Showing posts with label confession of sin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label confession of sin. Show all posts

Monday, February 19, 2024

Objection?! Answering objections to the Gospel of Grace

For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 AMP

 Grace and truth came through Christ. Take note that Grace and Truth are listed together. They are on the same side if you will. Some religious minded say preach Grace but we also need truth. As if Grace isn't speaking the truth. As if Grace opposes truth. 

 If Grace and truth are together, which John 1 clearly demonstrates, then Grace and truth are not opposites. It means that Grace is the truth. That truth is also Grace. They go hand in hand. With this understanding, I want to look at some serious objections some Christian leaders have concerning Grace.

 There may be many objections you have heard previously. On this site, I have spent considerable time answering concerns about the Gospel of Grace. That said I recently came across a concise list of objections to the message of Radical Grace. It was so detailed I felt a detailed response to each objection was warranted. With that let's begin.

 The biggest objection to Radical Grace is the concept of confession of our sins and 1 John 1:9 being written to believers. The Gospel of Grace has revealed that 1 John 1:9 is not to believers but rather to unbelievers. This is a strongly controversial point to some. 

 This objection must be responded to by tackling two questions.  Is 1 John 1 written to Christians or sinners? Is confession of sins (in order to be forgiven of sins) for the believer? Let's answer objection one part one, who is 1 John chapter 1 addressing? 

 Let's look at the first chapter in full context here. Take note of how John the Apostle begins the Epistle. Look how there is no greeting. Every Epistle in the New Covenant begins with a greeting. Even in the Epistle to the Hebrews though it begins with a statement, this statement is clearly addressing those in the Faith. 

 In John's other two Epistles, he specifically addresses the believer with a greeting. Looking at 1 John 2:1, we can see the standard greeting begins here. So why no greeting in the first verse or two of this Epistle? This should make us pause, and ask why there is a deviation from every Epistle in the New Testament. 

 Next, let's look at some of the passages in the first chapter. 

 3. we declare to you that which we have seen and heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 MEV

 Now let me take this passage and highlight some words that indicate who John is addressing. 

 3. we declare to you that which we have seen and heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4 (emphasis mine).

  Have you noted the pronouns being used? We (those in Christ) are addressing you (those not in Christ yet), and telling you (those without Christ) about Jesus. If this first chapter is to believers why is John distinguishing himself from the audience? Who are the "we" and who is the "you?"

 I trust you are tracking with me. Tradition is such a powerful force. It creates a stronghold in the minds of believers that can be a struggle to pull down. This stronghold of tradition is so strong it makes the Word of no effect. 

 The Word being of no effect means that even when reading and seeing clear passages presented from God's Word, the clouded mind of tradition cannot see the light of it. Tradition won't allow the person to grasp the truth of the Word. In fact often times it causes them not only to reject it but to aggressively fight against it. 

 If not written to believers who is John addressing? John is addressing the Gnostics who have infiltrated the Church. Understand the Church is in its infancy growth stage when the Scriptures were given. The Scripture must address certain mindsets attitudes and issues that pose a threat and hindrance to the development of the Church. 

 This is exactly what John was doing in writing the Epistle of 1 John. The Gnostics believed flesh was evil and therefore rejected Jesus being a flesh and blood man. This is why John went to great lengths to describe Jesus in the first two verses of this Epistle. John describes perfectly both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ.

 When we understand that this first chapter is written to the Gnostic lost, the rest of the chapter makes more sense. Verses 5-10 have been a source of condemnation and shame to the Church for generations. Look at them again. The passages seem to suggest we can walk in and out of fellowship with God when we sin.

 This is not what this passage is saying. Think of it this way. Replace the word light with the word morality. If we walk in morality as He is morality we have fellowship with God and the blood cleanses us from sin. Wait, if we are walking morally then why would we need cleansing from sin? We would only need cleansing when we are immoral.

 Yet tradition creates a doctrine from this one passage that says if we sin we have no fellowship with God until we say I am sorry. Is this right? Again, who is this addressing? It is talking to lost Gnostics who think they are in the light because of knowledge. 

 If we think we are in the light because of our doing, and our thinking, then we are deceiving ourselves and actually walking in darkness. This passage is an invitation to accept Christ, to walk in true fellowship with Him, and to receive continual cleansing from the blood. This is not addressing the saints who have sinned.

  In Christ, we are forgiven once for all time. He declared we will never be forsaken or abandoned. He didn't say oh wait, let me add a clause here. You're only unforsaken if you don't commit sin. 

 No, we don't lose fellowship with our Father when we sin. Whenever we do sin, our Good Father draws us closer. He doesn't run from us. He doesn't distance Himself from us. He doesn't disown us. He runs to us and reminds us of who we are in Him. We are the Righteousness of God in Christ. We are forgiven of all our sins. 

 With this truth established of who the audience is, we can know that 1 John 1:9 does not address Christians but unbelievers. If we rightly divide the Word apart from tradition we can clearly see it. If we allow the Scriptures themselves to establish precedence, we can see how this Epistle is distinct. 1 John 1 is not addressing believers it is speaking to the Gnostic lost. 

