in a better position not to repeat them. I am sure our loving heavenly Father expected that from His children as well. Unless we own up to our sins, how can we consciously, effectively and thankfully receive God’s forgiveness although forgiveness is already freely given through the finished work at the cross by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Many preachers strongly suggested that 1 John 1:9 are for gnostic; I hope they are right but so far I have yet to come across very strong arguments to support that. Any comments?
@Many preachers strongly suggested that 1 John 1:9 are for gnostic
1 John 1:6-10
* Notice the IF’s ? for Believers, the IF are not applicable to us.
* We believers are NOT IN DARKNESS. We are in the Light.
* Jesus is the Light He Lives in Us, We are the light of the world.
* There is no darkness in us.
* “WE” is editorial We. John is not in darkness, John is not a sinner.
* If we confess our SINS -> Noun.
* unbelievers are sinners, because of SIN (the noun)
* believers are a new creation. they are no longer sinners
1 John 2:9
* believers are in the light, the reason why you love your brother because you are in the light
* because in the light you see clearly, the Love of God for you (agapeo).
* unbelievers CAN LOVE their neighbor also. but that love is not the Love of God (agapeo)
1 John 3:4-9
* And you know that JESUS was manifested to TAKE AWAY OUR SINS
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
* ask yourself. only Past sins? how about Present sins? how about future sins?
* He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as JESUS is righteous
* notice, righteousness? JESUS IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT OUR GOOD WORKS!
* IF JESUS IS IN YOU, YOU WILL MANIFEST RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 Corinthians 5:21)
* WHOEVER HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD DOES NOT SIN, for GOD’s seed (JESUS) remains in him;
and he CANNOT SIN, because he has been born of God
grace and peace bro
one more. When my children makes mistake, I never point them out and expect them to say sorry or confess. rather I show them how much I love them even they made that mistakes. the results are astonishing. I guess I grew up in a different environment.
Patrick, what you are providing for your children is a moral home, but God wants our hearts and lives to be supernatural and good – Here’s the difference: Confessing-to-be-forgiven is a rule and a regulation that leads to death. It can be proven. Further down, Paul points out that repentance should be about turning “to” Jesus, rather than away from sin – which is Old Covenant and leads to death. But E2R has at least 12 articles on this topic – their summary blog is found here: http://goo.gl/wnMA5
By Summary blog, I mean summarized/shortened/key points. 😛
Hi Rishan! No where did I advocate “Confession-to-be forgiven” but I strongly believe every1 needs to say sorry (own up) to God when he knows he has sinned. GB.
Just a gentle reminder to those commenting on this thread – please keep your comments <250 words. Any longer and I reserve the write to chop, chop, chop! Thank you.
I am guilty!
Here’s something very important people need to figure out sooner than later.
To be forgiven, one must do something wrong.
We are not perfect, people. God made us imperfect. That makes us beautiful, yes yes? So long as your not purposefully trying to do evil stuff… I think you’re good.
God did not make us imperfect. Man was originally made perfect. God called His creation good. The fall of man through Adam, Eve, and the serpent’s deception is what opened the door for imperfection. It is not our “goodness” or “evilness” that puts us in right standing with God. It is the gift of the cross and resurrection combined with faith and repentance that allows us to receive the gift of salvation.
I agree for the most part but this is a slippery slope. If people are taught that they do not have to confess or repent (which, yes, is in the bible) many will believe it’s ok to act however they want without consequence. Of course Jesus came for sinners to forgive sin and we are forgiven. However repentance is to turn from sin. God’s grace is not a license to sin.
Yeah, all can be forgiven without all being saved. There is something required on our part, but that doesn’t translate to “earning” it like some might perceive. There are definitely still consequences for choosing to behave in a way that is not in alignment with who we are called to be in Christ. Grace was given so that we might serve others, not to serve ourselves. 🙂
God’s purpose in our lives is for us to serve as a conduit of His love. It is His purpose that we open ourselves completely up to Him… that we may be aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit and let go of who we are so that who He is may have a chance to take over more and more of who we are and how we are. The consequence for not responding to the Holy Spirit is simply lack of growth… or opening the channel for God’s love to radiate out of our hearts. It’s not about being a good person or bad person. The place we end up in is the same for the weak christian and the strong christian. Certainly, there is more reward (joy, happiness, love etc) for the one who opens himself up to God. The weak christian will be caught up in the worries of the world for his time here.
I am more concerned about the slippery slope that leads to dead works and religion that kills. Repentance is not “turn from sin” but “turn to Jesus.” Turning from sin is a flesh trip – a short term change in behavior that is as only as good as our will power. It is Jesus (i.e., grace) who empowers us to say no to sin once and for all. If you don’t preach that undiluted grace, people won’t be empowered to turn from sin.
