When the church gathered last night we had some incredible discussions. I love being in a community where we can openly share our convictions, we can agree, we can disagree agreeably, we can share life and learn and grow – together. I struggle to think of things that are better in this life than family and close friends.
Part of the conversation was around what I would call a Gospel Game Changer. These are things I’ve learned about the Gospel that created major paradigm shifts in my thinking and understanding of the Good News. In fact, I’ve discovered that many of these truths turn out to be the opposite of what I originally believed. In every case, they have made the Good News gooder (since I’m making up a word here, would that be one “d” or two?)
Here’s the game changer we talked about last night –
We do not have to confess every single sin as we commit them to recieve God’s forgiveness.
But what about, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9 ESV)?
These are the verses usually used to say we must confess our “sins” to be forgiven. That’s true, but how many times? Does it not say that when we confess “ALL unrighteousness” has been cleansed?
Let’s also look at the verse immediately before these, “But 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 cleanses us from ALL sin.” (1 John 1:7 ESV) How many sins are covered? All of them. In fact, “cleanses” in the Greek is in the present perfect tense, which should be translated, “Is continually cleansing us of all sin.”
The writer of Hebrews contrasts what it looks like to be reminded of our sins “year after year” and “day after day” (and having to do something about them – offer a sacrifice or confess), versus what Jesus (who is the Good News) has accomplished on our behalf:
“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.
Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.” (Hebrews 10:1-3, 11-12, 14-18 NLT)
Wow! No need for any more sacrifice! The work is completed by Christ’s perfect sacrifice. The equivalent to “animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sin” for us on this side of the cross is “confession for forgiveness of sin.”
When we believe that Jesus has paid it all on our behalf and that His declaration that “it is finished” is true, we will see that we need only make this confession one time. We are then covered by the perfect life, death, and resurrection of our living Savior. All our sins are “remembered no more.” We are set free in Christ, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)
Today’s Good News is that when you, by faith, believe Jesus is who He said He is – the Son of God who came NOT TO JUDGE but to rescue (John 3:17), this is the confession that brings about utter and total forgiveness for ALL your sins – past, present and future. If you struggle with the idea that Jesus has already forgiven you for your future sins, consider this – how many of your sins were future sins when Christ went to the cross? The answer, all of them – He has them all covered. And that’s a game changer – and really Good News.
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