Forgiven and Forgotten
1 John 2:12
Realize what you’re signing up for if you disregard the “once for all” forgiveness offered in Christ. Imagine if it were up to you to remember every sin and to confess every sin in order to be forgiven by God. What if you forgot to confess one? Imagine if you were only forgiven of sins that you clearly repented of and began to overcome in your life. What if you died before getting a sin issue resolved? The whole thing leads to stress and fear, not relaxing in the finished work of Jesus. It’s got to be about the blood of Jesus alone. Nothing else makes any sense!
It’s not our memory, our many words, or any ceremony that makes us forgiven. Remember that there is no blood being shed in those moments, and only blood brings forgiveness. So it’s the one-time sacrifice of Jesus that made us forgiven, and it is finished (John 19:30). It’s over. You are a totally forgiven person.
While religious systems might tell us to get right and get clean with God over and over again, the new covenant way of grace reveals that Jesus was the hilastērion (propitiation; 1 John 2:2), meaning “the gift that satisfies completely.” And if God is satisfied with the sacrifice of his Son, then who are we to argue with him?
This is precisely why passages in the New Testament that discuss our forgiveness express it in past tense. Whether in Ephesians, or Colossians, or Hebrews, or 1 John, many passages say God “forgave” us all our sins and that we “have been” forgiven (Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13; Heb. 10:18; 1 John 2:12). It’s past tense because nothing new is going to happen.
Think about it: all of your sins were in the future when Christ died. There’s no distinction between sins before salvation and sins after salvation when it comes to the blood of Jesus Christ. Imagine if there were! Does the gospel actually become less powerful to you after you’re saved? Do sins after salvation somehow get treated differently when it comes to the cross? If that were true, the best strategy would be to wait to get saved just before you breathe your last breath. At least then you wouldn’t have to “manage your cleansing” very long before you met your Maker. The whole scenario is absurd, and so is that belief system.
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