Good word Paul. Still, and this is just another way of looking at the same thing… I don’t think grace is for saying “no” to sin. There is no “sin” to say no to. In my opinion… Grace exists to open us up to let God’s Grace shine through us. Our struggles aren’t about sin… but about discerning what hinders or blocks Grace from shining through us… and even more so… what is it that allows Grace to shine through us.
AMEN Paul. . . it took me forever to figure out that repentance is NOT turning from sin, and that it’s a flesh trip. Also, repentance is turning from “dead works”. Dead works are our attempt to be righteous in God’s sight by anything other than the blood of His Son. I think I may have found your definition of grace finally. . . Jesus (i.e., grace).
Warren (South Carolina)
Cool. Though at times I find your posts untrustworthy, since your blog just started on 2010, and the Bible says that in the End-Times many “lite meals” will arrive that will appeal to what man wants (something like that) . I forgot the verse but I know it’s in the Bible. Can you tell me what you think about it, Paul?
If you’re finding Paul’s posts untrustworthy, you’re trusting in the wrong person! 🙂
Paul is always saying “put your trust in God… and rest in His grace!”
Paul… I just put words in your mouth, but I trust you agree. 🙂
Jesus did say that His burden is easy and his yolk is lite. To say that God is able to receive all the glory without ANY help from us, and that all humanity would want to give him all the glory because He sent his Son in our place, is the very essence of true prophecy. I don’t know about lite preachers and heavy preachers beyond what I said in the first sentence. But False Prophesy points to a man other than Jesus and says, “Here is your Messiah.” Don’t see any of that here.. Finally, Do you prefer rules and regulations of religion to find your righteousness? Or do you believe God is able to perform that in relationship with you? If you read the book of Hebrews, you’ll learn we can learn some things about God’s saints from the Old Testament, but that Christ supersedes them in every way. If you read the book of Romans, you’ll learn that we did in fact die to the law.
What man wants, more than money, more than power, is the fact that he achieved them with his own two hands. And that’s why it is so difficult for man to believe in the Gospel, where nothing is by your own effort. And thats why Jesus said it is harder for a rich man to believe in Jesus because all along, he believes that what he has, is a result of hard work, blood sweat and tears. On his ability.
Try this, tell a man, that all his possessions are not a result of his hard work and he’ll take it as an insult. It’s natural. Its a fleshly response. Everyone feels it time to time. How to prove it? When people praise you, you are pleased inside. When they speak ill of your work, you feel down. I do not think that this message is a lite meal, but one that is crucial, that must be preached over and over and over till the Lord comes.
Joshen, I’m fairly new to this site so I’m catching up a bit. What you say in this post is so full of truth. It is the core of “I am God” vs “God is God.” Good word…this will preach.
Tom, thanks for your beautiful comment.
Christian should be remorseful about their sins? [YES!]. Christian should confess their sins to God and to one another? [YES!]. Christian needs to confessed their sins to be forgiven [NO!]
Do you have an article on how leader or ministers will be held more accountable, much is given much is required.. they are held to a higher standard and all will give an account in the day of judgement.. Seems like I have yet to hear these thru the eyes of Grace..I am always seeking to Look thru the lens of grace. Also the whole “rewards thing when you get to heaven.. I not sure how to respond to that teaching because the greatest gift in heaven is being there, in His presence, with our heavenly Father forever.
You kinda read my mind! haha. Just thinking out loud but since the Lord doesn’t put spiritual leaders up on a “higher level” (acts 10:34. Thanks Biblegateway!), then we are under the same Grace as the people not involved in church-type ministry. I think too many churches and pastors put so much emphasis on “living right” that it has become law-based and not Grace based. Can’t remember who said this but I heard a quote where when someone is a lover of Christ and understands Grace then it leads to effortless holiness. :).
with great power come great responsibility?
Hey Barbara, I just heard a great, liberating grace message on what people refer to as the judgement seat (5 COR 2:10), it is one word which is actually (bematos). It is a place where blessing is dispensed, similar to Olympic games (which only dispenses reward or blessing). This also makes sense when Paul says:
Weymouth New Testament: “I have gone through the glorious contest; I have run the race; I have guarded the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7)
This will also help: James 3:17 “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” The word pure in the greek (strongs #53) means unmixed. This place will produce peace, and will be gentle, and make sense (reasonable) ( it will also be with mercy). The word bad (5 COR 2:10) in the greek is worthless (strongs #2556) or, no value. (blessing) 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed rewarded for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad without value.” International Standard Version (©2008): “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of the Messiah, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or worthless.”
