Thursday, March 25, 2010

You are perfect because of ONE offering

Hebrews 10:14 - "For by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified."

Wow. If you've accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior does God view you as perfect? Yes. And for how long? Forever.

Re-read that and let it sink in.

Now the Bible says you are sanctified (past tense). I used to preach that "Yes, you've been justified, but now you have to be sanctified." In other words, you were saved by grace; now you have to do things to maintain your salvation, or at least keep your holiness. This usually meant spending a certain amount of time per day with God or not watching bad movies.

"Well Aaron, doesn't the Bible say without holiness no one can see the Lord?" Yes, so praise God that Jesus made me holy, and I am staying holy because Jesus is seated at the Father's right hand.

So am I sanctified right now? Or is it a process? Again, I used to think it was a process.

But let's look at 2 Corinthians 6:9:

"Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you ARE washed, but you ARE sanctified, but you ARE justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Because of one offering, one sacrifice, we have been made perfect forever. Don't ever let the devil lie to you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do you have to confess your sins IN ORDER to be forgiven?

Do you believe this?

Confess each sin in order to be forgiven. Confess each sin in order to be forgiven. Notice the words in order to be.

If you truly believe this, then what you are saying is your forgiveness of sins is based on your confession of sins.

But what does the Bible say forgiveness of sins is based on?

Ephesians 1:7: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace"

So not according to the confession of our sins, but according to the riches of His grace. The day you can measure the riches of His grace is the day you'll realize how much you've been forgiven.

Also notice how forgiveness of sins is something we already have, not something we are trying to get.

What is the fruit of knowing you are forgiven much? Jesus says in Luke 7 that the woman who poured oil on his feet knows she was forgiven much, so she will love much. The reason why we love little is because we think we are only forgiven little, only up until the very next sin we commit (like the Pharisee in the above story).

It is no longer like the Old Covenant, where we went from clean (righteous), dirty (unrighteous), clean, dirty, clean, dirty. No, today in the New Covenant we are always clean. The blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing you from any and every sin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's nearly-too-good-to-be-true!

If you want to confess your sins to God, you are free to. I just want to ask if there is a better way of relating to God, or is that way an Old Covenant approach to God and is the New Covenant a lot better than that? If it makes you feel better to confess your sins to God, if it reminds you that you're forgiven and how good He is, then you're free to do it. But don't do it out of a begging, pleading mode for Him to forgive you and make you clean again. I believe that is an insult to Jesus' sacrifice, because it's saying that the shedding of His blood alone was not enough for the forgiveness of sins.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Does sin break fellowship with God?

When Jesus died on the cross, did he pay for the consequences of sin?

Was it paid in full? Did He pay it all?

If he did, does all include broken fellowship with the Father?

Yes, of course it does. Jesus paid for broken fellowship.

If you still think it does, ask yourself:

What is it that breaks your fellowship with God? Is it sin?

If your sins caused you to be out of fellowship with God, what then keeps you in fellowship with God?

Not sinning?

How much of your life can you live not sinning?

Two hours?

So, how much of your life would you be in fellowship with God?

Not very long, huh? This is not good news. Sin does not break fellowship with God. Because the wages of sin is not broken fellowship. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So if God were to deal with you according to your sin, what would He have to do to when you sinned?

"Aaaah that's even worst news!"

But here's the good news. At the cross, Christ paid for our sins "once for all." (1 Peter 3:18). The Law demanded sin to be punished by death. So Christ came and being our representative - paid the penalty of sin, which is death; so that we could have His life in us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ. You have that life in you right now. Eat on that truth and enjoy the fruit it bears in your life.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

According to Him!

I heard a song on the radio that really spoke to me. Click here (ctrl+click to open in new window) and let it play it while reading the note.

According to you
I'm stupid,
I'm useless,
I can't do anything right.
According to you
I'm difficult,
hard to please,
forever changing my mind.
I'm a mess in a dress,
can't show up on time,
even if it would save my life.
According to you. According to you.

But according to him
I'm beautiful,
he can't get me out of his head.
According to him
I'm funny,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don't feel like stopping it,
so baby tell me what I got to lose.
He's into me for everything I'm not,
according to you.

-Lyrics to “According to You” by Orianthi

I don't think Orianthi intended this, but she sets up a perfect analogy of Law and Grace. In Romans 7:1-4, Apostle Paul talks about being married to Mr. Law and Mr. Grace.

