In our last post, we began to look at the scandalous Grace of God. This Grace that turns a sinner into a saint. I since the impression to continue in this study of His Grace. I want to begin today by looking into our forgiveness.
Just how forgiven are we? If we listen to the traditions of men, we would conclude we are only partially forgiven. If we listen to theologians we would conclude that we're forgiven but not really. They have coined phrases like "judicial forgiveness" and "parental forgiveness."
Because religious tradition hasn't fully grasped the reality of the Finished Work, we get left with religious double talk. We are forgiven of our past sins, but not our present or future sins. For any current sins, or future failures we are left with maintaining a short account with God by our continual confession of sins.
Another form of this religious double talk is this "judicial forgiveness" philosophy. It states we are forgiven but not really. We are forgiven but we are still accountable for our sins to God. Given the way religion views our forgiveness, we can see now why this Radical Grace of God is so scandalous.
Grace declares from the Word of God, not from man, not from any religious tradition that we are totally forgiven. This scandalous Grace reveals that God hasn't just wiped our past clean, but has completely forgiven us of all our sins past and present and future. Certainly, this flies in the face of traditional religion. Many believers are comfortable with the idea of a forgiven past but not so much with the idea that we are forgiven of future sins, or the sins we have yet to commit.
This is why this over the top Grace is so scandalous for it takes away all of our sins, (here.) Religion resists the idea that we are completely forgiven. They wrestle with reconciling 1 John 1:9 (confess your sins to receive forgiveness), with other passages that declare we are forgiven of all sin, (see here, here, here.) This is why they adopt their religious double talk, you're forgiven but it is not a forgiveness you actually possess.
What many fail to grasp is that 1 John 1 is written for the Church, concerning the Gnostic sects attempting to infiltrate their ranks. 1 John 1:9 is inviting these lost souls who deny sin exists a way of escape. It is an evangelistic statement. It was never intended to be the Christian's "bar of soap" for any time they miss it. Look at what John even declared in the second chapter.