If anyone wants the grace website where I was able to download these sermons for free, then e-mail me (email@example.com) and I’ll be happy to give it to you (It’s a 3 part series).
I also have a link to a written teaching as well on the subject of the judgement seat (bematos) if anyone is interested.
I think you may be convenienty forgetting Romans 10 v 9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” There is NO automatic forgiveness for sins, you have to repent. This is a warning Sir, that you are sending sinners to Hell because you are not preaching the whole counsel of God!
Thank you for your comment. As I say in the post, sinners are not saved. You may be confusing forgiveness with salvation. The whole world is forgiven, but not everyone is saved. Let me illustrate: If someone accused me of something I hadn’t done and I forgave them, they would be forgiven. Their repentance does not come into it. Forgiveness is all my side. Because of the cross, the world is forgiven. You were not forgiven in accordance with your repentance, but in accordance with the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7).
There are no scriptures in the new covenant saying you have to repent to be forgiven; we repent because we are forgiven. I am not sending sinners to hell, I’m telling them the good news that has been denied to them by Christians preaching works-based religion.
WoW Paul, very gracious and humble reply to Lilian.
In the end, when we stand before Him to worship forever our amazing Father, we will all be humble recipients of His amazing grace….That’s not an exact quote but it’s from Francis Frangipane.
Warren (South Carolina)
* Repentance does not save us. is there other word than repentance?
It sounds alike penance, so eerie in the ear.
* The blood of Jesus saves us
Works – obedience, good performance, including repentance – does not merit any salvation
* Repentance – means when you have a change of mind that none of your works can save you, rather only by grace
I wanna shock a bit.
* It is not the Faith that saves you. Not even your faith in the blood. It is good to have faith and faith in the blood.
* But it is the blood of Jesus alone that saves you. not your faith.
grace and peace
What is this “good news” for sinners, those that are unsaved, that Christians have been denying them?
My understanding from Biblical text is that those who are unsaved are going to hell… that’s pretty clear in the scriptures
Is this your own version of the Gospel? Cheap grace?
Can you please clarify…
Here’s what the good news is not: “You’re going to burn in hell!” The angel spoke of good news of great joy and there’s no joy, not even tiny bit of joy learning you’re going to hell. To use hell as an invitation to heaven makes no sense. Would you marry someone who said they loved you but would kill you unless you say “I do”? Yet that is the picture many are painting of God. It’s like He’s an abusive Father who beats His kids but thankfully Big Brother Jesus is there to take the hits for us.
How contrary to what Jesus preached!
Jesus went around preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven, not the bad news of the pit of hell. Jesus commissioned us to preach the same message. Jesus came to tell those born under law that God is NOT angry with them, that in fact He loves them (Rom 5:8). Jesus told stories about lost sheep, lost coins, and lost sons to demonstrate the Father’s heart is towards the lost and that the lost were saved through nothing they did. The lost sheep didn’t repent and come home – He was found. We have been found! We don’t repent to get forgiven; we repent because we are forgiven.
Religious people define repent as “turning from sin.” I would define it as “turning to God.” Big difference. You can turn from sin to more sin (usually religious pride) but you can’t turn to God without turning from sin. Jesus preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Mat 3:2) and “repent and believe the good news.” He’s saying, “I’ve got something good to tell you – so get ready to change the way you think about God and believe what I’m telling you.” Most of the time the word repent appears in the NT it’s in connection with something good (gospel, the way of righteousness, miracles, love of God). It’s not the stinkiness of sin or the terror of hell that drives us to repentance. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Rm 2:4). You want sinners to repent? Then tell them the good news of how kind and gracious their Father is. More here.
Cheap Grace!! It was free for you it cost God his only son!! The FACT of the matter is that whether you believe it or not there had to be a payment for sin available in order for you to be forgiven in the first place and repent in the first place.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (Rev 13:8) And all the inhabitants of The Earth will worship it, those who are not written in The Book of Life of The Lamb slain BEFORE the foundation of the world.