When we were born into this world, we were born married to Mr. Law. Mr. Law is mean. He will point out your faults, condemn you, tell you you have to be a better Christian. He'll tell you
you’re stupid,
and can’t do anything right. That you’re difficult, hard to please, a mess in a dress and can’t show up on time! And no matter how much you clean the house, it's never clean enough!

Today, we are no longer married to Mr. Law. Jesus has come to fulfill the Law on our behalf, and once it is fulfilled – it is obsolete. When I fulfill my contractual obligations to the bank, I am no longer making payments. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it – and because He fulfilled it, it’s gone! Done! The Law has no place in the life of a believer. Romans 10:3 says when you come to Christ, you come to the end of the Law. Romans 7:6 says “we have been delivered from the Law.”

Now as believers, we are married to Mr. Grace. His name is Jesus. And Jesus will never point out your faults. He will never condemn you. He is always gracious, always a gentleman, totally into you, helpful, always there for you, doesn’t hold your sin against you and always believes the best of you.

And according to Him,

you’re beautiful,
He can’t get you out of His head.
You’re funny,
irresistible, and
everything He ever wanted.

Who would've thought that a bitter breakup song could be such an encouragement to me? :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What does it mean to be a "slave of righteousness"? (Romans 6)

Someone wanted to know on Facebook, I thought I'd copy and paste what I wrote here:

To be a "slave of righteousness" means that even when you sin you're a slave man, you're still righteous, no matter what bad things you do! I know that scares people, but don't worry about the effect it'll have on people if they believe this, because right believing will always lead to right living.

When you were a sinner did you do righteous acts? Yes, but it didn't change your standing with God. You were still a sinner! You were still in the prison of sin even though you did good things. No matter what righteous things you did, you were a "slave of sin."

Now look at the flip side. As a righteous person, you are now a "slave of righteousness." A prisoner of righteousness! Even when you sin, you are still RIGHTEOUS! You're a SLAVE of righteousness now! Sorry slave! hehehe.

When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, its nature changes. Even if the butterfly falls into the dirt like a worm, it doesn't "un-butterfly" and become a worm again. Eventually, the butterfly will want to fly out of the dirt anyway because it's not his nature to be in the dirt. I think you see where I'm going with that analogy. "

Adam put us in the prison of sin. The Last Adam, Jesus Christ, put us in the prison of righteousness! Too good news!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

He gave you His Righteousness

Matthew 6:33 says,

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I’ve heard this verse a thousand times and I completely missed the “His righteousness” part. Small wonder the enemy kept me blinded, because once I started studying His righteousness two years ago, I feel like I’ve grown in my walk during this period than I have in the past twenty. 

A revelation of His righteousness given to us is the nearly-too-good-to-be true news.

Many think righteousness is behaving right and doing right things. They think it’s living holy, reading your 4 chapters a day and going to church a lot. I used to think that you can grow in your righteousness, that there were different levels of it and you had to do good things to become more and more righteous.

I understood that we didn’t get saved by good works, but I figured that now I’m already saved, God is expecting more from me and I have to do my part to maintain my salvation and stay righteous. I find that all Christians are established that good works can’t save you, but millions have fallen into the above mentality, which is completely false.

“But Aaron, doesn’t the Bible say ‘work out your own salvation’?”

Yes, thank you anonymous voice. It says “work out your own salvation,” not “work for.” And the very next verse says, “for it is God who works in you…” He is doing the work, giving you the grace to do it – and then rewards you for using that grace.

The New Covenant righteousness for you and I today is not about right doing. It’s about who you are. It is right being. It is a gift from God. It is His very own righteousness He has given to you apart from your good works!

See it for yourself in Romans 5:17, 4:6,

Much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. 

Once you get a revelation of this, it’ll deliver you from that performance mentality of always wondering if you’re good enough for God.

What is righteousness? It is “right standing with God.” It is the ability to stand before God without a sense of guilt or inferiority. In the Old Covenant under law, righteousness (get it by works) was something that God demanded from man. In the New Covenant under grace, righteousness (get it by faith) is given to man. 

Law demands, Grace gives. One is from the outside trying to get in, the other is from the inside out. Righteousness was given to you when you got saved, it is not something you earned - righteousness is a gift.

Do you know what a gift is? A gift is a gift is a gift. No strings attached. It is free, just receive it. Imagine you gave your friend a gift for his birthday, and he says, “How much do I owe you?” How would that make you feel? 

