Grace, Forgiveness and The Blood.

Why are we always taught to continually ask for forgiveness?

If we have been forgiven once for all as Hebrews says, why ask for something we already have?

The writer of the book of Hebrews says this is like treating the blood of Christ like the blood of ‘bulls and goats.’

The Jews had to sacrifice bulls and goats for their sin over and over again.

Moses had to splash the blood all over the temple, the altar and all the people!

He took the blood of calves and sprinkled the scroll and all the people…in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

– Hebrews 9:19-21

Can you imagine? It must have been a bloody day.

But all this was pointing to Christ.

As Hebrews 9:22 says:

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Every year the Hebrews had to make a new sacrifice to be forgiven. But those animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin, the writer of Hebrews tells us. They were only a ‘reminder’ of sin.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder for sin. Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.

– Hebrews 10:3

It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sin.

It was all pointing to Christ who took away our sin once for all.

We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore because Jesus was the last, once for all sacrifice.

Through His sacrifice we have forgiveness of sins.

He will never sacrifice Himself again.

As God says in Isaiah:

From that cup, the globlet of my fury, you will never drink again.

– Isaiah 51:22

Christ’s one sacrifice was enough for all sin, for all people, for all time.

So, when we turn to God and beg for forgiveness in a way we’re behaving like the Jews of the O.T who needed to be forgiven again and again.

But we don’t need to be forgiven again and again.

Because we have been forgiven once for all.

As Hebrews says:

For Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise he would have had to suffer 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.

– Hebrews 9:24-26

So, let’s stop asking for forgiveness. We have forgiveness already.

If we do it’s like saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.

But it was enough!

It was once for all.

But what happens when we sin? I hear you cry. Surely we should ask God for forgiveness?!

What does John say in his first letter?

If we sin we have an advocate who goes to the Father for us – Jesus Christ – the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only our sin, but for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1

Who goes to the Father?

Do we go?

No! Jesus goes to the Father for us and we are in Him – approved by God in Christ.

Amen!

ps. want to know how free you are? Listen to my recording of Romans 6 on soundcloud!

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What Benefit Did You Reap?

Jesus painting close up

What I hear a lot of is this:

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

I used to believe this.

I used to believe this – in the way that many Christians believe it today.

But what we’re actually saying is this:

Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t good enough to cleanse us from our sin.

The blood of Jesus wasn’t powerful enough to destroy sin.

Jesus did not die to sin “once for all”, as Hebrews tells us.

It wasn’t ‘finished’ as Jesus shouted, pouring out His blood, from the cross.

No.

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

Brilliant English theologian John Stott says this:

We resent the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

– The Cross of Christ.

You see, either Christ ‘did away’ with sin on the cross or He didn’t.

But He did.

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

– Hebrews 9.26

Paul tells us how.

He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

But this is a little confusing.

What does it mean exactly?

I like this translation:

GOD’S WORD.
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin.

However we phrase it, when Christ died, our sin died with Him.

All of our sin – past present and future.

This is great news!

This is the gospel!

On the cross, our sin died with Him.

But Paul goes further:

Anyone who was baptized into Christ was crucified with Christ. We were therefore buried with Him, through baptism, into death…

and

If we were united with Him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.

If we are not yet a believer, we are still living with ‘sin.’

And, as Paul says:

The wages of sin is death.

But – and this is the good news – if we are in Christ we died with Him.

Crucified on the cross.

But, Paul says:

If we died with Him we believe that we will also live with Him.

– Romans 6.8

and

If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body through His Spirit who lives in you.

– Romans 8.11

It is only in Christ that we can rise from the dead.

We will rise as He is risen.

This is the good news!

It is nothing to do with if we mess up, make mistakes, or ‘sin’.

And –

Where sin abounds, grace super abounds!

– Romans 5:20

Super-abounding grace!

We are free!

“But that means we are free to sin!” I hear someone say.

I answer with Paul’s words:

What benefit did you reap from those things you are now ashamed of?

– Romans 6:21

Really, what benefit did you reap in the past from your wrong doing, from your selfish, destructive behavior, from your mistreatment of yourself and others, and from your unwise choices?

I know what benefit I reaped: shame and soul-destroying guilt.

Sin has terrible, life damaging consequences.

And…

The wages of sin is death.

But…

The law of the Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

– Romans 8.2

We have been set free from sin and death.

In Christ we have life!

Eternal life!

In Christ we have everything to live for!

This is the gospel.

The true gospel.

The amazing gospel!

Amen!

Steve Edwards

Does Romans 7 say we are still sinners?

Hebrews tells us Christ ‘did away with sin’ on the cross.

Paul tells us our righteousness is a free gift.