New International Version (Mark 1:15) “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Remember 1st came a changing of the mind which then enabled them and us to believe in the first place. How can we affirm this? Weymouth New Testament (Rom:24) Or is it that you think slightingly of His infinite goodness, forbearance and patience, unaware that the goodness of God is gently drawing you to repentance? What came first? Zacchaeus repentance (changing of mind) or the goodness of God? (Luke 19:1-9). Jesus paid in full and he declared Finished (tetelestai). Jesus cried out “It is finished” in His last moments on the cross. The writers of the original Greek text used the word ‘tetelestai’ which, interestingly, in their day, was used as an accounting term which would have been marked on invoices, meaning, literally, “paid in full”, i.e., account reconciled, debt paid, or cancelled. There had to be a payment for sins before anyone could be saved this is the GOOD NEWS to all. All are forgiven because it was paid so now recieve and be saved. You are drowning without Christ and you will continue to drown without him unless you believe in the work of HIS HANDS and not your own. Will you believe? Will you cash the lottery ticket? Thats up to the one whom the gospel is being preached too isn’t it?
(Matt 14:30-31) 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31Immediately Jesus reached out HIS HAND and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” The Good News is that sinners don’t have to drown right? (Jesus is the ultimate lifeguard hallelujah!!)
King James 2000 Bible (Acts 13:38-39)
38) Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39) And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
We preach the payment, if the poor lottery winners never cash the lottery tickets they never become rich. It could happen in a instant once they believe in cashing it and once they
know its in their possesion. This is a lottery where everyone wins, If they never cash the ticket then they die in debt. Would you call the scripture above cheap grace? Or easy believe-ism?
Jesus calls this THE true work, to believe.
King James Bible (John 6:28)
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the work”s” of God?
New Living Translation (John 6:29)
Jesus told them, “This is THE ONLY wor”k” God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Recently I received a text message on my phone informing me that I had won a free lottery in the United Kingdom that I didn’t know existed! Two Million $US was the prize. Of coarse this seemed like a dubious claim as the only evidence presented was the message itself. The fact that I don’t live in the UK and that a lottery in that country would probably pay out in British pounds (or Euros) were black flags also. Turns out a lot of other people “won” this lottery also.
Maybe lottery is not the best analogy for the grace message?
Hi Paul, The Bible says: “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12) – and that sums up the Universalist view quite succinctly! Now without colourful analogies, reinterpreting and twisting scriptures and one verse theology… please answer this one simple, but key question for me: Do you believe that those who are “unsaved” when they die will go to Hell? And if not, what do you believe? I don’t agree with you that “the whole world is forgiven of their sins whether they are saved or not” – that is another Gospel. I would just like to know what you think happens to people who die without accepting Jesus Christ as their saviour? In reponse to Lilian you made the claim that: “No scriptures in the new covenant saying you have to repent to be forgiven” – so basically you are claiming that salvation has nothing to do with a repentance or turning away from sin. That is not what the Bible says!!! 1 John 1:9 and Romans 10:9-10 you have addressed in your blog and feedback, but without adequate rebutal – i.e. can you even find one credible Bible commentary that will agree with you that the word “repent” is not addressing “repentance of sin”? For eg: Matthew 3:2 which you referenced above, is “metanoeō” in the original Greek (Strong’s Number G3340) which means: to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. Tyndale commentary…
Please note my comment policy requires comments to be <250 words. Comments longer than that generally don't get published or they get trimmed. If you have more than 250 words to say, or if you feel the need to preach, I encourage you to start a blog. I am happy to answer questions pertaining to the post. To answer yours, no, I don't believe those who reject Jesus are saved. I am delighted that you are scandalized by my gospel – I must be preaching grace. But no, I am no universalist. If everyone was saved, why would I need to tell them the good news?
You seem to think forgiveness equals salvation. What you’re really looking for is righteousness. Unless yours exceeds that of the Pharisees you’re in trouble. This is not a post about the gift of righteousness but the fact of forgiveness. I don’t know how many different ways I can say this – His forgiveness has nothing to do with your repentance. If you offend me and repent with sincere tears but I don’t forgive you, you are not forgiven. Your repentance cannot coerce me into forgiving you. And yet you believe you can coerce God!
Happily, God’s forgiveness is just like His love – unconditional. It flatters the religious mind to think that they can move God but it’s a delusion. God has already moved. All you can do is respond. Respond positively and it’s called faith. Repentance is an expression of faith.
BR, I can tell you that Paul does not believe in Universalism, and that he does believe in the existence of Hell where unsaved people will go. Paul did not say that you you don’t have to repent to be saved. He said you don’t have to repent to be forgiven. I realize the two concepts are related, but they are distinctly different. You are correct, the Bible is clear that repentance is required for salvation, but it does not say that repentance is required for forgiveness. Forgiveness was extended at the cross once and for all. Jesus reconciled the whole world to Himself, however, that does not mean that everyone receives the forgiveness available to them. For example, say you have a conflict with a two friends, and you choose to forgive them. One friend might accept that forgiveness and be reconciled to you, but the other friend might reject that offered forgiveness and choose to be alienated from you. That doesn’t mean you take the forgiveness back or that you stop forgiving them. They simply did not accept or embrace it and remain alienated and as a result there are consequences for that rejection. If forgiveness is conditional based on our action, it would come through our effort not God’s. God extends forgiveness to everyone, but they have to acknowledge and embrace it to receive the reconciliation of salvation. God is a gentleman who has given us free will, and He respects our choice to accept or reject Him. He doesn’t “send” anyone to Hell, but He respects their choice to reject the offered gift of forgiveness despite His desire to be reconciled.