Or what if he gave you half of a gift and said you had to earn the other half? What kind of gift is that? In the same way, we’ve done that with salvation. We’ve told people, “Yes, you’re saved by grace. But now you have to prove it by holy conduct, long prayers and Bible study attendance.”

How is this different from other religions? A Muslim can say, “I’m right with God because I fought jihad and read the Qur’an.” A Buddhist can say, “I shaved my head and took a vow of poverty.” And if a Christian said, “ I’m right with God because I read my Bible and pray everyday,” then it’d be all the same – they’d all be trusting in their own works.

But a Christian who knows the nearly-too-good-to-be true news that is the Gospel of the grace of God will say “Hey, I needed a Savior so Christ died for me – it’s nothing I did, but what Jesus did.” When we get to heaven, we’re not going to be shouting, “Worthy is the Lamb!.... oh, and me too!”

Good works are important, but don’t trust in your good works to get favor from God. There was a time in my life for one year straight I was in church 13 hours a week, that’s 676 hours. But I can’t go to God and say, “Lord, because I spent all this time at church, you should answer my prayers and I get more of your approval.”

I don’t deal with God based on what I deserve, in myself. It’s like when you’re browsing an album on Facebook and a girl comments, “This picture doesn’t do me justice.” I feel like typing, “Girl, you don’t need justice - you need mercy!” Trust me, you don’t want what you deserve. It’s a self-righteous attitude.

Do you want to know how God sees self-righteousness?

Isaiah 64:6 states,

All our righteousness are as filthy rags

I looked up the word “filthy” there in the original Hebrew, and you know what it says? Menstruation. The English translators chickened out! All our righteousness are like menstrual clothes. Anybody want a used tampon?

Ew. I just gagged.

So is there any hope for us, really?  Yes, His righteousness!

2 Corinthians 5:21,

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.

How did we become right? Was it because we did right? No, it says we were made right.

This might be hard to understand, because we know that we didn’t do right to deserve His righteousness. How can I be righteous without doing anything right? How can I be righteous apart from my performance?

I submit then, that you must also ask yourself this: How did Jesus become sin apart from His performance? How can Jesus become sin without doing anything wrong?

Did Jesus sin? No. But did He become sin? Yes. Did we do anything right? No. But did we become righteous? Yes! I don’t know how Jesus received my sin, but He did. In the same way, I don’t know how I received His righteousness, but I did.

I got good that I didn’t deserve, because Christ got bad that He didn’t deserve. That’s unfairly good but that’s grace. It is God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense.

God made Jesus sin at the cross, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him - so that we can have right standing with God in Him. Not in ourselves. In ourselves are used tampons. But in Christ! It is His righteousness. That is why whenever you read the Bible and you see, “in Christ” you can say “that’s me!”

At the cross Jesus carried all of our sin. We don’t carry each other’s sins, we only carry our own sin, and our sins are making us miserable. But Jesus carried all of mankind’s sin, every person that ever lived. And even the mere thought of it made Him literally sweat blood.

All of God’s wrath came on His Son that day. But it wasn’t because Jesus sinned, it was because he received our sin. It was our punishment that Jesus took. When Jesus hung 6 hours suspended between heaven and earth – heaven didn’t want Him, earth didn’t want Him - did God not treat Him like He was the world’s worst person? Like he was the world’s worst sinner? Even the sun stopped shining on Him.

If God treated Jesus like that having received our sin, how much more you, beloved, having received His righteousness - can you expect to be treated like you are the world’s best person to God? Like you kept every one of God’s commandments? And now you can expect heaven to shine on you, because it didn't on Jesus.

“Well Aaron, it says made righteous. That means after we get to heaven.” Well, do people become sinners after they go to hell? No, so people don’t become righteous after they go to heaven. In fact, they ain’t getting to heaven unless they are righteous. You were born a sinner, but when you received Christ you got born-again righteous.

We were not sinners because of our sinful actions – we were born into sin. We inherited a sinful nature. That is why we sinned, because of our sinful nature. We inherited it from Adam. It seems unfair but that’s just how life is. If your grandpa drowned you wouldn’t be here today (think about it).

Romans 5:19 says it like this,

For as by one man’s [Adam] disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s [Jesus] obedience many will be made righteous.