Jesus says we have been set free from the prison of sin.

If Jesus has set us free, why do we want to lock ourselves up again?

In Romans 7 Paul points out that he can’t stop himself from ‘doing what he does not want to do’ – but he finishes that passage with

Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul is saying only Jesus can save us – we cannot save ourselves.

But Paul isn’t finished there.

In Romans 8 he explains

You, however, are not led by the sinful nature if the Spirit of God lives in you.

Paul also tells us

The law of The Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

We are not under the law of sin anymore.

Whatever we do, we are holy, we are pure, we are righteous – as we are not under law but under grace.

God knew we could never obey His law so he made us righteous, perfect and holy as a free gift.

This is why Isaiah was overwhelmed with joy. He understood what God had given him:

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

Who made him rightoeus?

God did.

Just as God has made us righteous, through Christ.

Now, if Christ has done it for us, can anyone take that away?

Can our sinful actions subtract from that?

Christ’s blood would not be very powerful if we were able to negate it everytime we messed up.

But we can’t negate it.

The truth is, if we do mess up and break God’s moral law (which we do every day) we are instantly washed clean.

We are protected. We are draped in a robe of God’s righteousness!

The amazing truth is – no ‘sin’ can taint us.

That can’t be the gospel, I hear you say. That’s too good to be true.

Yes it is too good to be true!

The gospel isn’t just good news, it’s the ‘too good to be true’ news.

Yet it is true!

If we do sin, John says, Jesus is our advocate. Our defence lawyer.

He has already paid the price for all of our sin, therefore we can never be held accountable.

We are free – forever washed clean in His blood.

In his book Destined to Reign Joseph Prince likens our position in Christ to being stones in a waterfall – nomatter how dirty we get we are perpetually being washed clean.

Spurgeon says it is as if we are ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’

Paul says

Christ is…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

1 Cor 1:30

And John says

As He is, so are we in this world.

– 1 John 4:17

If Jesus is a sinner, so are we.

But if Jesus is pure, holy and righteous, so are we!

Just as no sin tainted Him, so no sin can taint us.

If it could, our sin would be more powerful than His blood.

Is sin more powerful than His blood?

No!

We are not sinners.

We are, as Peter says

A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.

I know it’s amazing, but this is the gospel!

We are holy, perfect and righteous.

We are free!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

– Galatians 5:1

Will someone give me an ‘Amen’ !?

Steve Edwards

Sunday Sermon: Is sin a crime or a sickness?

Been thinking a lot about a question Chloe Dudley posted on Twitter about whether sin was a crime deserving to be punished or a sickness to be healed.

Isaiah 53 says:

He was crushed for our sins.

He was pierced for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him

And by His wounds we are healed.

When I received my amazing revelation of grace last year Jesus told me that sin was a sickness and He was the Great Physician – The Healer. In fact, one of God’s names in the Old Testament in Hebrew is ‘Rapha’ – The Lord who Heals. 

However, in The Cross of Christ John Stott argues that the full force of God’s anger burned against our sin in Christ, which suggests punishment.

Jeremiah prophecies:

The LORD has given full vent to His wrath.

He has poured out His fierce anger.

Jesus has a prayer battle with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane about drinking ‘the cup’:

Father, if it’s possible, please take this cup from me.

Isaiah 51:22 tells us what this ‘cup’ is:

From that cup, the goblet of my fury, you will never drink again.

See how Isaiah reassures The Christ? He will never have to drink it again. His sacrifice, as Hebrews says, will be once for all. 

As we know Christ’s cruxifixion fulfilled the Passover. He was our passover lamb sacrificed for us. The Last Supper was a passover meal.

At the meal four ‘cups’ of wine are drunk, each pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross.

You can read a detailed study on Mike Ratliff’s blog.

However, here’s a brief explanation of the 4 cups and how they point to Christ and The Cross:

The first cup to drink at a Passover feast is The Cup of Freedom (Christ sets us free at The Cross.)

The second cup drunk is The Cup of Judgement (God judged our sin at The Cross).

The third cup drunk (I’d be drunk by now) is The Cup of Redemption (Christ redeemed us at The Cross).

The  fourth cup is The Cup of Restoration (Christ restores us (heals us) at The Cross).

Amazing, huh?

The Jewish people have been celebrating Christ for years in their passover celebrations!

It doesn’t stop there. Get this:

It was at the the third cup – The Cup of Redemption – that Jesus stopped, lifted the cup, and said to His disciples:

Take, drink, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed to give the forgiveness of sins.

How amazing is that?!

It was the Cup of Redemption! This is why Christ’s blood is called ‘redeeming.’