I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you had a word limit. I don’t mind if you publish my post in 2 or 3 sections if you like (or I don’t mind doing this with your permission first of course?), but I think it is really important to allow your readers the opportunity to decide for themselves how your teaching stands up to testing (wether its 2 words or 2000) and biblical doctrine. But then again, if they are hungry for the truth, all they need to do is read the word of God.
Don’t take offense to questions and tests, as I said in my original post “as believers we are commanded to test everything and hold onto only what is good”. We should encourage each other to do this, and earnestly contend for the truth.
I feel that by your repsponse, that you prefer to deal in clever allegorisation with little substance rather than supporting your points of view by Biblical scripture and sound doctrine. Can you support anything you have said in your response with scripture? Or is this just your point of view?
I’m sorry Paul, you are not preaching real Biblical grace. You are preaching a cheap version of grace, that is your own, unbiblical version. Another Gospel!
And if you don’t mind answering my question = “what do you believe happens to those who reject Jesus (unsaved) when they die”? Do you believe they go to Hell? Or what do you believe?
Tell you what Brendan, I’ll answer your question if you answer mine. Do you think I’m going to hell? Paul said “let anyone who preaches a different gospel from him be eternally condemned” – and he said it twice. We evidently have different gospels. Mine’s here for the whole world to see. You claim it’s unbiblical. I have no idea what your gospel is – you haven’t said anything that would fill a sinner with great joy. You say sinners are not forgiven. Presumably God’s wrath abides on them. Never mind that the Son of God forgave those who never repented, even those who killed Him. Evidently, Jesus was preaching cheap grace. You claim my gospel is unbiblical.
No need to answer my hell question. This is my real question: What is “real Biblical grace”? You say I don’t know it. So what is it? In 250 words or less, please tell us what you think we must we do to merit God’s grace. No need to cut and paste scriptures. We all own Bibles. I want to know what you think.
Hope you meant Brendan and not Brandon. 🙂 Paul, I agree with and understand your distinction between forgiveness and salvation.
My apologies Brandon – I did and I made the change.
@Brendon: its a pitty we don’t live in a time when Christians could pick from the many gospels and decide what is scripture and what is not. Certainly the earliest followers of the Jesus movement only considered the Hebrew scriptures to be “scripture”. Paul’s letters followed by the many gospels came later and it would be some time before anyone would consider them scripture. They were for a time contemporary writings about a new hip form of Judaism that would attract both Jewish and Gentile converts.
Since that early time many different views have been added, edited, censored, redacted. The universal church (Catholic) attempted to draw together many desperate traditions and created a new tradition that combined these different traditions. Paul Ellis’s grace gospel is not new and it can be argued for in the existing cannon text; although other views are also represented which can make things a little confusing.
It’s so cool to really know God intimately! It’s great to understand His grace… and not in any way be intimidated by those who just don’t want to allow God to be God. Thank you God for being my God! Sometimes… I get a guilty pleasure from knowing how You love me… just as I am!
Good post… When Jesus said “Father forgive them,” it was without them asking for forgiveness or even thinking they needed it. And it was those who were obviously outside the faith. And when He said “Forgive them,” we became partakers of that same forgiveness laid out for the entire world.
Then the only indictment for those who end up in hell is “I never knew you…”
Was just poking around some of your other posts… I probably wouldn’t have commented at all if I had seen more of what was on this site first, but I will make a short comment here. Your interpretation Col 2:3 stands in stark contrast to the depiction of the perfectly perfect work of the the cross. Paul says that we died with Christ through baptism. If we have not died and been buried with Him, we are still under the law. This is the premise of Romans 7. Until the we die, co-crucified with Christ, we are still married to the law. it is only identification through baptism that sets us free from the law, Scripturally, according to Paul. Further, the whole principle breaks through multiple examples, but I’ll simply bring up one. Acts 8:22 says “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”
Here, we have Simon the sorcerer asking for the power Peter had. Peter says he is sinful. Exegetical study of this passage shows that 1) Peter told Simon to repent. 2) Told Simon to pray for forgiveness 3) the intent of his heart needed to be forgiven 4) It is not a given in Peter’s mind that it could be. Enough said.
