Forgiveness and Confession
Most who oppose the “once for all” forgiveness message taught in Hebrews 7-10 do not actually take the time to understand the main point. Yes, there are plenty of reasons to admit our wrongdoing and to turn from sin and to act differently, but getting “more forgiveness” from God is not one of those reasons.
Clearly, we don’t have to remember and confess every sin we’ve ever committed in order to be forgiven by God. After all, we can’t even remember every sin! No, it’s not about our memory and our words. It’s about the blood of Jesus and His “once for all” sacrifice. But holding to this belief does not even remotely imply that we should continue sinning or neglect admitting our struggles.
So what about confession of sins? Well, if by confession we mean the biblical definition – “agreeing with God” – then why not agree with God about sins? In fact, why not agree with God about everything? And clearly the Bible tells us to turn from sin and act differently, not letting sin reign in our lives.
That’s a no-brainer.
The point is not what we don’t have to do. The point is what Jesus did – He took away our sins, once for all! So admit your struggles to God and to others who will pray for you, but not in order to be more forgiven by God. If you are in Christ, then you are already a totally forgiven person, once for all.
Respecting the Law as Holy and Perfect
Paul says that the Law is holy and perfect. I believe that God’s Law is holy and perfect. I fully respect the Law. I hold it up on a pedestal, with its 613 commands, and see it as it truly is – perfect and therefore impossible to obey.
So who is it that truly respects the Law? Those who flirt with just a portion of the Law, hand-selecting ten or nine commands to be under? Or those who recognize the Law’s perfect and impossible standard and therefore opt to be fully under the grace of God instead?
It is only those who see absolutely no hope in a life motivated by Law that truly respect its perfect and impossible standard. Those who flirt with portions of the Law disrespect it and kid themselves. Those who choose to live under the grace of God honor the fact that Jesus fully met the perfect requirements of the Law so that we don’t have to!
Those who claim that I am disregarding Jesus’s teachings before the cross are simply extracting a few observations I’ve made mainly about Matthew 5-6, completely out of context, and then grossly exaggerating my position.
Jesus sometimes taught his hearers about the true spirit of the Law and revealed a truly impossible standard of perfection (anger equals murder, looking with lust equals adultery, cut off your hand, pluck out your eye, be perfect, forgive others to be forgiven by God, sell everything, etc.). Recognizing this plain and obvious purpose of some of Jesus’s teachings is not even remotely the same as disregarding what Jesus said before the cross. Before the cross, Jesus clearly taught many, many things that are applicable to the church today – the Vine and the Branches, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom, just to name a few among many.
Living Under Grace
Living under grace does not mean abandoning upright living and good works. It’s actually the polar opposite! Romans 7:8 reveals to us that “apart from the law, sin is dead.” The reason that Paul points this out is so that we can experience less sinning, not more, and so that we can “bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4) by depending on the resurrected Christ within us.
Those who oppose this teaching simply cannot imagine how upright living and good works could spring from anything but the Law. Regardless of what some might think, the Spirit of Christ within us, and His fruit, is more than enough for every good work.
The Law, because of its perfect and impossible standard, which only excites human effort to perform, is neither the source of good behavior nor the intended goal. Knowing Jesus Christ is both the source of good behavior and the goal of our lives.
I devote many pages in my books to the topic of how we can say no to sin and live upright lives as we walk by God’s Spirit!
Jesus plus nothing,