Forgiven is Past Tense
Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do (Lk 23:34).
Among the wonderful finished works accomplished in Christ is forgiveness of sin. On the cross He declared: it is finished. There is no more need for anyone to plead with Him. As He hung there, stretched out on a tree with no one pleading at all, Christ forgave, asked the Father to forgive, and gave us reason: for they know not what they do. And we know the Son did only what the Father willed.
God’s forgiveness was never contingent on our asking. That would’ve left salvation in our hands. Papa doesn’t want you paranoid about “hidden sin.” He forgave our hidden sin, once for all (Rom 6:10, Heb 7:27, 9:26, 10:2, 10:10, 1 Pet 3:18, etc).
I want you to enjoy the finished-ness of this scripture:
When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the debt listed against us in the decrees that stood opposed to us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross! (Col 2:13-14).
God so loved sinners that He came in Christ to cancel our debts. Yes, He destroyed forever every “legitimate” accusation against us.
So why do Christians continue to beg forgiveness? Are you suddenly un-reconciled when you stumble? Does He ever retract His forgiveness? When you encounter sin, is your mindset in agreement with God–
…who reconciled us to Himself through Christ.
He did it through Christ and not through our penances. We can’t get any more “right with God” than Christ already accomplished for us.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them (2 Cor 5:18-19).
Thank You, Jesus! No begging or praying or fasting required. Even sorrow for sin is not your ticket back to God. He gave us a one way ticket and we paid nothing for it. Forgiveness is a done deal. Reconciliation is a finished work. Humanity has been made right with God, once for all. God was in Christ, 2000 years ago, reconciling sinners to Himself. It is finished.
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation (v19).
Ah…the wonderful message. It’s not “turn or burn.” It’s not even “stop sinning.” Of course sin is not profitable for me (1 Cor 10:23). Nevertheless, the message of reconciliation is that God is no longer counting sins against me. Now, because I am reconciled, i.e. restored to sonship, I have power to be my true self.
For the grace of God has appeared…It instructs us to…live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).
I am created in His image, living godly not by striving in the old ways of crucified Adam, but resting in His grace, in the way of the living Christ.
So, as far as God is concerned, forgiveness is not the issue. Identity is. Sin is a distortion of my true identity. The wonderful message is that I’m a son restored to His image. I can stop eating too many twinkies because I’m reconciled, and therefore come boldly to receive His grace in my moments of weakness. Bitterness, strife, fear, and unhealthy pleasures are hell on earth, and they occur when I forget who I am. Sons live by faith, trusting and resting in Him. Love, joy and peace are our fragrance.
Therefore, pray for those who sin against you, for they know not what they do. Don’t receive abuse. By all means, create appropriate boundaries. Meanwhile, let God show you the treasures He’s put in your enemies, and enjoy every opportunity to breathe life over their identity.That’s the kindness that leads to metanoia:
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance [metanoia]? (Rom 2:4).
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Good News! (Mk 1:15).
Metanoeo, oft translated “repentance” from the Latin re + penance, comes from the Catholic notion of penance, basically religious payment to get back into God’s good graces. It’s wrong. God’s grace is free and irrevocable (Rom 11:29).
Metanoeo actually means think differently after, change after being with (Helps Word studies). Metanoeo is not a condition but a fruit of being with Christ. It’s the fruit of knowing that not only is the kingdom at hand, but it’s within, and so is the King. Knowing the Good News cannot but change you!
So forgiveness isn’t God’s response to your “repentance,” but quite the other way around! The message is something like this:
Metanoeo! Be changed! The Kingdom is at hand. It’s not a political system of moral codes and executions, but “a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). So think differently. Expect His goodness. Believe the Good News: He forgave you! Reconciled you! Loves you! Graces you! Stop working so hard and enter His rest.
There is “repentance.”
Knowing the Truth
Jesus promised that knowing the truth will free us.
It’s good to know if something is not profitable (1 Cor 10:23-24), but that knowing, alone, has no power to make me free, or the Law would’ve worked. I can be sorry for sin till the cows come home, but that sorrow has no power to transform me. Godly sorrow is wonderful but it’s not a prolonged state, else it becomes wallowing and even self-flagellating. Its power is in “producing metanoeo” (2 Cor 7:10). Metanoeo indicates a change of heart, a new way of thinking. That’s the knowing part that realizes our freedom. So sin isn’t what I come to know through metanoeo. There must be something else that Jesus was getting at. It’s the message of reconciliation.
Knowing that Christ the hope of glory lives in me; that we’re all forgiven and reconciled to God; that He’ll never leave us but gives His grace as the antidote to sin; there is Truth that makes free. If I stumble, I don’t take my eyes off Him so I can think about how sinful I am. In my time of need I come boldly to the throne of grace, and not in order to be reconciled, but because I already am (Heb 4:16). How freeing, indeed!
Walking in deception is hell enough. No one needs to beg God’s forgiveness. Only believe. Now that all are forgiven and seated in heavenly places, our journey is one of discovery. Sons are being revealed. We’re discovering who God is and, consequently, who we are. We’re learning which things are profitable, but there is now no condemnation. There is only increasing in the knowledge of God and in fruit.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (Jn 17:3).
Recommended Reading on this topic:
Metanoia by Andre Rabe
>>>Check it out HERE.
Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder
>>>Check it out HERE.
Thanks for reading! For some this is old news, for others it’s shocking and questionable. How about you? What thoughts or questions does it conjure? Share in the comments box below. And don’t forget to like and share this post with anyone who might be blessed by it!
FREE! Sign up for more from Kiss of Christ!