Revival – The Grace Revolution!

This week a church elder said to me:

“Even if 1 John 1:9 wasn’t there, it simply expresses what is said in a variety of other ways throughout the Old and New Testaments.”

Firstly, the Old Testament is exactly what is says on the tin – old  – and, as the writer of Hebrews says, obsolete. It is valid no more. The Old Testament was all about sacrificing animals for atonement of sin. But Christ was the last sacrifice. He died for all sin – of all mankind, forever. Secondly, where in all of Paul’s letters does he ever mention confessing to be restored to God’s presence? He doesn’t. Not once. What does he say about sin? He says:

“We died with Christ, and everyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

(Romans 6:7)

and

“If I sin, it is no longer I who do it, but sin living in me that does it.”

(Romans 7:7)

Paul completely disassociates himself from sin.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

(Galatians 2:20)

We too have been crucified with Christ. We too no longer live and Christ lives in us. Is there sin in Christ? No way. He crucified sin once for all on the cross.

“Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

(Hebrews 9:26)

Christ did away with sin on the cross. John also agrees, later in his letters, where he says:

‘Those who are born of God do not continue to sin. They are not able to sin because they have been born of God.’

(1 John 3:9)

An entire church doctrine has been built on 1 John 1:9, keeping Christians in out in out of the presence of God for centuries. Someone has described it as a ‘Christian bar of soap.’ But Christ is our soap. He is our washpot. Not Moab. He has washed us once for all. He has made us perfect (Hebrews 10:14), righteous (Romans 5:17) and holy (Hebrews 10:10).

Let’s look a bit more closely at 1 John 1:9. To begin with, the word ‘confess’ in Greek doesn’t even have any meaning of asking for forgiveness attached to it. It simply means ‘say the same’ or ‘agree’. So, if we agree with God about our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. Furthermore, the word ‘repent’ merely means ‘to change your mind’ or ‘change your devotion from yourself to God.’ In other words, stop thinking about yourself and your own ability to be obedient, but think about Christ and His obedience. Paul instructs us to do exactly this:

“…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

(2 COR 10:5) King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

People ask me, but Steve, if you believe all of your sins have been forgiven past present and future, do you repent? Do you confess? Yes I do, but not in the way the Anglican church would have me confess. Woe is me, I’m not worthy to eat the crumbs from under your table, blah blah blah… I’m worthy because Christ died for me. I’m worthy of the shed blood of the precious Christ. If Christ thinks I am worth dying for, I am worthy. In my own eyes I am not worthy, but in God’s eyes I am. The key is, renewing our minds and seeing ourselves as God sees us, holy, righteous and perfect.

“By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.”

(Hebrews 10:14)

If God says He has forgiven us once for all by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, isn’t it an insult to God and Christ’s precious shed blood if we keep returning and asking for forgiveness over and over again? Isn’t this treating Christ’s blood like old testament bulls and goats that had to be sacrificed over and over again for every new sin. We’re not under the old testament law any more. There is no sacrifice for sin left.

“For then,” the Hebrews writer says “Christ would have had to be crucified many times since the creation of the world. But now at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

Simon Yap says this:

“When you think that God’s forgiveness is given to you again and again every time you confess you are treating the blood of Jesus as blood of bulls and goats.”

– His Grace is Enough

So, as far as 1 John 1:9 goes, who was John writing to? He was writing to address people in the church who thought they were saved but who denied having sinned. They were not actually saved. This is what John was saying to them. If you agree with God that you have sinned the blood of Jesus will cleanse you. But if you deny having sinned, you make God out to be a liar. John wasn’t talking to Christians. He was talking to people who thought they were saved, but they weren’t.

But John says ‘we’ I hear you say. ‘He’s talking about himself.’ Really? Does John also believe he has no sin? Does John make God out to be a liar? A technique of any good teacher, John is putting himself in the same arena as the sinners. He is not elevating himself above them. He is humbling himself, so as not to alienate them. He is being polite for the gospel’s sake. John already agrees with God that he has sinned, but he still uses ‘we’. John is being inclusive.

The way 1 John 1:9 has been used, and is being used, as a Christian ‘bar of soap’ to suggest when we sin we come out of fellowship until we ‘confess’ our sin again is a lie from the accuser. Our sin does not separate us from God because Christ’s blood covers us. Our fellowship is never broken with God. We are being continually cleansed in a perpetual fountain of Christ’s blood and forgiveness. Joseph Prince describes it as being like a stone in a waterfall. We are always clean. The moment we sin or make ourselves dirty, His blood washes us and we are clean again. Spurgeon described being saved as ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’  Christ’s blood is like acid. The moment we sin the acid dissolves it and it disappears.

We can not sin as Christians. If you don’t believe me check out 1 John 3:9 + 5:18. I’ve written an article on it here. This is the wonder, the majesty, the magnitude of God’s grace. This is why grace is amazing. Christians who have been saved for many years are coming out of the woodwork with tears of joy and saying they never really understood grace before, but now they do, and the freedom they feel is, as Isaiah says, overwhelming.

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God, for He has draped me in a robe of His righteousness.”

