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Forgiveness: Are the sins of everyone forgiven?

Gary Googe Jul 07

The proof of God’s love for all mankind is clearly seen in what God did in Christ at the cross of Calvary.  There has never been a greater expression of love.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]

What an amazing expression of grace this is! God sent His Son into the world to do something for us we did not deserve.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [Emphasis added]

Even though we are all sinners, Jesus Christ came into the world not to condemn, but to provide a way of salvation for us.

John 3:17

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [Emphasis added]

This means salvation is potential, a possibility for anyone.  The proof of God’s love for us is seen in Him giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus Christ took the sins of the world upon Himself and paid the ultimate price by giving His own life for us.  This is spoken of in Scripture as redemption.  Christ did a work of redemption for each of us.  His work can be accepted [received] or rejected, but what He did for us cannot be undone by our unbelief or anything else.  What Christ did on the cross was to provide forgiveness of the world’s sins by His death.  That’s subtraction! Sins were taken away or removed from the situation.  When a person accepts this or is receptive to what He did for them, the righteousness of God is applied to them.  That’s addition! Scripture calls this justification.  When we tell people about all this that God has done for them through Christ, they can either accept it or reject it.  Our job is simply to communicate accurate information that opens their eyes to what God did for them through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 26:18

18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. [Emphasis added]

Sometimes people are confused about the meaning of this verse.  It is not telling us that it is at the point of our believing Christ died for us, that we are forgiven. God’s forgiveness was provided for us by what Christ did for us at the time of His crucifixion.  But salvation only comes to us at the point in time when we believe in what He did for us.  All this that Christ has done is at the heart of what is called the gospel, meaning good news.  This is certainly the best news any of us will ever hear.  God has fully addressed our sin problem with what Christ did for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.  To “receive forgiveness of sins” is simply for us to be receptive to the information about this wonderful work Christ has done.  The complete payment for our sins was made when Christ bore our sins.  Yes, Christ paid the full price that was due, fully satisfying the justice of God.  That is a historical reality! And He did this for everyone, regardless of whether or not they are receptive to this information.  Again, what Christ did to provide us all with forgiveness cannot be undone because of unbelief and rejection on our part.  The penalty was paid for our sins and God was fully satisfied with that payment whether we believe it or not.  But one must believe this truth to receive salvation!  This next passage of Scripture explains this.

I Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

What Christ did was not just for those who would believe it, but even for those who would not.  Again, Christ did what He did for all mankind.  Complete payment was made as an expression of God’s love and His grace.  He wanted everyone to have a chance to be saved.

I John 2:2

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]

Many times, there have been those who have given their lives for their country, for friends, family, and for all of us.  Whether people believe this or not is irrelevant to the fact of what occurred.  In this case, we find that Christ gave His life for His enemies.  Yes, what Christ did is a work of reconciliation that was done even for His enemies.  That includes everyone, for we as believers now were once His enemies.

Colossians 1:21

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. [Emphasis added]

Scripture makes this quite clear.

Romans 5:10

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. [Emphasis added]

This price was paid because God demands perfection for entrance into heaven.  We as sinners have violated His perfect standards.

Romans 3:23

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [Emphasis added]

Scripture also tells us of the penalty for our sin.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Emphasis added]

It was His complete payment for our sins that provided our forgiveness and made our justification for salvation possible.

Romans 3:24

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [Emphasis added]

And, again, Scripture tells us Christ did this work of reconciliation for the entire world of mankind.

II Corinthians 5:19a

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; [Emphasis added]

Instead of imputing [crediting] our sins to us, they were all imputed to Christ on the cross.  Not imputing them to us means our sins were not held against us.  They were held against Christ.  Christ bore our sins in His own body, and He did this for everyone who would ever live.  Is this not the forgiveness of sins? It is in the Apostle Paul’s writings that these things were revealed.

I Timothy 1:11 speaks of this as “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.”

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. [Emphasis added]

God has now commissioned all of us as believers to present this message to the world.  Yes, every believer has been given this commission.

II Corinthians 5:19

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word [or message] of reconciliation. [Emphasis added]

This is not a commission just for preachers and evangelists, but to all of us as believers.  We have been charged with the responsibility of communicating this gospel of Christ to others.  One reason it is said to be good news is that no personal works are required.  The salvation God offers comes to us by grace through faith in Christ alone.  Personal works of any kind have nothing to do with the attainment of it.

Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. [Emphasis added]

The reason our sins are not held against us is that they were all held against Christ at the cross.

II Corinthians 5:21

21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

The fact that God was going to do this was kept secret, “a mystery” in the mind of God, until He revealed it to us through the Apostle Paul.

Roman16:25

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]

None of the prophets wrote about this in a manner that it could be understood.  It was kept under a veil of secrecy.  Now, in hindsight, we see it in some of the words of the prophets.  But we couldn’t do this until the secret of it all was made known through the Apostle Paul’s writings.

Again, the reason God does not hold our sins against us is that they were all held against His Son at the cross.  It was there that He was made sin for us.  He bore all our sins in His own body.  It was while Christ was on that cross that He suffered the full wrath of God in our behalf.  It was then that the penalty for our sins was paid and our belief in that is irrelevant to what occurred.  The debt was paid! Yes, the sin debt of all mankind has now been completely paid through what Christ did on the cross.  It was on that cross that the just demands of God were completely satisfied through the payment Christ made.

I John 4:10

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [Emphasis added]

To propitiate means to satisfy.  In this case, Christ satisfied the just demands of God the Father.  He made the full payment due for the sins of all mankind.  The fact that no future payments for man’s sins would be necessary is stated by the writer of the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:26

26 For then [if future payments were necessary] must he [Christ] often have suffered since the foundation of the world [age]: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. [Emphasis added]

Yes, the sin problem for our salvation has been put away once and for all by what Christ accomplished on the cross.  There are other passages that speak of this.

Hebrew 1:3

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: [Emphasis added]

The fact that Christ was formally seated at the right hand of God demonstrates that God was completely satisfied with the payment Christ made for our sins.  That payment was made long before we ever had the opportunity to accept it or reject it.

If Christ had not accomplished His mission, His resurrection would not have occurred, let alone would He have been seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Since God has dealt with all our sins once and for all, sin is no longer an obstacle for man’s salvation.  The sin problem has been taken completely off the table of God’s justice.  Since God has put away our sins forever, it is not a matter of what man can do, but rather what God has done through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  The fact that God has done this through Christ makes this the greatest of all accomplishments for mankind.  Salvation is now readily available to all.  That is why this is called the gospel, meaning good news.

At the cross all the world’s sins were transferred to Christ where He paid the penalty due for them.  Now another transfer can take place when anyone accepts this truth.  If a person accepts Christ as their Savior, at that moment, the righteousness of God is transferred to the one believing it.

As it was in the Garden of Eden where man first sinned, God supplied a sacrifice for Adam and Eve’s transgression.  That was an animal sacrifice that depicted an innocent victim’s blood having been shed for or in place of the ones guilty.  However, being made as righteous as God was an entirely different matter.  When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately realized that they had not only a sin problem, but a righteousness problem that needed to be resolved.  They wrongly assumed they could solve all this by themselves by sewing fig leaves to cover their nakedness.  Every day and all over the world people try to cover their unrighteous condition.  They do all kinds of things to address their problem, but always come up short of succeeding.  In answer to their problem, the Bible tells us God provided a way. 

Genesis 3:21

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. [Emphasis added]

The slaying of the animal was one event.  The clothing of Adam and Eve with the skins of the animal was another event altogether.  Their attempt to clothe themselves had failed.  That’s how it is with all man’s works to solve his problem!  He seeks to “cover” it with his so-called works of righteousness.

In order for Adam and Eve to be made acceptable, God had to act and do something for them.  What God did began with the slaying of an animal without blemish, a sacrifice. This is a picture of Christ, the perfect sacrifice, dying for our sins.  That is now something that happened around two thousand years ago.  But there’s something else that was needed.  It was God Himself who had to clothe Adam and Eve with the skins of that animal.  This is a picture of the imputation of divine righteousness by God upon those who accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Nothing has changed since then.  If man is to be clothed with the righteousness of God, it is God who must do it.  Even though people try to provide this “clothing” for themselves, they always fail.  If this “clothing” of an individual is to be accomplished, it is something God must do.  The question that must be asked is to do with how man can gain this “clothing.” The answer to that is revealed in at least two passages of Scripture written by the Apostle Paul.  What do these passages say? Even though we’ve already looked at these passages, let’s look at them again.

I Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

The transfer of this clothing of righteousness that man needs is made plain.  The imputation of divine righteousness occurs when a person accepts Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for their salvation.

II Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [because they were imputed to Christ on the cross—He bore them in His body]; and hath committed unto us the word [or message] of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

This imputation of divine righteousness to us is called justification by faith.

Romans 3:28

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [Emphasis added]

When a person puts their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, God’s righteousness is credited to that person and he is then said to be justified.

Only those who believe this good news about what God provided through Christ are made right with God.  Upon believing it, it is God who provides the clothing of this righteousness.  It is provided completely without works or merit at the moment a person believes in what Christ has done through His death, burial, and resurrection.

We are told in Scripture that in our time this application of divine righteousness to the one believing happens through a dry baptism.  No water at all is involved in it.  Furthermore, nothing is felt, seen, or heard when it is administered.  It is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It is through this baptism that we are permanently identified with Christ and His righteousness.

I Corinthians 12:13

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]

It is then that we are “clothed” with the righteousness of Christ.

Galatians 3:27

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [Emphasis added]

It was through Christ’s work, not ours, that this was made possible.

Romans 3:24

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [Emphasis added]

It was through His work that the justice of God was satisfied (propitiated).

Romans 3:25

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [Emphasis added]

It is because of Christ’s work, not ours, that we are justified.

Romans 3:20

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [Emphasis added]

We have nothing to boast about in the provision of our salvation.

Romans 3:27

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law [or principle]? of works? Nay: but by the law [or principle] of faith. [Emphasis added]

Only by faith is justification provided.

Romans 3:28

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [Emphasis added]

Every believer is now permanently united with Jesus Christ.  What belongs to one belongs to all others in that intimate relationship.

Ephesians 5:31-32

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [Emphasis added]

It was God’s plan in eternity past to provide this for us today, even though it was not revealed until this knowledge was given to the Apostle Paul.  Everyone who believes in what Christ provided is given this.

Again, II Corinthians 5:21 address this.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

You are miraculously joined to Christ the moment you believe in what He did for you through His work, namely His death, burial, and resurrection.  That union can never be broken.  It is permanent! There is no sin on your part that will ever change it because those sins were all judged in Christ on the cross.  You can never commit a sin for which Christ was not judged.  Isn’t that wonderful!!! Always bear in mind that ALL your sins were in the future when He was judged and died for them on the cross.  The peace of reconciliation, as well as peace of mind, is an important part of the outcome of all this.

Romans 5:1

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

This whole matter of forgiveness of sins has been completely settled in the mind of God.  The penalty price for sin was paid, and the matter was settled at the cross of Christ.  It was then that forgiveness was provided.  That’s a matter of history.  It is also a matter of subtraction.  Your sins were taken off the table of God’s justice.  It now needs to become settled in our minds for reconciliation to come full circle.  God has once for all “put away sins.”  Because our sins were held against Christ, they can never be held against us.  God’s thinking on all this will never change.  The only minds that need to change are the millions of people who don’t believe this.  Our mission is to show them otherwise.  Our sins are forgiven—past, present, and future.  This provides the best of reasons for us to give our lives in service to Him and the communication of this important message, the message of God’s reconciliatory work in Jesus Christ.  When anyone accepts this message, their salvation is settled and sealed forever.

Ephesians 1:13

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Emphasis added]

The sealing of the believer with the Holy Spirit is like a down-payment or earnest promising even more blessing that will eventually come our way.

Ephesians 1:14

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. [Emphasis added]

Bear in mind that if you don’t accept His love and “meet” Christ now as your Savior, you’ll “meet” Him as your judge in eternity at what is called the Great White Throne Judgment.  It is there that the works you trusted as a substitute for His work of the cross and resurrection will be evaluated.  In every case, those works will be shown to be deficient.  Because you rejected God’s provision for your salvation and trusted in your own works instead, you will spend eternity in a place of torment called the Lake of Fire.  All those there in that lonely place of intense suffering will be there for the same basic reason—they of their own free will rejected the salvation God lovingly and  graciously offered them.  Instead of trusting in the one work Jesus Christ did for them, they trusted in their own works.  Those works will be judged and found to be unacceptable.

Revelation 20:11-15

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Please notice that it doesn’t say our sins will be judged.  That all happened at the cross of Christ.  This speaks of our “works” of righteousness.  In every case, they will be rejected as a basis for entrance into His eternal blessing.  I hope you won’t let this happen to you.  If you’ll put your faith in Christ’s work alone, it won’t!

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