Not long ago we began a detailed a study of His great Grace. Recently, we've looked in-depth at the various performance-based faith concepts currently in the Body of Christ. Having thoroughly defined what a performance driven faith looks like I sense the impression to examine another aspect of our great redemption.
Wait, isn't all humanity forgiven of their sins?
This is marvelously good news!Yet how do we reconcile this passage with this one?
Is there a contradiction to the Gospel message? It really isn't a contradiction to the Gospel. The Gospel is the Grace of God. It is still good glad news. The truth we must always include is that any gift no matter how good and wonderful and life transforming must still be received to enjoy the benefits of it. Look at Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 5. See that he makes it clear only those in Christ are a new creation. Then he shares are work as ambassadors for Christ.
Take note that Paul says God isn't counting men's sins against them. What does it mean God isn't counting men's sins against them? It means He is not looking for you to come up with a payment plan for your failures and faults and sins. He is satisfied with the once for all payment of sins, Christ's shed blood.
Our work as ambassadors for Christ is to urge the World to be reconciled to God. We proclaim to them God isn't holding anything against you, so please receive this free gift. Redemption is a two-way street, God offering the gift and mankind responding by Grace through faith freely receiving it. Look at Jesus' words, the person of Grace Himself makes it clear.
to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18 NASB
It is clear then that those not yet in Christ still need to receive the forgiveness of sins to walk in the benefits of it. Because Christ Finished Work bore the full punishment for sins on the Cross though, there is now no more "punishment" for sins today. Meaning God isn't sending tornadoes or tsunamis to punish wicked nations or states or cities.
Now let me make it clear, only the rejection of Jesus is what results in a man choosing eternal separation in Hell. Yet, if you look at Revelation, in the end of it all, you see men having to answer for their works. What does this mean? It confirms that the Gospel is the Grace of God.
Let me explain, the Gospel of Grace says we can't ever do enough, we can't earn or achieve salvation by accomplishing a task or carrying out an action. We can do nothing but simply respond by believing Him and receiving His work on our behalf. But you may be asking I thought all sins were forgiven, so why the need for the lost to answer for their works? That again confirms the Gospel is the Grace of God.
Picture this. An extremely wealthy tycoon walks into a department store. There are only 3 people inside browsing. All three are poor and destitute. They are all just admiring the beautiful items in this store. Now let's suppose this tycoon lays down a million dollars cash and says whatever they desire I'm paying for it. He made an overpayment. Two of the customers respond with great joy and freely receive all that was offered. They take their items to the register and the clerk says this is all paid in full have a nice day.
Now the final customer says no thanks, I am not worthy. Or they may be saying I am not that poor I can handle paying for my purchases. Even though the products were paid for this one rejected that payment and sought to pay for their items with their own efforts and funds. Of course, they would come up short. That is what is happening in Revelation. Mankind who are bankrupt spiritually, who have rejected Grace seek to find their own method of paying for their sins.
Grace has freely provided forgiveness to all mankind but this forgiveness must still be received to be activated. In order to reap the benefits of a clear conscience and freedom from dead works, one must freely receive what has been freely given. That answers this supposed contradiction of the Gospel message. Pastor Ryan Rufus has a great article on this if you're interested in further study.