Thanks for taking time to read some of the other posts to get to know more of what Paul is teaching. In a previous comment you said “People take my tone to be argumentative, harsh………I do work on this.” It’s showing that you are trying and I am grateful for that. Though we all stumble at times, I believe if we walk in peace, it makes it easier for others to walk with us (even in our differences.)
Oh my! Please Paul say it aint so. Uh where to start? To answer your first question, yes sinners are forgiven. But not ALL sinners are forgiven. Lets start with this one first. Johnh 1:29 ..the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Do you really believe John was talking about all people, in all ages, throughout human history? If you think the word “world” is used this way that is exactly what universalism is. Don’t you think that John was referring to the Gentiles? Up to that point God had been dealing specifically with and thru the nation of Isreal. Study Luke 3:7-9. If everone’s sins are forgiven the there is no need to recieve grace.
“Say it ain’t so?” Golly Jeff, it sounds like you’d be happier if God hadn’t forgiven everyone. You’d better hope Jesus died for the sins of the whole world because He’s not doing an encore. God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you. He’s not sitting in heaven thinking, “It’s Jeff’s fault. I won’t forgive him unless he first says sorry.” Grace is for the undeserving. That’s the whole point. The good news is not that grace is coming. Grace has come. God’s covenant of grace isn’t with you but your representative Jesus. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jhn 2:2). It’s true whether you believe it or not, but grace will not be effective unless you believe it (Eph 2:8).
Amen Paul, great comment!!!
Warren (South Carolina)
It really has nothing to do with Jeff’s feelings or your ability to come up w/ an argument. It’s simply against the Word, Paul. Your interpretation of “all” and “world” is just off. “Not Effective until you believe it” What does that mean? I might use a similar phrase. Yes, it’s quite capable, but like dish soap in the bottle, doesn’t wash until applied.
I looked it up – “all” means “all” and “world” means “world.” You’re have to change the meaning of words to say otherwise. “Not effective…” – what does that mean? Eph 2:8 tells you. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…”
Correct me if I’m wrong… but I seem to remember that in order to gain forgiveness of sins, one has to say “Wingardium Leviosa”… and not just say it… but say it correctly. Extreme caution must be taken here. A wrong inflection will result in unforeseen consequences which are usually quite unpleasant.
I have considered saying “Wingardium Leviosa”… but the fear of saying it wrong has me paralyzed… so I’ll just accept (no hocus pocus incantation for me) that Jesus included me in his deal about his death being the propitiation of sin for all the world. 😉
Paul, you nailed it. Jesus’s work is absolutely all finished, for the entire world. It just needs to be believed. What an extraordinary, magnificent act of grace.
I think it would be great if God forgave everyone but unfortunately that is not the case. 1 John 2:2 means that the basis for forgiving sins is only found in Christ. He is the only propitiation available for any sin at all.
Exactly! And guess how many times Jesus has to die to deal with the sins of the world? “When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good–not only ours, but the whole world’s” (1Jn 2:2, MSG). This is the good news!
No one gets black-listed, but based on feedback from long-term E2R readers who dislike long argumentative discussion threads, I generally limit critics to one comment and, occasionally, one right of reply – as long as both comments satisfy E2R’s comment policy (e.g., advancing the conversation rather than point-scoring). Everyone gets a chance to speak, but in my experience, there is little to be gained by engaging at length in these threads with those who see things differently to me. Nobody is edified by it. I’m sure you understand.
Limiting critics, huh? If your doctrine is so foolproof, what are you afraid of? It’s easy to promote false teachings when you don’t have to contend with much to the contrary. The Bible says that we are to give a defense to those who ask for it, not to forbid them to speak. I notice that many of your “friends” comments exceed the 250 word limit with no rebuff, but the first thing you point out to a critic (Brendan R) is that his post is too long. Wow, now that’s grace if I’ve ever seen it.
Sheesh, Jeff. Anyone would think this was a church crisis meeting or something. My blog, my rules. You no likee, you no playee. I’ll give grace to all who ask but not to stone-throwers, mockers, and haters.
Seriously, no need to get offended. This is meant to be fun. If you have something to say about the post, say it.
Excellent post. All the world needs to hear this message. Thanks Paul for a crystal clear message directly from the word. GOOD STUFF!
