I used to believe some twisted ideas about God’s forgiveness. Maybe you can relate to some or all of them. 1. There is forgiveness that gets you into heaven and another that keeps you in fellowship with God. 2. God will not forgive you if you don’t forgive. 3. You have to show God how sorry you are before He will forgive you when you sin. 4. We need to ask God for forgiveness every time we sin. Let’s untwist these with God’s truth.
When you place your faith in Jesus Christ, you never need to try to get more of His forgiveness. You already have all the forgiveness you will ever need for every sin before you ever commit it! The Bible makes this truth quite clear. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. In addition to the complete forgiveness you have in Christ, you are already holy and blameless before God, as well as adopted sons and daughters. These, too, are great blessings we already have in Christ.
“He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given”. (Eph. 1:4–6)
Don’t miss the point that you already have all these blessings, including the blessing of complete forgiveness. Where is your forgiveness found? In Christ! Where are you today? In Christ! This means each time you sin, whether or not you know you have sinned, you are in Christ, surrounded by all the forgiveness you will ever need and already possess. Colossians 2:13–14 states this amazing truth in a different way.
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
Do you see the point God is making? God forgave you for all of your sins. Not just the past ones before your salvation, but also the present ones and even the future sins. Do you wonder how He could forgive your future sins when you haven’t even committed them yet? Well, weren’t they all in the future when Jesus died on the cross?
Colossians 2:14 goes on to tell us that God canceled the legal debt we owed Him. This debt is what condemned you as guilty and worthy of death and hell. This legal debt is your list of all the sins you will ever commit from the time you are born to the time you die. That great number of sins has been nailed to the cross of Jesus! When He cried out, “It is finished!” and then died, that debt was completely removed forever.
If you still aren’t convinced that you are 100 percent forgiven for your sins—past, present and future—let’s look at Hebrews 10:17–18: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”
First, we are so forgiven that God doesn’t remember our sins. The death of Jesus has taken care of each one. Second, He’s telling us that once we have complete forgiveness through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, no other sacrifice is needed. To the Jews, this would have been difficult to believe. They had been going to the temple for thousands of years to present sacrifices for their sins. Similarly, it’s difficult for Christians today to believe God has forgiven them for their present and future sins, but we have!
You may be wondering about Jesus’s teaching that God will not forgive us if we don’t forgive. That was spoken to Jewish people under the law before the cross. Others may be thinking of 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” John was warning about false teachers who believed they were sinless and had never sinned. Only by admitting they had sinned could they be saved. While it can be good to tell God when we have sinned, it’s not necessary to get us more forgiveness.
Because you are in Christ, you can be at peace every day. There will never be a nanosecond when you are not forgiven!