We all know we were born sinners. Religion does a great job of telling us that. But let’s be honest with ourselves. If we can accept the fact that we were once made sinners, we must accept the truth that we are now made righteous! 

With the same faith you had to believe you were a sinner, use that same faith to know that you now have a righteous nature. At least give God that same respect.

Your sinful nature is gone. You’re not a sinner saved by grace. You were a sinner, then you got saved by grace, and now you’re the righteousness of God in Christ. Now you have the ability to stand before God without a sense of guilt or inferiority. That’s righteousness.

Before you were born again, there was nothing you could do to change your sinful nature. You could give a one time gift of $30 billion to charity like Warren Buffet did, but your good works still couldn’t change your sinful nature. It still couldn’t get you to heaven.

On the flip side, after you received Christ and now have a new nature, those occasional acts of sin you commit won’t change your righteous nature.

You looked like I just slapped you. “You mean I can just go and kill someone and still be righteous?!” Let me ask you, do you want to kill someone? After knowing how Daddy God gave up His only son Jesus for you so you can be reconciled to Him? 

Your new righteous, holy nature you received will change your “want to.” I understand that you’re still dealing with your flesh. Paul talks about that struggle in Romans 7. But he mentions three times his “want to” is to do good and right.

Most people think sin will stop God’s grace. So sin is greater than grace? What they’re saying, in essence, is Adam’s work was more powerful than Christ’s finished work. But the Bible uses the phrase “much more” four times in Romans 5 concerning Christ’s finished work bringing superabundant life over Adam’s work that brought death. They have more faith in their ability to sin than in the blood’s cleansing power.

Stop flattering sin. It won’t win. You don’t got enough sin in you to sin out God’s grace. If God’s mercy could’ve run out in your life it would already have.

And when you mess up, don’t beat yourself up. Christ already took the beating for you. When you miss your flight at the airport and the clerk asks, “The next flight leaves in 30 minutes, want me to book you?” You don’t say, “Hold on… I have to think about how I blew it for 45 minutes.” No, get on the flight!

In Christ, we have become a new creation, and our old sinful nature has passed away. When a worm becomes a butterfly, it no longer wants to hang around in the dirt. It used to enjoy the dirt. Even as a butterfly it may fall into the dirt at times, but it will not “un-butterfly” and turn back into a worm. Eventually, it’ll get sick of the dirt and start to fly again.

Some people are scared that if you tell the church they’re righteous apart from works they’ll go out and sin more. They have more faith in the people’s flesh than they do in the power of the Holy Spirit to change them with the Word. 

But the Bible says, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (1 Cor. 15:34) The more you awake to this truth that you are righteous, the more you’ll start to act like so.

Romans 1:16-17 says to know you are righteous it must be by faith,

For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

It’s not from faith to works, but faith to faith. You don’t get to a point where you’re so “mature” that you go from faith to works now. It is about right believing. 

And don’t worry about right doing, right doing will come out of right believing. Right doing is a by-product of a relationship with God, not a means to obtain it.

We didn’t do anything to become right, but we now have His righteousness. Our part is putting faith in what Jesus did, the Last Adam. Read the book of Romans and see for yourself how many times it says “justified by faith.” (Hey! Did you seriously just google “romans justified by faith”?)

Why does God want it by faith? Because sometimes, child of God, you’ll have thoughts and actions that are contrary to your righteous nature. But that is the time you must stand up and say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.”

This new righteous nature happened in your spirit, the real you - the part God relates to. Our bodies didn’t change when we got saved. If you had dandruff before you got saved, you still got dandruff after. You have a mind that must be renewed in the Word (Romans 12:2). But your spirit is as righteous as Billy Graham. In fact – it’s as righteous as Jesus (read slowly: “righteousness of God in Christ”).

I’m not saying that we have become Christ and can be worshipped now. What I am saying is that we are joined to Him. We are in Christ. And when God sees you, He doesn’t see what you used to be - He sees Jesus.

Perhaps this would be easier to understand by looking at the Old Testament. If you don't understand this part then you won't know why Jesus came.

In the OT, when somebody sins, they would have to find a lamb as a sacrifice for their sin. But not just any lamb. The lamb needed to be clean, spotless and without blemish.

The sinner would then take the lamb and bring it to the High Priest, who represents God to the people. When the High Priest sees the sinner coming to Him, he’s not looking at the sinner. He already knows why the sinner came - it’s obvious: he sinned. However, what he is looking at is the lamb.