Paul, I have just recently come to understand what you are talking about in this post through other teachers with similar views, just outstanding!! What an incredible feeling to truly understand God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ after being a christian for 35 years on the yo-yo ride of confess, sin, repent, feel like a loser, repeat. It is so sad the the christian community has for so long misunderstood Christ’s atoning work on the cross for the sins of the world, as if he only died for “christians”. Our identity “In Christ” is everything! Please keep up the great work, this is such an important message for everyone to understand. Completely changes how we evangelize as well. RU going to write a book or can you refer me to some with same view? Thanks!
Hi John, thanks for taking the time to write in. It’s always to hear about and “old” Christian coming to the revelation of grace. (I had been saved about 35 years too when I got it.) I am presently working on a book that sort of a foundational-intro to grace. In the mean time you might want to check out some of the outstanding books on my Book Reviews page.
Hi ,Thanks 4 such an amazing eye opening article, but I just want2 let you know that there was a printing or typing error, its Acts 26:18 not 19 underneath the ‘put your faith in thee good news’ Section.
Thanks a lot for the amazing articles that you write on this site paul they are really informative and I learn tons from them, I was led to this site from a brother just like 1 week ago and I’m so Glad he did. Praise God for this site and continue doing wat u doing ,you are storing up rewards in heaven brother, Stay Bless
Hi Mac, thanks for pointing out the typo. I fixed it. And welcome to E2R!
Forgiveness to all? Even the issue of sin is only dealt with for those who are in Christ. Those not in Christ have not received forgiveness. Their sins were paid for at the cross but they have yet to receive forgiveness. I know this may be shocking to numbers of people who have been studying grace for a while, but take a look at the following scriptures. They all speak of the need for unbelievers to have faith in Christ to receive forgiveness. Get ready to be surprised…
Wow, I bet that’s a bit of a shocker to those who thought the entire world has received forgiveness of sins! To be honest, I’ve only just recently seen this properly and therefore had to adjust my theology a bit. That’s not a bad thing. I’d rather be right than dogmatic! Ha ha!
Dennis, I trimmed your comment for three reasons: (1) It exceeded the 250 word count stated in E2R’s comment policy by quite a bit, (2) cutting and pasting scriptures does not an argument make, and (3) you don’t need to convince me – I agree with you 100%. The next post in the forgiveness series, which will go up in a week, is entitled “Why do people need to receive forgiveness if the whole world is already forgiven?”
Forgiveness is an expression of grace. What is true of one is true of the other. Has God shown grace to the whole world? Yes – look at the cross. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Not just those in Christ but all men. Has the whole world received grace – no. Grace is worthless unless mixed with faith.
As I have briefly explained in an earlier post and will more fully explain in the next forgiveness post, there are two issues here, not one: (1) What Christ has done (everything – His is a finished work) and (2) what we must do in response (believe the good news!). Yes, people need to receive grace/forgiveness. That much is clear. But telling sinners they are not forgiven sends the message that they must do something before God will forgive them. This is not what Jesus preached in Luke 24 or what Peter preached in Acts 5:31 or what Paul preached in Acts 13:38.
Very well said Paul. That short summary in your response to Dennis is the best I’ve seen. I agree with it 100%.
Yep well said. I get it now.
I allowed that God could exist… and was baptized in the HS that night (having never heard of this baptism… I just started speaking in tongues thinking saying the strange words coming into my head would help me get to sleep). I found out about this baptism the next day when I recounted the strange events of the previous night to a born-again friend. So… my guess is that I was “in Christ” without ever repenting. I did that later thinking that would seal the deal.
Thanks, Paul i look forward it, sorry for the long post.
God bless yah
I always find myself astounded at how terrified people are of the true, plain gospel. I have even been called unsaved because I read scripture in a plain straightforward manner trying to see the words as they are without the traditional interpretations that many people have.
Paul, you say you’re not preaching universalism but by default you are if forgiveness comes before belief. You claim that sinners can reject the gift of forgiveness by unbelief, but since unbelief is also a sin, it’s already been forgiven if we follow your line of thought. If that’s the case, how can God hold a sinner’s unbelief against them, thereby disqualifying them for salvation? In reality, we receive forgiveness as a result of our belief in Christ’s work on the cross. If we agree with you, then no belief is required for either forgiveness or salvation.
It sure is a good thing we aren’t saved by logic. 😉
I agree Tom. . . .Like Paul, took me 35 years to “give UP” on it and walk by FAITH.
Warren (South Carolina)
Jeff, I make two points in the post that I want to reiterate here: (1) God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you. He doesn’t need you to do anything to forgive you. Forgiveness is a unilateral decision on his part motivated 100% by love. The word forgiveness literally means to remove or send away and when were your sins sent away? At the cross. This is good news that we proclaim. (2) Although the gift has been given, people still need to receive it. (I develop this point further in this post.) God doesn’t force his love on the unwilling – just look at Adam and Eve. They rejected God and he let them go. Since God never changes, he will always treat unbelievers the same way. He lets them go.