(61:10)

People are realizing they don’t have to do anything to contribute to their righteousness, their holiness, or their sanctification. Christ did it all.

“We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.”

(Hebrews 10:10).

Revival is happening in the Body of Christ. There is a grace revolution.  God will never, ever, ever count our sin against us, ever again.

“Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

(Romans 4:8)

Hallelujah!

Thank you Jesus!

You rock!

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13 thoughts on “Revival – The Grace Revolution!

  1. How can John be writing to non-Christians when he writes this?
    I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
    (1 John 2:21 ESV)

    and this?
    Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
    (1 John 3:2 ESV)

    and this?
    I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
    (1 John 2:26-27 ESV)

    He is writing to those who know the truth, are God’s children, and have received the anointing that abides in them; are these not Christians?

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    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I believe that John initially deals with a problem, and addresses Gnostics – people who had infiltrated the church saying they were saved but that they had no sin. This is Chapter 1. Otherwise, why would he say this to true believers:

      “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

      He is stating the truth to the Gnostics so that they may have fellowship with the church, with the Father and the Son.

      Where John starts Dear Children in chapter 2 he begins to address the true believers. Studying who N.T writers were writing to and why is so important in understanding the meaning.

      Remember, confess means ‘agree’ it does not mean ‘say sorry’ as we use it today. Once we have agreed with God that we are sinners the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all unrighteousness. We do not have to keep ‘confessing’ – that is to keep agreeing. However, if we do no harm is done. But the blood of Christ has cleansed us of all sin, once for all, as both Paul and Hebrews teaches us.

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      • You could be right, but then again, maybe not; what I have in the bible cannot tell me which it is, and for me, that is a huge problem. If you are right, then the bible cannot stand by itself in giving me understanding. I have to sift through all the varying opinions, books, blogs, etc. and then try to make a decision on what this means. And it is not just this passage, there are many of them and many that have to do with important issues. I could spend hours just trying to decide if you are right on this, that John is writing to two different audiences in this “letter,” which you are saying is actually two letters. This is NOT clear from just reading the bible, which is all many people have had for thousands of years to go on. A friend of mine, in discussing this problem, says that what we need is the “working man’s bible” that explains all this in one book for those of us who struggle just to have time to read the bible, much less compare the views of various theologians and historians, etc.

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      • I hear you Andy. I was a Christian for 17 years before I had the revelation that I was righteous ‘by faith’ as a ‘gift’ and that nothing I could do could change that. This is the first verse God had to work on me with to really grasp why grace was so amazing. Sometimes God wants us to dig deeper into the texts. There are other good articles on this. I will post them for you.

        Be patient. Pray about it. And let God reveal the truth to you in good time. I believe God reveals things to us as we need. AND… if God has chosen to reveal this to you… maybe it’s important for you to grasp this. Maybe God wants you to really grasp the wonder of the gospel.

        Many know that they have been saved by Jesus, but are not aware that they are righteous and holy as a gift, that Christ achieved it for us, and it is nothing to do with what we do or don’t do. It was, as Hebrews says, a ‘once for all’ sacrifice.

        We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

        – Hebrews 10:10.

        Peace, brother.

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  2. For instance, here is someone who disagrees with you on this.
    http://treeoflifeblog.com/2014/03/19/difficult-verses-4-1-john-1-9/
    So, I am left trying to figure out which of you is right. Some may enjoy this; I do not. I just want to know what God is saying. Maybe what I really need to figure out is what God was saying when he had John write “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:27 ESV) 🙂

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  3. I have read some of the article you posted. From his words I would say the writer doesn’t yet grasp the finished work of Christ. How can we be ‘trapped in sin’ if we died to sin when Christ was crucified? (Romans 6). If we are in Christ we are free from sin (even if we break the moral code) the blood of Jesus cleanses us immediately. Sin cannot stain the blood of Christ.

    I think it’s really important to know that Christ never leaves us. He is our righteousness. He has made us holy. Our actions cannot reverse that. If it were up to us to ‘stay righteous’ by our actions, we all be doomed to hell. Christ is our righteousness.

    Thank God!

    Amen!

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    • Sure. However, nothing we do makes us holy. That’s why Christ had to die. If we could be holy by our actions, Christ would not have had to die and God would not have had to have made us holy by the sacrifice of His son:

      For we have been made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.
      (Hebrews 10:10).

      Remember, even our righteous acts are as filthy rags compared to God’s righteousness. He has imputed us with His righteousness. What we do or don’t do has no bearing on our righteousness or holiness. God did it all for us.

      Of course, we should not now ‘live as the pagans do’ and ‘use our freedom to indulge the sinful nature’ as Paul says. However, we are free. Yes, we should long and desire to live up to our holiness and righteousness, as Paul says:

      I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and to share with Him in the fellowship of His suffering, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead.

      (Philippians 3:10-11)

      Paul wanted to ‘somehow attain to what Christ had done for him.’ He wanted to live up to the righteousness he had already received. But there’s the rub. He knew he had already received the righteousness of God. As he says:

      Let us live up to what we have already attained.

      (Philippians 3:16).

      Like

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