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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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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Is ‘grace’ a simple concept?

Yes, grace is a simple concept, that we have been forgiven and made righteous as a free gift from our amazing, bountiful God whose name is Love.

Yet it is also sublime.

The cross is the most deeply profound event in the history of the world, therefore scholarly dissertations are valuable and welcome, yet even then we will never, ever truly understand it (until, perhaps, we are with The LORD in Heaven).

However, to be saved and made holy, to be brought into His eternal family, we don’t need to understand it, just believe it, and come to God as little children, receiving the gift of righteousness, by faith, through grace.

We need do nothing, simply enter His rest, and receive His love.

He does all the do-ing !

From the deep root of His love our love for Him will grow producing fruits of thankfulness, good deeds and obedience, not because we have to, or because we need to, but because we want to… motivated not by fear of punishment or fear of hell but motivated by love.

Once we have put our faith in Christ, The LORD forgives us and purifies us of all our sin, once for all, forever.

We have nothing to prove.

Our Heavenly Father accepts us as we are – because we believe in and have put our hope in His beloved son, Jesus Christ.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

Romans 5:5

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Why does God allow us to sin?

I used to think I was the worst of sinners, so I was pleased when I read this from Paul.

“Here is a trustworthy saying which deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

(1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Phew!

Ever wonder why, as a Christian, God allows you to sin?

Ever surprised when you do?

I’ve stopped being surprised. I know myself. As Shakespeare says in Hamlet:

“To know a man well were to know himself.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that God knows us, too? That nothing we do, or think, or say can surprise Him. He knows exactly who we are – even in the deepest, darkest abyss of our humanity… and yet He still loves us!

We know this, because:

“Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

(Romans 5:8)

Now, if He loved us while we were still sinners, how much more as children of God – sanctified, purified and made holy?

Not that we can make ourselves holy. That’s the beauty of grace. Even if we mess up now, we’re still perfect in His eyes, because of what Christ did.

When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.

“He made  Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of Christ.”

(2 Cor 5:21)

Another phew!

So, even when we sin, to God, we are completely clean – ‘bathing in Christ’s blood’ as Spurgeon says.

We will never, ever be sinners again, in God’s eyes, thanks to the blood of Christ!

Notice Paul says when we were sinners.

Now we are not. As Paul says in Romans 6:

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

So, does this give us an excuse to go on doing what is unhealthy, what is bad for us spiritually, things which hurt ourselves or others? Does it give us a ‘license’ to sin?

Joseph Prince says God doesn’t want us to take the cross and whack him around the head with it.

Yet if we do fall, if we do sin, we are completely forgiven, once for all, by the cross.

So why does God let us keep sinning?

He doesn’t.

Remember John’s words:

“No one who is born of God continues to sin. And He cannot sin because He has been born of God.”

(1 John 5:18)

This is the amazing truth of GRACE.

Once we are children of God we have been set free from the prison of sin. We are no longer under the law. We cannot break the law in God’s eyes. The law has been fully met in us, because of Christ.

“This is the mystery of the gospel,” says Paul. “Christ in you.”

Christ lives in us, and Christ is perfect. And because Christ is perfect, so are we.

“As He is, so are we in this world.”

Christ crucified our sin on the cross. The raging fire of His love consumed it.

We have been absolutely set free from sin, once for all.

Men love to remind us of our sin, but God says:

“I have swept away your offenses like the a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.”

(Isaiah 44:22)

We can never be accused of sin again.

“And if it is God who justifies us, who can throw a charge against us?”

Yet even if we do mess up in our lives, and do what can destroy us or others, Jesus promises He will never leave us.

We are all on a healing journey. Sin is a sickness. If we choose something, anything other than Him to heal our pain, we are seeking healing from the wrong physician.

Jesus is the Great Physician. As He said:

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

(Mark 2:17)

So, next time we find ourselves seeking a healing balm from anywhere but Jesus, let’s turn our hearts back towards Him.

And why does God save the worst of sinners, like Paul, and like me?

“The grace of God was poured out on me abundantly…so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.”

(1 Tim 1:14-16)

We are examples of God’s GRACE.

Amen!

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!

Breaking the Chains of ‘Confession’ in 1 John 1:9 – part 1

1 John 1:9 has kept the church bound in chains for centuries. So for Christ’s sake (and for our sake) let’s get a grip on what this verse actually means.

Traditional teaching has turned this verse into a ritual: sin, confess, forgiveness, sin, confess, forgiveness. Someone called it a Christian ‘bar of soap’ that we use to cleanse ourselves when we feel dirty because we have committed some sin or other.

