The grace of God has many expressions, but forgiveness is the first. Miss forgiveness and you’ll miss grace. How do we set aside grace? One way is to treat forgiveness as something other than a gift. If you work to earn what God has given, then you have made the cross of Christ of no effect. You have set aside grace and made yourself a co-savior.
According to Colossians 2:13, your sins were forgiven when you were still dead in your sins. In other words, you were forgiven before you repented, before you confessed, before you were born again. In fact, you were forgiven long before you were born. You didn’t do anything to merit His forgiveness. That’s why it’s called grace.
You were forgiven completely for all time
Jesus went to the cross as humanity’s sinless representative. With His dying breath God the Son asked God the Father to forgive us (Lk 23:34). Then having fully satisfied the requirements of the law that stood against us, and having forged a new covenant in His blood, Jesus declared “it is finished” and gave up His spirit. His redemptive work complete, Jesus now sits at the right hand of God waiting for His saints to rise up boldly in their forgiven-ness and put His enemies – sickness, poverty, oppression – under their feet and His.
Jesus will never go to the cross again. If you sin today, He is not going back to Calvary tomorrow. Asking Him to forgive you again is like saying His first sacrifice was not enough – that you really need Him to get back up on the cross. This is disgraceful (Heb 6:6), but “we are confident of better things in your case” (Heb 6:9). Rejoice that His one-time sacrifice paid for it all and you are eternally forgiven. When you sin, guess what – you are still forgiven! God’s grace is greater than your sin.
This reality is not an encouragement to sin and if you are choosing to live in sin then you are unacquainted with the grace of God that teaches us to say no to sin. But if you trust in Jesus and His finished work, then rest assured that nothing in the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither life nor death, can separate you from God’s forgiveness.
Don’t believe the bad news
God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you. His forgiveness is entirely based on the finished work of the cross. Those who claim we must do stuff to be forgiven are saying that Jesus needs to come and die again, that once wasn’t enough. This is called bad news and it’s not in the Bible. Jesus didn’t die for some sin but all sin. His one-time sacrifice for the sin of the world was perfectly perfect and completely complete in every respect.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 Jhn 2:2).
This is the good news that the prophets foretold and the apostles declared: God the Son has done away with sin! Neither God the Father no God the Holy Spirit remembers our sins anymore! This is the gospel truth.
Put your faith in the good news
Jesus said that forgiveness of sins is a gift that must be received (Acts 26:18).
Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin because men do not believe in Me (Jn 16:8-9). The Holy Spirit is here to convince the world that our sins been blotted out and removed as far as the east is from the west. The Holy Spirit is here to reveal Jesus and the finished work of the cross.
A proper response to this good news is to turn to God and put your trust in His amazing grace. This is called repentance. We don’t repent to get forgiven; we repent because we are forgiven. All the blessings that are ours in Christ – His acceptance, righteousness, holiness – flow from the revelation that we have been completely and eternally forgiven through the precious blood of the Lamb. See Jesus sitting down at the right hand of the Father. He’s not running around cleaning up your sins. His redemption work is done and He now invites you to enter His rest.