Does forgiveness come before belief? Absolutely. It has to, otherwise it’s not grace. Forgiveness is a manifestation of grace. Faith (belief) is a response to grace. You cannot believe in the grace of God unless he is, in fact, gracious. If it were otherwise – if your belief compelled God to forgive you – it wouldn’t be grace.
Spurgeon said it like this: “Repentance [which is a manifestation of faith] will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance.” God initiates; we follow. Grace comes first, then we respond.
There is only 1 (one) unpardonable sin; the sin of UNBELIEF in Jesus. John 16:v8a (NKJV) And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin (singular)……v9 of sin (singular), because they do not believe in Me;
My logic….I am totally forgiven because of Jesus. He has made the way to come to him. I didn’t feel forgiven before coming to Jesus because I didn’t believe He could forgive me. I was a forgiven and unsaved because I believed a lie that God could not forgive me. Ah but I was already forgiven before coming to Christ just deceived. Grace!
I love this post, I have one question though. How does this fit with Hebrews 10:26-29. I’m just trying to figure out how these work together.
Thank you so much
Sorry, I realized that I need to clarify something. I understand that we are forgiven no matter what and that is incredible! What I’m not quite sure of is how this fits together for those who have accepted Christ and fall back into sin, I know that our salvation isn’t dependent on us, but this passage really confuses me.
If you enter “Hebrews 10:26” into the search box at the top of this site, you will find a post on that passage. As Paul explains in Romans, when we sin we don’t fall from grace but into grace (Rom 5:20). This should not be seen as an invitation to see what you can get away with. But a reassurance of your security in Christ Jesus. His grace is greater than your sin.
Imagine we became “un-righteous” when we sinned; the Holy Spirit will have to leave us immediately because He won’t be able to dwell in this unrighteous temple. The fact that the Holy Spirit can continue to dwell in the new testament believers is because we are made righteous forever by the blood of Jesus once and for all eternity.
that was one of the first revelations of grace God gave me before i even understood what grace was… i’m laughing as i type this, because He made it come out of my mouth when i was asked by someone in bible study “how we can know for sure that we have been forgiven”! 😀
We are sinners until we believe, at which point we become saints who still sin.
and yet are being changed to be like Christ. We are in our sins until we receive Christ, no?
It seems to me that society (culture) also plays a role in this thinking. Here in America we have a system that is based on performance. IF you make good grades you THEN get a reward for example. The “father of lies” works against the message of forgiveness. It is difficult for people to receice something for nothing and since we can do nothing to receive forgiveness it does something to us……. But once you realize this message and receive it your life will NEVER be the same again. Whom the Son has set free IS FREE INDEED!
Thanks for the way you share this message Paul.
So are all people going to arrive safely in heaven? I know our Father wishes none would perish, I just wonder when I read Matthew 7:13? Anyway I don’t believe there is anything I can do to earn my salvation I do know that john 3:16 says “believe” and I know that doesn’t mean to merely acknowledge, even satan acknowledges that Christ is Lord. My problem is that I Love Jesus! And I can’t even get His two first commands right all the time! Love you guys! 🙂
John 3:16 (“believe!”) is one of about 200 imperatives found in the New Testament. Although God’s love and grace and forgiveness are universal, people divide themselves by their responses to grace.
It is hard to find good grace preachers. Or should I say hard to find preachers preaching Grace that I can listen to on an Pod cast. Based on what I know about you I’m assuming you’re still a pastor but I can’t find any audio on you. As you know ______ preaches Grace. I was extremely glad to run across him. And still love to listen to him preach grace. But he seems to be missing a couple of items in his theology. Obviously they’re not deal breakers but it’s strange to listen to someone in tune with grace have a couple of his ideas. The first one that is strange is he does not believe that healing is provided for in the atonement. I think I understand his point of view that people get prayed for and nothing appears to happen. But I believe the Scriptures are clear that healing is provided. Also the second thing is, I believe the theology is called Effacy of forgiveness. Where he does not believe that forgiveness is provided for everyone. Only for those that are in Christ! I was fortunate enough to run across your post on this so I do know where you stand on the forgiveness part. But I find it almost incredible that someone could have the insight of salvation by grace and yet miss these two, to me, very important benefits of the cross.
I stopped pastoring several years ago, when we left Hong Kong, so no podcasts from me. Maybe one day.