But the fact is, Christ cleansed us once for all on the cross. We are always clean. Those feelings of uncleanliness we may have are rooted in guilt and shame – brought about by the very thing we our trying our hardest to keep: the law.

But just as there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, there is also no shame. Christ took our shame on the cross. Our shame, our guilt, and all our sin died with Him. And we became His righteousness.

International Standard Version
God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that God’s righteousness would be produced in us.

Those who teach us that each time we sin we should ‘confess’ to God that we may re-enter His presence are wrong.

This sin / confess / forgive / sin / confess / forgive is a never-ending story keeping us bound in ritualistic chains like addicts to the needle.

This is not what God intended at all. He intended us to be free.

And if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!

(John 8:36)

So, in order for us to really get a grip on what John is saying, we have to delve into the original language – into the Greek. 

Here goes:

The word ‘confess’ (homo logos) has no meaning of ‘asking for forgiveness’ attached to it, as we’ve been taught.

It simply means: ‘to say the same.’

1 John 1:9 is asking his readers to ‘say the same about sin as God does’ – that we are sinners.

OK.

No news there.

Now, let’s look at the next part of the verse:

‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin…’ 

The Greek tense of ‘to forgive’ is the ‘aorist’ tense which implies a single moment in time – forever. 

Eternal forgiveness.

And when is the single point of time that we received this eternal forgiveness?

Two thousand years ago, on The Cross.

This agrees with Hebrews 10:10:

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

Another word translators have taken liberties with to keep us bound in ritualistic chains is the word ‘If’ :

‘If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.’

The word ‘if’ is a conditional tense, and, like English, the Greek has three forms.

1 John 1:9 uses the 3rd form which assumes ‘doubt’.

The correct translation is not ‘If’ but ‘We may or may not…’

So the verse should read like this:

‘We may or may not say the same as God about our sin, however, He has forgiven us at a single moment in time, forever.”

Let’s put it another way:

“Whether we confess our sin or not God has forgiven us once for all, forever.”

Very, very different to what we’ve been taught!

We’ve been taught that every time we sin we break fellowship with God and have to confess in order to come back into His presence.

This is a lie! The devil is laughing!

Try it. Next time you ‘sin’ say to God:

‘Lord, thank you that you have forgiven me once for all on the cross. Thank you that I am righteous by faith. I know that being holy  is not about what I do but about what Jesus has done for me. I accept the free gift of righteousness with thanks.’

Pray this and see if your fellowship breaks.

I bet with my life that it doesn’t.

I bet with my life that you’ll feel God’s Holy Spirit as strong as ever.

Don’t believe me.

Test it and see.

for part 2 of this post, click here.

Steve Edwards

The blood of Christ plus NOTHING.

The ‘hyper-grace’ movement – of which God has chosen the amazingly passionate, talented and anointed preacher Joseph Prince to be the forerunner – is being attacked, basically because people don’t understand it.

Basically because actually the message of Grace – which is actually just The Gospel – is too good to be true!

Millions of people, who’ve been kept in bondage for years by sinful church teaching, are living in a beautiful new-found freedom because of  this Grace message – myself included.

Jim McNeely has written a book called The Romance of Grace.

This is an extract from his website – Therefore Now – a response to Mike Bickle’s attack of the Grace movement on Charisma News:

I am not surfing porn or committing adultery or giving out false prophecy while raking in the money from unsuspecting sheep right now, but I am yet a sinner in need of the covering of His precious blood. And if, God forbid, I do any of these horrible things in the future, I am assured that I have a basis for forgiveness and cleansing and repentance, because it is Christ who saves me by His blood, and not my deeds by my own flesh which saves me.It is the blood of Christ plus NOTHING which secures my eternity. From the bottom of my heart I do not want to do any of these sins, but I don’t trust myself. I trust Christ. In saying I trust Christ it isn’t an underhanded way of saying I trust Christ to control me like a mindless puppet to never sin. It means he has given me freedom and in that freedom I long to avoid sin but He has forever accepted me and forgiven me no matter what happens.

I have believed in Jesus, and I have ETERNAL life (John 3:16). What part of ‘eternal’ means it could end because I could screw up temporarily and blow it? Does my assurance mean I have license to sin? It means I have the unction and power to walk in the Spirit, which is a whole different paradigm coming from a whole new universe.

Thanks  Jim for allowing me to post this.

Jim’s book.

Jim’s website.

Grace and Peace.

Steve.