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June 1, 1999

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Already forgiven?

Q.
I was having a conversation with another Christian. I am not sure what really led up to this but here goes. He said that he does not go to God to ask for forgiveness. He said because He has already forgiven him all of his sins. I said, there are times you feel guilty for your sin and you pray to your Father and ask Him to forgive you for your sin. He then told me that guilt is an evil conscience and asking forgiveness is blaspheming what Jesus did not the cross which demonstrates unbelief. So basically I have been called an unbeliever with an evil conscience who blasphemes Jesus.

A.
NO! Jesus' death on the cross did NOT 'forgive' the whole world, without them repenting.

What the Scriptures tell us is, "For You, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and rich in mercy to all those who call on You." (Ps86:5)

Also, Jesus is the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn1:29) Which is why God sent Him. (Jn3:16)

But notice, it is for "whoever believes in Him." To "as many as received Him." (Jn1:12) To those who "call" on Him. (Acts9:14)

For the unregenerate the requirement is "repentance and remission of sins" (Mk1:4,Acts5:31,Lk24:47)

For the believer, who needs Christ's advocacy for His "little children" (1Jn2:1) it is, "IF we CONFESS our SINS...He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.." (1Jn1:9) Jesus makes it quite plain, -IF- there is Repentance, -THEN- there is forgiveness. (Lk17:3-4)

Jesus came to provide salvation for -ALL- who CALL UPON Him. (Rom10:12, 1Cor1:2) Not just some "limited" few. For "whoever" believes in Him. (Jn3:16) Because He is not willing that "any" should perish. (2Pt3:9)

And for those who do call upon Him, He promises to be "near" them. (Ps145:18) To have fellowship. (1Jn1:7) As we are abiding in the Vine. (Jn15) And have the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Jn16:7,Rom8)

But until we "call upon the name of the Lord" to be saved (Joel2:32), that salvation hasn't been applied to the person yet. (Rom4:5) And so, God is AT-THE-READY. "For You, Lord, are good and READY to forgive, and rich in mercy to all those who call on You." (Ps86:5)

And yes, for the Believer, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1Jn1:8) Therefore, we "confess" (vs9) as we pray, "forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors." (Mt6:12)

'Trouble is... most people who believe in this kind of "universal forgiveness" believe such because they harbor sin in their hearts and lives. They want a 'perception' of salvation without having to "humble" themselves. (Jas4:10) They want to have heaven in the sweet-by-and-by, but they want to live the way -they- 'want to' in the here-and-now. That is idolatry. God says to them...

"Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face. SHOULD I AT ALL BE INQUIRED OF BY THEM?" (Ezek14:3)

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True Repentance results in actions

[Response to study: Matthew 18:15-20 on "Not Forgiving"]

Comment:
Your message here is wonderful...and truely biblically accurate. One more step needs to be added and that is words alone do not prove a repentive heart...actions do. Many times someone will say I am sorry to get off the "hot"seat in any one situation..meerly to go out and repeat the same offense. It is in the actions that show true sorrow and a repentive heart and in that the completion of forgiveness is at hand.... Thank you

A.
Exactly! As Zachaeus came down from the tree, he didn't use the words "I repent" ... but rather, he listed off all the things he was going to do as a result of his repentance; how he was going to repay those he had wronged. And Jesus said, "This day salvation has come to this house..." (Lk19:8-9)

This is something lacking in today's "justice" system. The criminals "serve time" and it is called "paying their debt to society". But they are not required to pay back what they stole, fix what they broke, etc. And the victim usually is left to fend for himself...and hopefully he had insurance!

John the Baptist retorted to the self-righteous crowd, "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance." (Mt3:8) While salvation is a free "gift of God" and "NOT -OF- works" the results are "-UNTO- good works" (Eph 2:8-10) Also see: Jas 2:14-26

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