When you come to God, He is not looking at all your faults. He is looking at the Lamb. You represent the sinner, the offeror. But He is not looking at the offeror. He is looking at the offering.

Who is the offering? Who is the lamb? Jesus is the Lamb! When John the Baptist first saw Jesus from afar, he shouted, “Lamb of God! Who takes away the sin of the world!”

The High Priest examines the lamb to see if there is any blemish, and makes sure the lamb is perfect. Then the sinner lays his hands on the lamb. At this moment, all of his sins get transferred to the innocent lamb. Simultaneously, all the purity, innocence and righteousness of the lamb is transferred to the sinner.

Because the lamb received sin, it must die. The High Priest slaughters the innocent lamb, and the offering is burnt. It goes up to God as a sweet-smelling aroma, because it reminds Him of His Son's sacrifice that brought you near.

As the offeror walks away, he doesn’t walk away sin-conscious, expecting punishment. He walks away expecting only the best, because all the goodness and righteousness of the lamb is now his. And when he looks back at the altar, he knows that should have been his death.

Jesus is always referred to as a Shepherd, and we as the sheep. But in the sacrificial context, He is known as the lamb.


Because He took your place. And to honor His sacrifice, I am not ashamed to say that I am the righteousness of God in Christ.

And so are you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Condemnation and Complete Forgiveness

Romans 8:1 says,

There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

Growing up in church, I quoted this verse nonchalantly.  It’s one of those verses I heard and was like, “Yea, that’s nice.”  Now it’s more than nice, it’s the good news.  It’ll make you win the devil’s condemnation game every time.

How much condemnation is left for you today?  A little?  There is none.  And how about when you read this verse tomorrow?  There is now no condemnation.  The word now means now.  It applies today, next week and forever.  So why are you still condemning yourself?

What is condemnation?  For a building inspector to condemn a building, it means the building didn’t meet the requirements.  It is unfit for use and must be demolished.  Condemnation is a sense of guilt really, with an expectation of punishment.  It’s making yourself feel bad about what you did.  Condemnation has been around since the beginning.  Adam hid himself from God because he felt condemned. 

After you fail, the devil loves to condemn you.  Imagine a court scene.  In the book of Revelation, the devil is called the accuser of the brethren.  He’ll remind you of that sin you did back in 2006 or this morning.  He’ll play the tape over and over again to you. 

His accusations sound like this: “You think you’re a Christian?  You wouldn’t have done that if you really were.  And then you repeat what he says.  So he goes to God the Judge and says, “Your Honor, you said we can have what we say.  And you also said when two or more agree on earth they can have – and I agree with him!”  Sneaky snake satan is. 

But then your lawyer steps up.  Who is that?  Jesus Christ. 

1 John 2:1 states,

And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

An advocate acts as a lawyer. And then you look at the judge.  Who is the judge?  Your heavenly Father!  Man, you got it pretty good already!  But it’s not because you got the inside hookup that you’re going to win this case.  No, God is a just God.  But this justice is on your side.  Here’s why:

The judge looks at the lawyer.  He looks at Jesus, and He sees the holes in his hands.         

That’s it!  What do you do now?  Do you plead the fifth?  No, you plead the blood! 

“Not guilty,” says the Judge.  “But wait, I have the tape!” says the devil.  Then he plays it.  And it’s blank!  The blood of Jesus didn’t cover your sins, it washed them all away! 

There is therefore now no condemnation because Jesus took all the condemnation at the cross.  All the judgment from God was put on Him.  And because it was put on Him, it can no longer be on you.

It’s that simple really.  God cannot punish the same crime twice – once in the body of Jesus my Substitute, and again in my life.  All the punishment for your sin was on Jesus.  It was our sin that held him to the cross.  And God punished Jesus with our sin, so therefore our sin has already been condemned.

Isaiah 53:6, 11 explains,

And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity [punishment] of us all… My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities

If you ever hear someone say, “9/11 happened because God is punishing America for their sin!” that is not true.  God already punished every ounce of sin on the body of Jesus.  Or maybe you heard “If God doesn’t punish Las Vegas, he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology!”  If that’s true then He owes Jesus an apology, because that’d be saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.    

