The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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

The real question is: Are the hindrances from God’s side, or from man’s side? Is God putting up barriers, or is man putting up the barriers (with Satan’s encouragement)?

My understanding is that the “your prayers” in 1 Peter 3:7 is a genitive plural, meaning “you all’s prayers”—the prayers of the couple.

And although we have this promise:

“Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven.” Mt 18:19,

we also have this condition:

*“Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God.” *1 John 3:21.

(This same conditional idea can be seen here:
James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Christians are exhorted by their brethren: “Get right with God!” But we are already right with God. We are the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21. But we do need to get right with other people.)

Sin is not a problem for God: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:19

But sin can still be a problem for us. God is not the legalist, Satan is. The devil still accuses us and condemns us and attacks us—as we open the door to him. But these are not things that* God *does.

Look, many people think that our sin separates us from God, because supposedly God is so scrupulously offended, so legalistic, that He can’t even LOOK at sin, à la Habakkuk 1:13:

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”

But note that earlier Habakkuk has said, “Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (1:3) and then down in 1:13 he’s now saying, “you *cannot *tolerate wrongdoing.”

Huh? You can tolerate? Or cannot tolerate?

After all, God permanently lives in us, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Is He then blind to our sins? *** Is He not* lovingly omnipresent throughout this sinning world?**

When Jesus was hanging on that cross, when he cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” --did God really turn His back on His Son, because he had become sin for us? I say, no, never! Our compassionate, loving heavenly Daddy was, is, and always will be, stretching out open hands to every single person, regardless of how sinful they may be.

Certainly, in his humanity, Jesus may have felt cut off from his Father, BUT he firmly chose to quote the first line of Psalm 22. (Why didn’t he quote the entire psalm? Well, probably because he was suffocating to death.)

But Jesus knew that [size=130]Psalm 22[/size] is a psalm of VICTORY. Sure, the prophet David was initially describing the crucifixion, in great detail, but then **look how it ends: the glorious joy of Jesus! **:

Note: I just found online this most excellent, brief message on Habakkuk 1:13. This “grace teacher,” Steve McVey, makes the point better than I ever could:

Joseph Prince knows there is still sin; we still sin. But,

[size=130]Sin has never been a problem to God because He’s offended, but because[/size] it blocks His love to us!


Sure, I get that. Still, one way or the other, prayers are hindered under those circumstances.

I’m glad we agree :slight_smile:

When a husband sins against his wife, the Holy Spirit will be working to convince him to seek his wife’s forgiveness, so that their fellowship, including prayer together, is not broken through human resentment or human unforgiveness; we are not to give the devil a foothold.

But I don’t believe God has ever had any resentment or unforgiveness against anyone:
“Love keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor 13:5)—whether it gets an apology or not.

(Don’t theological disagreements seem to usually arise from clashing opinions about God’s true nature?)

Hermano - btw, your mention of Christus Victor reminded me to do some reading on it, as I am a ‘low-information’ person on that theory. I found a cheap download for Kindle, bu Aulen. Read about 1/3 of it so far. Very good.

I think you’re right on with that. Most ‘heresies’ (as defined by those who have named themselves 'orthodox) have been centered on the theory of the “two natures” or “the trinity”; but the deepest clashes are on the character of Yahweh - God the Father.

Those who weigh the OT as equal to the NT, and then try to deduce God’s character, are always going to run into insuperable problems. OTOH, taking a basic hermeneutical principle as a guide, many problems are answered, or at least become very clear.

Such as:
“Whatever doctrines seem to us to be clearly taught in the Scriptures; we receive without reserve or exception. We do not, however, attach equal importance to all the books in this collection. Our religion, we believe, lies chiefly in the New Testament. The dispensation of Moses, compared with that of Jesus, we consider as adapted to the childhood of the human race, a preparation for a nobler system, and chiefly useful now as serving to confirm and illustrate the Christian Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the only master of Christians, and whatever he taught, either during his personal ministry, or by his inspired Apostles, we regard as of divine authority, and profess to make the rule of our lives.” - Channing (of course :slight_smile:)

-God is love. 1 John 4:8, 16.
-Love keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Cor. 13:5.

As for keeping records of wrongs, and sending curses: we get blessings from God, but accusations and curses come from Satan. Through men’s sins, he penetrates God’s hedge of protection at every opportunity.

I believe that, with help from an invisible enemy he didn’t recognize or understand, Moses sometimes embellished and distorted what he was hearing from God. However, God has disarmed legalist accuser Satan by nailing his added curses to the cross:

Regarding Moses’ embellishments and filtering of the Word of God, Richard Murray says:

Specifically concerning the Ten Commandments being distorted through Moses, consider this “what if?” email to me from Richard Murray:


An interesting explanation, Hermano! I fully agree that Moses misrepresented God’s character. The way I have explained it in a different Christian forum is that Moses sometimes confused his own thoughts with God’s revelation. I have been raked over the coals for holding this view, I think with the supposition that I don’t believe the word of God.

I happen to agree with you, Paidion. We know that, looking backwards from the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, we are able to spot utterances attributed to God in the O.T.that simply do not fit the later and fuller revelation.

People have always been trying to hear from God–we just have the disability that we hear Him through our own clouds of prejudices and pre-existing “knowledge” through which we interpret His still small voice. The OT authors presumably were human and had the same challenges we have. We actually have an advantage because we can learn from them, and we don’t have to relearn from our own experiences all the things that THEY learned and have shared with us. They were sometimes (often?) wrong, but Jesus sets all the mistakes straight. If the Bible seems to teach anything contrary to the revealed character of God in Christ, then it is either wrong or we are misunderstanding it. JESUS and JESUS only is the definitive revelation of the Father.

another thread here, because I believe it’s relevant to this conversation as well.]

My current thinking is that a lot of the answers to this topic have to do with people learning about, and accepting, their true identity. We were made by a loving God to be objects of His love. But in the Garden, lies came in.

(Speaking of true and false identities, Richard Murray has a most interesting essay titled, Jim Carrey and the Lake of Fire.”)

I appreciate the point that qaz made in the opening of this thread, about the contradiction between Noah being called “righteous,” vs. Paul in Romans quoting Isaiah that, “There is NO ONE righteous, not even one.”

But we should note that a few verses down in that same passage, Paul also quotes Isaiah to say, *“And the way of PEACE they have not known” *(Romans 3:17).

So, perhaps Isaiah and Paul were not referring to every single person everywhere being unrighteous, but to those who did not know “the way of peace.” And we remember that JESUS is prophetically referred to by Isaiah as, “The Prince of PEACE [shalom]” (Isaiah 9:6).

Being “born again” seems to be THE major breakthrough in someone becoming free to recognize, accept, and enjoy his true identity / his righteousness / his being right with God.

Everyone’s true identity is, and always has been, in Jesus our Maker—even though “Jesus” wasn’t clearly recognized by pre-Christian believers.

The god of this age continues to blind people with his lies and accusations. However, the devil was disarmed at the cross, when his works dogma was nailed to it. Col. 2:14-15. Now we are to tell people that the dogma (the legalistic embellishments and threats mistakenly added to God’s communications by Moses, and others) was not from God; from God is only a free invitation to abundant life.

As “evangelical universalists,” we enjoy a better understanding of God’s true nature: that ALL will eventually be saved and make it to heaven—

-Who will have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4.

-The living God, who is the Savior of ALL people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Tim. 4:10.

-For as in Adam all die, so in Christ ALL will be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22.
But, again, just what are people saved from? Lies. Captivity to a false identity.

**So, the problem is in people’s minds, not with God, never with God. ** People need to hear and understand the gracious invitation back to full life in Christ, their true identity.


This is my 2 cents worth (US currency, not CAD or Kangaroo).

If sinning automatically opens the door to Satan in one’s life, i wonder why it was necessary for Paul to authoritatively hand certain sinners, by the power of Christ, and Paul’s spirit, over to Satan for training & destruction (e.g. 1 Cor.5:4-5). And for Paul to command the local church in Corinth to shun this so called “brother”. Shouldn’t the solution have been to preach the gospel of grace to such folks until they “got it” in a real way, which would have resulted in them being set free. Why, instead, act as Paul did, making everyone “sin conscious”? Why not instead preach that “all our sins - past, present and future” have already been forgiven? There seems to be an awful lot of references to sin, leading to sin consciousness, in the NT, including the epistles of Paul. A number of times he even cites long & specific “sin lists”. Not that any of that takes away from the emphasis of many other passages re the saints position in Christ. Though i am not aware of a single passage stating that “all our sins - past, present & FUTURE - are already forgiven” for believers, let alone the whole world. And if that were so, & was accomplished at the cross, then shouldn’t the same apply to unbelievers as well as believers? Also, wouldn’t that be, to use a popular movie title, a “Licence to Kill” & sin?

Regarding 1 John 1:7-10, i’d suggest that confession of sin for the forgiveness of sins (v.9) is simply one way a believer walks in the light (v.7). The implication of v.7 is that if we do not walk in the light, then His blood does not cleanse us from sin:

7 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.

The cleansing of sin is conditioned on a “walk in the light”. Notice the word “if”, which implies those who do not meet this condition are not cleansed.

Likewise verse 9 has a condition (IF we confess our sins) which, if met, results in something positive, namely the forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness:

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Both verses 7 & 9 refer to conditions which, if met, result in cleansing, namely of sin/unrighteouness.

Careful! Some people won’t be happy with that ‘if’! Not happy with repenting, or having faith. In fact any action we take at all - seemingly - is ‘works’.
It befuddles me, is what it does. But since I’m easily befuddled, I won’t do anything other than express it. :smiley:

What is the Scriptural basis for the statement “the moment you sin again you have lost your fellowship with God”? What if the sin is one we are not even aware of? Did not Jesus pray on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”? OTOH if we are aware that we have sinned, does that mean we have “lost fellowship with God”, or does it imply we are in fellowship with God, because He is making us aware that we have sinned? I’d suggest that confession or admission of that sin (to ourselves in our heart rather than with our mouth out loud to God) is generally automatic.

