Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Grace: Greatly Forgiven

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 NKJV

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. 

Greatly Forgiven

 When we get a clear understanding of our perfect redemption in Christ, one of the greatest aspect of His Grace is understanding just how forgiven those of us in Christ actually are. It is such good glad news knowing you are cleansed and totally forgiven. No matter what you've done. No matter how bad your sins seem you are totally forgiven in Him. 

Wait, isn't all humanity forgiven of their sins?

 Perhaps you took note that I said only those in Christ are forgiven. This is a challenging topic to address. You see Jesus paid for the sins of all humanity. 
He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. 1 John 2:2 NLT
This is marvelously good news!Yet how do we reconcile this passage with this one?
46 and He said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-47 NASB
 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.
18 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.

Freedom from pain and the cure for shame and guilt

 Now that we understand the message of forgiveness let's see how this knowledge of forgiveness is the cure for all shame and guilt. If you recall Paul's words in 2 Corinthians, he stated old things are passed away and the new has come. In Christ, we are made new. God's Grace makes all things new.

 So many have a past in which they were abused, mistreated or even abandoned. Some have experienced unspeakable horrors and cruelty at the hands of others. Others have seen the worst life in a fallen World has to offer. How can people live today free from the pain and hurts? What if you were the one doing the wrong and hurt another how can you deal with the guilt and shame?

 The Grace of God reveals His sinless blood shed for your imperfections and pains and hurts perfectly cleanses and heals you. The work of redemption is a Finished Work. Take all the pain and misery of the past and see it nailed to that Cross. See Him bearing all your pains, your sorrows, even your guilt and shame and exchanging it for His righteousness and total forgiveness. 

 In Christ, you stand complete. You are made whole, nothing missing. There are no spiritual birth defects. You are perfect in Christ. You are remade new, and He sees you cleansed, righteous and forgiven. Rejoice, your slate is wiped clean. You have a zero ledger balance. You don't owe a thing. 

 So great a salvation. So greatly forgiven. Now, what about our future sins? In our next study, we will see that we truly are forgiven of all our sins, past and present and future. You don't want to miss it.
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at

No comments: