The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Are all our sins—past, present, and future—already forgiven?

#1

Your sins and lawless deeds I will by no means remember! Hebrews 10:17.
Today at WND.com, I made the case that we Christians do not need to seek forgiveness from God. Someone called “DukeUSA” had made this comment:

And I responded:

PS I see that on another thread, AndrewJ78 has asked, “Should we continually confess our sins? Or did Jesus take away sin on the cross? Do we still have to acknowledge sin? Thoughts?”

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Should we continually confess our sins?
The Purge: Election Year, Hypocrisy, and The Nature Of God
#2

Time to ask a dumb question, Hermano, If this is true, Christ taught us how to pray, what has become the Lord’s prayer. Why are these words there:

Or as this article points out:

Most Bible translations use the word “debts” in the Lord’s Prayer, so why do we say “forgive us our trespasses”?

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#3

The New Covenant began with death of Jesus, not before. Bear in mind that most of what Jesus is quoted as saying, he was saying to people under the Law. In the Sermon on the Mount, lusting became adultery; anger became murder. Jesus was jerking the “works rug” from under his listeners’ feet and pointing them to the grace of God, himself, the savior of all mankind.

The New Covenant says, “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col 3:13). There is no more “forgive in order to be forgiven.” We forgive because we ourselves were completely forgiven at the cross.

Let me add these distinctions about grace and legalism. The Ten Commandments were part of a ministry that brought death and condemnation. The ministry of the Spirit brings righteousness. Through the death of Christ, the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

Legalism is a system of living in which a person tries to make spiritual progress, and gain God’s blessings, based on what they do. Legalism is focused on behavior and is therefore an achieving system. Legalism is the opposite of grace.

Grace is a system of living in which God blesses us because we are in Jesus Christ—and for no other reason at all. Grace is focused on our spiritual birth and is therefore a receiving system.

Legalism says, “Do. Do. Do.” Grace says, “Done. Done. Done.” Jesus has done it all. Let us strive to enter, and remain in, his Sabbath Rest.

Let me further add that as for spiritual rest, it does not mean inactivity. Paul said that he worked harder than other people, because of grace (1 Cor 15:10). I am learning that life is not about earning and striving, but about receiving and sharing.

I commend to you Isaiah 53, which foretold how the Messiah would TAKE sin and suffering, and GIVE righteousness and shalom (shalom being variously translated as “health,” “prosperity,” “contentment,” “safety,” “friendship,” and “peace”). This is sometimes referred to as The Divine Exchange.

Blessings.

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#4
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#5

Good quotes, St. Michael! That says it all!

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#6

Re: 1 John 1.8,9

If we say we have no sin…what does this mean? That we deny that we have ever committed a sin; or does it mean that we deny that we commit any sins even as a regenerated person?

Cleanse us from all unrighteousness…what does this mean? That the sins we confess are forgiven; or that inwardly we are somehow delivered from our sins and the inclination thereto?

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#7

I’ll add 2 Cor 7

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#8

St. Michael, regarding your graphics of James 5:16, the Lord’s prayer (Mat 6:9-15, Luke 11:2-4), and 1 John 1:8-9—I believe I *essentially *addressed those verses in my original post, and in my response to Holy-Fool-P-Zombie, above.

Please (re)consider my reasoning, because based on it, my assertion stands: Christians do not need to seek forgiveness from God.

Blessings.

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#9

Hermano, 2 Cor says repentance leads to salvation.

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#10

qaz, I don’t see why you are pointing to 2 Cor 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I’m asserting that Christians—people who are saved—don’t need to seek forgiveness from God.

Certainly, we are to be honest with Him about our sins; and we are to thank Him for our forgiveness.

Certainly, we are to seek forgiveness from other people against whom we sin, and not let the devil get a foothold.

As James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

And Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

And Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Under this New Covenant, our forgiveness is a done deal. At the top of this thread, I quoted DukeUSA. This person insists that the moment we sin, we are thrown out of fellowship with God, and that the only way to get it back is by naming our sins to Him, as per their application of 1 John 1:9 to Christians. I don’t know about you, but I sin pretty often. I think the more seriously you take that idea, the more neurotic you are likely to become.

I insist our righteousness is a free and permanent gift. It is the enemy who wants us to feel condemned and cut off by our sins, not God.

Here are some further ideas, from Paul Ellis, to help distinguish our secure, eternal, right standing in Christ:

**You were forgiven through His blood. **
Your works don’t come into it. Under the old covenant law, there could be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Heb 9:22). What the law prefigured, Christ fulfilled. At the Last Supper Jesus explained the basis of our forgiveness:
*“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” *Mat 26:28.
Note the absence of any qualifiers. Jesus did not say, “…provided they confess first.” It’s His blood from start to finish.

You were forgiven completely for all time. Jesus will never go to the cross again.
“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” Heb 10:12.
Jesus’ death on the cross was a once-off sacrifice offered for all time. It was perfectly perfect in every respect and there is nothing you can do to improve upon it. Those who take 1 John 1:9 as their justification for trying to earn what we’ve already been given, need to pay more careful attention to what John is saying: the blood of Jesus purifies us from “all sin” (1:7) and cleanses us from “all unrighteousness” (1:9). All means all. “All sin” includes the sins we haven’t done yet and all the sins we have never confessed.

Your sins are long gone.
“But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Heb 9:26b.
In the Bible, the word “forgive” literally means to send away. You sin hasn’t merely been overlooked, it has been abolished (AMP), put away (ASV), and removed (GNB). Neither has God put away your sins in the same way that you might put your rubbish in a bin by the back door – close by and smelly. He has removed them from you as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12). If you were to go looking for your sins, you wouldn’t find them. They’re gone! They’ve all been blotted out (Is 44:22).

God chooses to forget your sin.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb 8:12. God does not impute our trespasses to us (2 Cor 5:19).

Confessing-to-be-forgiven puts us under law.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14). “…The strength of sin is the law.” 1 Cor 15:56.

Confessing-to-be-forgiven keeps us from God.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience…” (Heb 10:19,22)
Another argument which is sometimes used to justify confession is that it restores our fellowship with God. Confessing our faults is certainly a good idea when we sin against each other (James 5:16). But don’t make the mistake of relating to God on human terms.

We’re called to be Christ-conscious, not sin-conscious.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3)
Confessing-to-be-forgiven distracts us from the purpose of life which is to know and enjoy God our Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Confession tends to make us introspective and gloomy. When you look at all you’ve done wrong, how could you not get depressed? Our heavenly Father doesn’t want us to live like that. God didn’t send His Son to make us self-aware but Christ-aware.

From 12 Reasons Why Christians Don’t Need to Confess-to-be-Forgiven by Paul Ellis

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#11

That was a big ‘aha’ moment for me not long ago. I mean it’s obvious, but I never stopped to consider that every sin I could ever commit was in the future when Chris took to the cross.
I also learned about what the scriptures say about rightly dividing the word. The Lord’s prayer given to his disciples can be easily be prayed in light of Jesus’ finished work at the cross. You don’t have to use a legalistic lense to see the prayer as something you must to to earn forgiveness.
As to the sharing of the 1 John verse, nobody who believes in the finished work of Christ is claiming they are without sin. Christ still gets all the credit.

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#12

We need to cease our concerns about forgiveness. The purpose of Jesus’ death is not about forgiveness—it is about deliverance from wrongdoing. Jesus forgave people while he walked this earth. He didn’t have to die first in order to forgive them.

However, deliverance (or “salvation” if you will) from sin is a life-long process, a process that God performs with our coöperation.

If we expect to receive the grace of God without our coöperation, it will be in vain. We will not receive it. Sin must be overcome; we must become actually righteous. To continue to be delivered from sin is what it means to stay on the Narrow Path that leads to life.

Yes, He will bring it to completion, but not unilaterally. God will not do it without us, and we cannot do it without Him. The usual way to avoid our responsibility in the process, is to affirm that “Our sins are forgiven—past, present, and future.” With this belief there is nothing we need do, but to await our presumed position in heaven. Since our future sins are forgiven, we can go on sinning with impunity—we’ll be all right anyway since God loves us and has forgiven us. As I see it, this stance is the worst, and most destructive, of all false teaching.

I quote again these wonderful words of the apostle Paul, who clearly indicates the purpose of the grace of God—to save us from sin, to train us to renounce impiety, to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, to be delivered from all lawlessness (living our lives as we please, with no authority beyond ourselves), and to purify for Christ a people of his own who are zealous for good works. But it is not going to happen without our coöperation in the process.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

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#13

Hermano’s position reminded me of the Baptist (I believe that is the denomination) position of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” And the Protestant site - Got Questions - gives their input on that position:

Once saved always saved?

My first question I ask here is this, when I encounter a new or different theological position:

Hermano’s position of “Once forgiven, always forgiven” is **not any stranger then **“Once saved always saved”. Of course, I disagree with both perspectives.

But some position’s here, don’t really have a contemporary and/or historical antecedent. For example:

With Antecedent

Davo’s Preterist view really does have an historical and even contemporary antecedent (i.e. Partial Presterist in Church Of Christ)

And I can even find this discussed, in the Protestant site - Got Questions:

Is partial preterism biblical? What do partial preterists believe?

Without Antecedent

Now Eusebius “total theological determinism” really has no Antecedent to it. He would point to Martin Luther (for will) and John Calvin (for sovereignty). But the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin is completely different, from what Eusebius is presenting.

So I will ask this question to you, Hermano:

And let me throw out another original position, to counter those of Eusebuis and Hermano:

Now I **might **feel if universalism is true, it will really unfold, as a combination of the Left Behind, Christian book/video series, and the Walking Dead zombie series on AMC. Where God takes the saved immediately to heaven. Those who have some redeeming elements, remain on earth as humans - during the tribulation. The rest turn to zombies. And the humans have to battle both zombies and bad people - controlling things. Until Christ comes and rescues everyone - including the zombies. It’s actually a combination of 3 theological positions: Left Behind Series, P-Zombie (becoming subhuman - N. T. Wright), with univeralism as the end point. And the same scenario must occur in Hades - at the same time.

And it solves the free will problem quite nicely - for universalism. The best (humans) will make the right choice - God’s way. And the P-Zombies (the worst), are neither with “will” or are “free”. So when they are restored, there’s no free will for them to worry about - as P-Zombies. Problem solved. :exclamation: :laughing:

or

youtube.com/watch?v=vggzqXzEvZ0

And what I am presenting here, is every bit as solid, as what Eusebuis and Hermano (along with some others) are presenting. And let me dedicate a Zombie love song - to my theological position:

or

youtube.com/watch?v=YCVMuevcCvY

So I will ask this question to you, Hermano:

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#14

Holy-Fool-P-Zombie, “Once forgiven, always forgiven,” but repentance [changing our minds] will be an ongoing thing as we grow in our walks. As to historical antecedents, I know you’re a good researcher. Would you help me out there?

Paidion, I believe that NOTHING “in all creation” can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:39. Even if we make our bed in hell, behold, He is there. Ps 139:8.

You say,

“Nothing we need do”? “Go on sinning”? Aren’t those the same kind of arguments used against universalism?

But Christ’s** love compels us** (2 Cor 5:14), doesn’t it, Paidion?

Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:38.

Jesus was motivated by love, not the fear of hell. We should go and do likewise.

Jesus commanded the disciples: *“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” *Mat 10:8.

They obeyed. Need I remind you that was before the cross? The disciples weren’t even born again until after the Resurrection: * "And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” *John 20:22.

Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do* even greater things than these**, because I am going to the Father.”* John 14:12.

You may ask, “why aren’t we seeing this happen in our day?”

My suggested explanation: we are believing and sharing a gospel diluted with legalism. A gospel that attempts to mix grace with works. (Not to mention, a fire insurance gospel.)

As Paul said,* “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—“* Gal 1:6.

The Gospel is grace. Jesus is grace. It is called, “the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24.

Consider why the Lord confirmed the message of Paul and Barnabas with signs and wonders:

“So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.” Acts 14:3.

Catch that description of their message? More grace leads to more confirming signs and wonders.

There’s a lot to do, brothers. We may be older, but as we read in Romans 8:10,* “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."*

Yours truly.

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#15

The prayer and confession in context is a daily thing “our daily bread”. Confession and forgiveness go together. We can see this when we take all the scriptures together. It’s for healing and forgiveness.

We pray daily. How?

Every day we ask God to forgive us and give us our daily bread.

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#16

Hi, Hermano. If I put “Once forgiven, always forgiven”, into Google or Bing, I really don’t see any entry agreeing 100% with it (on Google or Bing). If I was going to argue for that position, I would side with the position: “One saved, always saved”. It’s an established theological position. Here’s one entry to support it:

Once Saved, Always Saved

You can put the words “One saved, always saved”, into Google or Bing, for more articles (i.e. both pro and con). So if we agree with “One saved, always saved”, then you would not be faulted for the position - “Once forgiven, always forgiven”. As long as you believe in Jesus Christ, as a personal savior.

Now two sites I sometimes share material from - Protestant sites Got Questions and CARM - both agree with it.

Got Questions - Once saved always saved?
CARM - What is once saved always saved?

To put it into a universalist perspective, it means this. All will eventually be saved, according to universalism. But if you side with the position “once saved, always saved”, your salvation is secure and can’t be lost. So as long as you believe in Christ, as a personal savior. Then the position “once forgiven, always forgiven”, is inconsequential. But please realize, not all Protestant churches (as well as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), would side with this position (i.e. “once saved, always saved”).

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#17

Hi Hermano
I really think that, with few exceptions, most people enter a debate with a (perhaps secret/subconscious) desire for one side to win. Whether I am correct in that or not, if I read my heart rightly, my ‘desire’ is for your side of this debate to be true.
However, you say:

I honestly can’t see that from the text.
The text seems to clearly say that our forgiveness is conditional on our confession:

I don’t see that verse 7 contradicts this conditionality:

(again this has a condition of ‘walking in the light’)
the simplest explanation which maintains the harmony of both verses is to conclude that ‘walking in the light’ involves confessing our sins
[Footnote, neither do I see the condition of confessing in any way meaning that our confession is the thing that has EARNED our forgiveness as you say but I’m not too bothered about what I see as a side issue.]
If I am mistaken I would appreciate your help in pointing out where my misunderstanding lies.

You also say:

But you, Turtlejoy, and Paul Ellis along with a host of others are not following the diluted legalistic gospel so you must be seeing these ‘greater works’ ie the lame, blind, paralised etc instantly and supernaturally healed? If this is the case then it certainly gives me even more reason to hope that what you are saying is true. Are you living in that daily reality and has the news reached the social media yet?

Paidion, you say:

What do you make of the following text?:

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#18

Yes, and they are quite valid arguments are used against classical Universalism, the kind that says that Christ satisfied the wrath of an angry God, or “paid the price” so that everyone gets off the hook scot free. I oppose classical Universalism just as much as the eternal-torment people do. For classical Universalists do injustice to God’s character by affirming that He is a retributive God that will surely make everyone suffer unless He is appeased, and the only way He can be appeased is to make a wholly righteous person suffer—namely His Son. It is because of this false teaching that I do not identify myself as a Universalist. God requires righteousness, and He will continue to work with the unrighteous (with their coöperation)I Peter 2:24 He himself endured our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. I will continue to quote the passages written by Peter and Paul and the writer to the Hebrews as long as their are readers who mistake the purpose of Christ’s death.

*Peter 2:24 He himself endured our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

II Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Heb 9:26 …he has appeared once for all at the end of the age for the abolition of sin by the sacrifice of himself. until their characters are altered and they become righteous.

God doesn’t need Christ’s death in order to forgive anyone. Forgiveness comes automatically to those who repent and come under the authority of God and His Messiah. *

I truly believe in the eventual reconciliation of all people to God, as the NT writers affirm. But this reconciliation of all will require correction for the vast majority of humanity.

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#19

https://leakygrammar.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/no-miracles-in-science-please.jpg

There was once a Christian missionary, who gave a talk. He talked about seeing miracles of healing of incurable disease, etc. in Africa. But he never witnessed it in America. When someone asked him why, he replied that they believed miracles still take place today - in the African countries and regions, he visited.
And I was at a Catholic service, where a woman talked about going to Lourdes. She was healed of incurable brain cancer. And the Catholic doctors and scientists, investigate these cases - with a fine tooth comb.
And I can share first hand cases, my Greek Orthodox friend has shared, regarding living saints - in the Greek Orthodox church.
Etc.
And that’s not counting those outside the Christian church (i.e. Indigenous Holy People and medicine men and woman, Islamic Sufis, Christian Science practitioners, etc.), whom I feel God grants them the gift of miracles and healing - just like he does with Roman catholic and Eastern Orthodox saints, Charismatic church goers, etc.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7m_VGOSRTQTZVGeT3FE-RC0SUWqcGGUi-zk-wY0eHwePNzagR

**But I would add this. **Don’t give up traditional and complimentary medicine, even if you have access to miracles. God works miracles both supernaturally and by science. Luke was a physician and never ceased being one, even though he knew about the miracles of Christ, Paul and the apostles.

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#20

Truly, I understand why you would ask me this question. But as I see it, it is an error to translate “αφεσις” (aphesis) in this context as “forgiveness.” Indeed, the Online Bible program in its lexicon, gives its first meaning as, “release from bondage or imprisonment.” Jesus died to deliver us from sin—to provide "“release from bondage or imprisonment.” I do not claim that “αφεσις” never means “forgiveness” but it frequently doesn’t. This noun is derived from the verb “αφιημι” and one of the primary meanings of that verb is to “leave” or “depart from.” For example, it is used in the statement that Jesus left (or “forsook”) the crowds, and went up into the mountains to pray.

I would translate the verse you quoted as:

As recorded in Luke 4:18, Jesus said he had come to “To set in aphesis those who are oppressed.” NO translation renders this that he came to “set in forgiveness those who are oppressed.” Oppressed people don’t need forgiveness; they need to leave, to get away from, or to be set free from those who oppress them. The NJKV has it “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Most translators have a similar rendering. A few translators render it “to send away those who are oppressed.” This is also a possibility. The verse you quoted could also be translated as:

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