Two definitions of the verb ‘redeem’ are:

1. to compensate for the bad aspects of someone.

2. to clear by payment.

We could say that Jesus did both. He compensated for our bad aspect by giving us His righteousness.

He also paid for our sin. He was punished for our crime.

So, I think to answer Chloe’s question we can look to the 4 cups.

At The Cross we were set free, judged righteous, our debt was paid (He was punished for us) and we were restored (divinely healed).

Isaiah, it seems, agrees:

The punishment that brought our peace was on Him.

AND

By His stripes we are healed.

Phew!

Deep question.

Thanks for asking it, Chloe.

So…what do you think? Is sin a crime or a sickness? Or both?

Grace be with you.

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Our Righteous Acts are like Filthy Rags.

Our righteous acts are like filthy rags…and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

(Isaiah 64:6)

Notice God doesn’t say it is our sins that are filthy, but our ‘righteous acts’.

We can not achieve righteousness ourselves.

We can not attain to God’s level of moral perfection.

Does this mean we should stop trying?

Yes!

Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

(Matthew 11:28)

Only when we give up, admit we are powerless, and we rest in His finished work – in His GRACE – can Christ work through us, as Jesus says to Paul.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

(2 Cor 12:9)

The Greek word for righteousness is dikaios.

The Bible hub website says this about the word:

In the writings of Paul this word has a peculiar meaning: the Jews believed that they secured the favor of God by obeying the law.

Yet the Isaiah verse says that our good works (our righteous acts) to ‘secure the favor of God’ are as ‘filthy rags’.

It’s a strong statement.

This is why amazing grace preachers like Joseph Prince and Spurgeon talk of God’s ‘unmerited’ favor.

Unmerited means undeserved.

We do not deserve to be righteous, to spend eternity with the Creator of the Universe, whose name is Love.

Yet God, through Christ, has dressed us in His righteousness to enable us to abide with Him forever.

And he has given it to us as a gift…for free!

This is why we should never, ever think we can become righteous ourselves, or add to the righteousness God has given us. That is rejecting the gift.

Who would reject the gift God has given them?

Who would throw away the precious sacrifice of Christ, and say it wasn’t enough to make us perfectly holy, and perfectly righteous?

That is taking the cross and slapping God round the face with it !

No…all we can do, is in humility, say THANK YOU to God and accept the free gift, and accept we have nothing to add to the righteousness He has given us.

The blood of Christ plus nothing, as grace teacher Jim McNeely has said.

And as Spurgeon says:

In every part of the process of salvation, these words from Paul are appropriate: “not of yourselves.”

And, even though Isaiah says our sins sweep us away from God, Paul has the Good News in Ephesians 2:13:

Now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Amen!

Steve Edwards

We are always right with Him.

When God revealed to me how we are adorned with His beauty and majesty –

You Are The Beauty & Majesty of God!

– it was mind-blowing. I didn’t know this before.

Grace has removed the shades from my eyes. Jesus knew I was being mislead. The Anglican church’s creeds had kept me in bondage. I didn’t come in and out of right standing with God by my sin. I did not have to repent and confess to be made righteous again. I did not have to be purified by the blood of Jesus for every mistake. That is, as Hebrews says, treating the blood of Christ like the blood of bulls and goats, offered again and again for the sins of the people. Christ had cleansed me once for all – on the cross.

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

– Hebrews 10:14

We are always right with Him, because of what He did, not because of anything we do (or don’t do).

Nothing we do can stain our holiness or perfection, because we have Christ’s holiness and perfection.

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God.

– 2 Cor 5:21

Nothing can separate us from God’s love, says Paul.

Nothing in all creation.

‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ says Jesus. ‘I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.’

With this revelation of ‘grace’ I discovered a whole new Jesus – a Jesus who sees me as amazing and beautiful all the time – even when I sin.

Thank you, Jesus!

This is why ‘grace’ is so amazing.

The word ‘grace’ used to have no meaning to me.

Now it means everything.

Grace and Peace,

Steve.

ALL sin.

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7

Based on this verse, how much sin does the blood of Jesus purify us of?

A bit? Some? A little?

No.

All sin.

As John says later:

“I write to you because your sins have been forgiven…”

Have been. Finished action.

All of our sin was forgiven at the cross.

This is what John is driving at when he says ‘Nobody born of God is able to sin.’

We have been completely purified of all sin.

Spurgeon describes it as if we are bathing in Christ’s blood. Joseph Prince says we are like rocks in a perpetual waterfall of cleansing and forgiveness.

It is impossible for us, in Christ, to sin. We are in a constant state of cleansing and forgiveness.

That is the power of the blood of Christ.

Oh amazing grace!