You don’t pay for the same speeding ticket twice.  If a judge demanded payment twice for the same ticket he would be unjust.  It’s called double jeopardy.  But God is just, and now His justice is on your side.  He is for you, not against you. You know who is unjust though?  The devil.  He’ll make sure you feel condemned and carry around your sin.

But the devil has no legal right.  Jesus already suffered for your sin.  So for us to walk around condemning ourselves and suffering for our sin is telling Jesus that He didn’t do a good enough job on the cross.  It’s saying His finished work wasn’t complete, that He needs my penance and my confession plus his blood.  The truth is, it’s the blood alone that saves.

Hebrews 9:26, 10:11-12; 14 proves this,

He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God

I’ve played this game before.  I’d fall into sin, and then wait a couple days until the guilt wore off before I go to God.  Of course, depending on how bad the sin was, it may even be longer.  For the “not-so-bad” sins, I’d wait until the next morning to confess it, because that’s “when his mercy is renewed.” 

Without knowing it, I was trying to earn right standing with God.  I was trying to be made right with God by taking the guilt I thought I deserved (a form of penance really), so I was trusting in what I did (my own righteousness, and not His).

Romans 10:3 talks about this condition,

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. 

I thought, “Okay, I’ve suffered enough.  I can go ask for forgiveness now.”  Or I would commit all my sins for the day and compile them so I would only need to ask Him once.  I thought, “well I could do this sin and whoa! I’m already in the middle of it - I might as well go all the way.  I guess at the end of the day I can just ask for forgiveness.  It’d be more efficient that way.” (see why I’m a Business major?)  By me asking for forgiveness, then I could be “cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)” and become righteous again. 

I didn’t realize that I had already been forgiven of all my sins - past, present and even two months from now.  God saw the sins of my entire life and laid them on Jesus, including my future sins.  They were all judged at the cross!

I know I probably rocked your theology with the future sins comment.  “How can you say your future sins have been forgiven?!”  Well, your future sins better have been forgiven because Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, before you even did your first sin.  Unless of course, you’ve been around for more than 2,000 years.

Well what about 1 John 1:9? 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

That chapter, 1 John 1, was written to unbelievers, the Gnostics (as well as believers who were listening to the Gnostics). Notice the words “all unrighteousness.”  You can only receive the gift of righteousness once, when you got born again.  You’re either entirely righteous or entirely not. 

Why would a Christian who is righteous by the blood have to become re-righteous again and again whenever they sin?  Under the Old Covenant, the blood of bulls and goats could atone for an entire year.  So is the perfect Son of God, Jesus, His blood only good until the minute we sin?  No, Jesus’ blood and His sacrifice is infinitely more powerful than animal’s blood and their sacrifice. 

In context, 1 John 1:8-9 is presenting two scenarios.  1:8 is talking about unbelievers who say they have no sin, therefore not admitting a need for a  Savior.  1:9 is talking about unbelievers who confess their sins, therefore admitting the need for a Savior.  If they confess they are cleansed from all unrighteousness, which now makes them righteous before God (they just got born again here).  We’ve built an entire doctrine out of one verse while so many other verses in the NT say we’ve been forgiven of all our sins.

To think that you have to confess your sins in order to be forgiven will make you go nearly insane.  Do you really think you can keep track of and confess every sin?  Or maybe it’s just the sins you know about.  Yes, that’s it.  It was the sin of commission.  But what about the sin you don’t know about?  Oh yes, yes - the sin of omission.  Or what about the sin your ancestors gave you?  Oh yea, yea the sin of transmission, generational curses.  You’ll go nuts.

People think that once you get born again, up to that point you have been forgiven of all your past sins.  If you sin after, that sin goes to your sin account.  When you confess that sin and seek forgiveness your account is cleared until your next sin.  When you confess it right away it is a “short account.” And don’t wait too long now or else if you get into a car accident with unconfessed sin you’ll go to hell, or your prayers won’t be answered during this period.  If you wait too long you’re keeping “a long account” with God.  You’re supposed to keep short accounts. 

Listen up beloved, the good news is you don’t have a sin account anymore.  The sin account has been paid in full!  Jesus paid it all and it is finished!

Hallelujah!  I’m typing myself happy!

Romans 4:8 declares,

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.