 In summation, relinquish tradition and embrace truth. If we embrace Grace we embrace truth. Let's not man's understanding lead us astray from this Gospel of Grace. Next time we will address part two of this objection. Must we confess our sins? 




Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Discover Grace: Forgiveness and Confession

 God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace in King Jesus before all time and ages, 10 but has now made it visible through the appearing of our saviour King Jesus, who abolished death and, through the gospel, shone a bright light on life and immortality. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 NTE 

 God is calling. He is heralding the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is shouting it from the mountaintops and the highways and byways. Jesus has paid it all. He is proclaiming I am satisfied with Jesus' work. It is all paid in full, and the work is complete. God is saying discover Grace!

  The amazing Grace of God is limitless in scope and eternal and unchanging. The Grace of God reveals how loving our Father is and also the entirety of Jesus' redemptive work on our behalf. Grace invites us on a journey to enter and grow up in an eternal relationship with a Good God. 

 One of the most amazing works of Grace is the revelation of the complete and total payment for all sins once and for all time. This means once we receive Jesus as Savior we receive the free gift of the forgiveness of our sins that He paid for. Our sins are forgiven forever.

 So what if we sin after we receive Jesus? Are our sins just forgiven up to the point of conversion? Is our fellowship broken with the Father because of our sins? 

 Grace is so amazing, God has the answer to all these questions and more. Let's answer these questions one at a time to receive a greater understanding of what Jesus' Finished Work accomplished. Let's not be in a hurry and simply skim the surface of all that Jesus has done on our behalf.

 Through Jesus' work of redemption, all our sins were paid for. In other words, there is nothing left for us to do concerning our sins. Think of it, if sins can only be forgiven by the shedding of blood, what else could we possibly do to contribute to ensuring our sins are forgiven? 

Do we need to confess our sins? 

 Perhaps we may still be thinking there must be something we must do whenever we sin in order to receive forgiveness for that sin. That may sound rational and reasonable. We must, however, yield to the final authority of Scripture and see what it says. 

then he says, · “Their sins and · their lawless acts I will never again remember.” Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:17-18 MOUNCE 

 God has declared something to be true. He has declared something to be finished. He has stated truly and eternally that forgiveness is a completed work. 

 Take note that He said, not man, not denominational creed, not the "Grace Message", not a Grace preacher, He said that nothing can be added to His completed work. Once there is forgiveness for all these sins and lawless deeds, there is nothing to be added. That means our sacrifices are adding to the work of Jesus.

 We may think when we sin we must therefore offer a confession of our sins in order to receive forgiveness for the sins we have committed. We may feel compelled to offer some form of sacrifice for our unlawful deeds. We may feel the need to apologize or confess, because of a sense of guilt and shame on our part.

 Some of this compulsion stems from a misapplied and misunderstood interpretation of 1 John 1:9. We can see 1 John in context here. Look at the famous verse. 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NKJV

 These few isolated passages in 1 John may appear to be teaching that we break fellowship with God whenever we sin. It appears that it is telling believers whenever they sin they must offer a sacrifice of confession in order to be forgiven of all sin. It also may appear to reveal we are forgiven judicially but not familial.  

 Rest assured when seen in the full context of the entire Epistle these concerns are readily cleared up. Again stay with the final authority of the Word

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 NLT

 I believe God knows what He was saying. Grace was revealed in and through the work of Jesus. Why do we think we can improve on it? 

 God's Word isn't contradictory. He declared in Hebrews 10, where there is forgiveness of sins, the work is complete and there is no more offering for sin. He then declared that only through the shedding of blood is forgiveness received. So why would we add a separate or private interpretation to 1 John 1:9?

 Believing that we must confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness, would counter what God already declared about our sins. John wrote his Epistle years after Hebrews was written. John would have known what was written in the Word before he penned his Epistle.

 What then is John talking about? John was addressing a segment of unbelievers that were corrupting the Gospel message. They were of a sect called Gnostics. They were a mind science type of religion. They concluded all things natural are evil.

 They, therefore, rejected the notion Jesus came to earth as a physical man. They also thus concluded that sin isn't a reality because life is more realized on the spiritual plane not the natural. Therefore they would say they are without sin. If one is without sin why does he need a Savior?

 With that understanding, look at the passages again. Look at the first chapter and you will see John dismantling the heresy of Gnosticism. When he mention confession of sin, he was telling them by acknowledging their sin they could receive the once for all forgiveness of sins and the gift of Righteousness as the believers had. 

 John is not instructing us to confess or speak out to God each and every time we sin in order to receive forgiveness. How can we get more forgiven? We need to cease finding ways to add to Jesus' work and trust in Christ alone.

 What must we do when we sin? Thank God for Jesus. Thank God for having paid the price in full. Agree with God that our sins are already forgiven because of Jesus' shed blood. Confess our Righteousness in Christ. The price is paid in full.

 In summation, as we discover Grace we see just how amazing God is. We are discovering how forgiven we are. We are discovering we can't add to His work, we can't add to His blood. We need not confess or say we sinned aloud every time we blow it. We can rest in His work that we are forgiven. Keep discovering Grace, and we will find the answers to the other questions soon enough. 


Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net