Impute means to put on your account, or to credit to.  Does the man in the verse above sin?  Yes, otherwise there’d be no reason to have sin credited to his account.  But God will not credit sin to your account, because Jesus’ finished work closed the account!  In the Old Covenant, He did credit sin.  But in the New Covenant, which is barely taught, He promises in Hebrews 10:17,

Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

Once upon a time God did remember your sin.  And he didn’t just shrug it off, sweep it under the rug and say “it’s okay, I’m merciful.”  If Judge Judy did that today she’d be off-the-air.  No, God righteously judged all of it at the cross in the body of Jesus, and you now have no debt anymore.  He is not counting your sins against you.  His justice is on your side. 

“But Aaron, didn’t Jesus say you must forgive, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you?  And did He not also say ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?’ ”

Yes, He did.  But you have to understand that this was all before the cross.  Everything you read in the Bible, you have to filter it through the cross.  The cross will either keep it, delete it or revise it.  So after the cross Scripture says "be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” and “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”  Colossians 2:13: “having forgiven us all our trespasses.” 

Stop taking guilt-trips.  If you messed up, know that you can always go to God without feeling condemned because you are already forgiven.  Take responsibility and admit it, repent (which in the Greek literally means change your mind) about that sin, and confess it (meaning to agree with what He said about that sin).  What did He say about it?   He said it is forgiven, that He is not counting that sin against you - and that you and Him are still tight.

You’re not “out of fellowship” or “separated” from God after you fail.  God wasn’t with you in the first place because of your good behavior.  It was Jesus’ behavior at the cross that qualified you.  It’s realizing that you’re not separated that will keep you.  To know that you’re not condemned first will free you from this vicious cycle of sin. 

“But Aaron, if you tell people they’re not condemned, they’ll sin like crazy!” 

Oh yea?  Think they’ll go on a $500 sinning spree?  Will the church youth camps turn into a “Girls Gone Wild” video?  No, the truth is people are already going crazy because they think they’re condemned. They don’t know how much they’ve been forgiven.  And Jesus says, those who know that they are forgiven much, will love much (Luke 7:47)!  And when they love much, they don’t have to worry about keeping a list of “thou shalt nots.” It’s an automatic because it’s a relationship.

I’m not advocating sin.  There is no condemnation from God, but God isn’t the only one you’re dealing with here on earth.  You can’t show up late to work everyday and then tell your boss “well, there’s no condemnation.”  He’ll greet you with a cardboard box to go clean your office!  You’re still dealing with people, that “they may see your good works, and glorify God.”  If you sin it’ll ruin your testimony and open doors for the devil to eat your lunch. Although God doesn’t punish you for your sin, you may be punished by your sin as it runs its natural course (thank God there is still mercy though).    

How about the Master?  How did Jesus handle condemnation?  What Would Jesus Do?  Or even better, Watch What Jesus Did.  What Would Jesus Do can be filtered by one’s wrong tradition and opinion.  Instead, how about we Watch What Jesus Did – in the Bible.

John 8 tells us a story about a woman who was no doubt “caught in adultery, in the very act.”  The religious leaders dragged her to Jesus and gave him a multiple choice question based on the Law of Moses.  A.) Stone her. B.) Don’t stone her.  It was a trap.  They could accuse him both ways if he picks either answer.

But Jesus was cool (oh, He is so cool!), and He just stooped down and wrote on the stony ground, like He didn’t hear them.  You don’t always have to give an answer to the devil’s accusations.  You can just be so involved with how much God loves you that you don’t have time to listen to the snake.  But the Pharisees persisted, and he kept writing on the stones with his finger.  He was probably thinking, “Um, you really wanna quote the Law to me?  I was the one who wrote it.”

You know the story.  Jesus came up with the answer C.) He who is without sin throw the first stone.  Wow, only the Holy Spirit can think of an answer like this!  So they all left, from the oldest to youngest (I guess the older ones had more sin on their mind, so they left first).

After the dust cleared, it was just Jesus and the girl.  She probably had a stitch of clothing on - kicked, spat on, bruised and in tears.  She probably felt extremely ashamed, and saw herself as the filthiest, dirtiest no good whore.  And Jesus, the only one qualified to cast the first stone, looked at her and said:

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?      

“No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her,

Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” 

Beloved, when you know God isn’t mad at you, that He’s not condemning you – you will go and sin no more.  The power to sin no more is found first in receiving no condemnation.  You don’t have to clean up your act before you go to Jesus.  You don’t have to learn how to be warm before you go to the fire.

You can always go to Him.  His blood has made you clean.  Truly, there is therefore now no condemnation in Christ.