Similarly I’d also question the statement that committing a sin involves losing “the filling of the Holy Spirit”. It may cause the Spirit (and your spirit/conscience) to be grieved, but when you are joined to the Lord, you are “one spirit” with Him (1 Cor.6:17).

Rom.8:31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It seems according to Jesus belief in Him is not any action we take, but a work of God (Jn.6:29). Whether or not the reception of that “work of God” requires our libertarian free will (LFW) choice (IOW simply saying “yes” or, alternatively, “F.O./go to hell”) to God’s grace & light in our life is another issue. The other option is we are like puppets or robots who are unable to take “any action…at all” of the LFW kind & our every movement, thought & feeling is forced upon us & fated or determined ultimately by God & secondarily through various other forces & beings that He uses & controls.

Symbiosis makes sense of the NT teaching, imho. I’ll stick with it.

The topic question is still troubling me. Yes, all our sins are forgiven, past/present/future. God is not counting them against us. NEVERTHELESS, we must and will grow out of our sins. Clinging to, continuing to commit those sins, we can’t be in “heaven” any more than darkness can exist in the presence of the sun. If darkness does come into the presence of the sun, it is not darkness any longer, but light. If you go into the true and unadulterated presence of our God, who is light, who is life, who is a consuming fire–darkness will no longer BE in you. Does it hurt for the darkness to be eradicated? I don’t know. I’m going to say a qualified… “Probably it does,” depending on whether we cling to it, on how strong a hold it has on us, how deeply its talons are clutching our essence. That’s just my speculation. It hurts to get rid of cancer, but that’s no reason not to do it. It hurts MORE to cling to either cancer OR (especially) to cling to sin.

So, now that I’ve got that off my chest–to the current conversation:

I know this is a difficult concept for us humans to “get.” I’ve struggled with it for years and decades and I still do. Do we humans have something to do towards our becoming righteous, or does God do it all? I guess the answer to that is, “Yes.”

I’m thinking that when God breathed the breath of life (rationality?) into Adam’s body, we maybe became “infected” with that symbiote that would eventually bring us into the likeness of Christ. We can fight it; we can keep on sinning; we can jeer at “religion;” we can insist we are quite capable of being “good” on our own without God’s life; we can live lives of complete or partial depravity; we can cooperate with God and possibly even speed up our maturation; we can fight Him and surely slow it down, but the seed has been planted. Our fate is sealed. We are His children and unlike human parents, God does not lack wisdom, understanding, power, love to bring us ultimately to a state of maturity and likeness to His prototypical human being; His Son, Jesus the Anointed. The death of Christ puts the final nail in the coffin of the beast nature–in dying to the flesh for one and all of us. We can no longer follow the flesh. It was meant always to be our servant and not our master (which is the state of the beasts). We are not separated beings–body, soul, spirit as some say–but one. Nevertheless, there is a right order, and that right order is the opposite: spirit, soul, body. The flesh makes a most excellent servant (especially one day when it is no longer dying) but it makes a terrible master.

I’m just musing here, inspired by Dave’s comment about symbiosis. If it makes no sense, ignore it.

Cindy, what does “forgive” mean? Many people think it simply means to “pardon” someone, that is to hold no ill feelings toward him, and to require no restitution. You can pardon a person who is unrepentant.

Others consider “forgiveness” as a response to repentance as Jesus taught:

When the offender repents (has a change of heart and mind) concerning his offence, the person against whom he has sinned can grant true forgiveness, which includes pardon, but also involves a restoration of relationship with the offender. For the person sinned against, it’s just as if the offender had never sinned against him.

Either way, I cannot see God granting forgiveness or even pardon to us for present and future sins until we repent. For if He does, He would be saying that we are acceptable in His sight just as we are, and that it is unnecessary for us to repent. God accepts us as ongoing sinners.

However, I think this is false. Christ died to DELIVER us from sin, and until we are delivered, He will administer whatever correction that is necessary. And when we have been corrected then He will forgive us and our relationship with Him will be restored.

For what it’s worth. Here’s the Calvinist, Got Questions site answer:

What is forgiveness?


I was thinking of this:

So from that, I guess you’d say that while God isn’t counting sins against us (from His point of view, all is forgiven), that doesn’t do us any good until we receive and act on the message of reconciliation. OTOH, Jesus also said “All that the Father has given me WILL come to me, and I will in no wise cast them out.” (That’s only from memory, but I have the gist of it I think.) He also said, “No man can come to me except the Father has granted it to him.” It sounds like it’s not entirely at our own volition (unless I’m misunderstanding this) that we accept the message of reconciliation and become reconciled to the Father. Maybe it’s simply a matter of His calling us when He knows we’re ready to listen and obey, and of us not being able to come until He calls us (we need that enabling grace in order to begin/make the journey into Christ?)

I’m also thinking of the Prodigal Son, who isn’t (in the parable) even showing signs of embarrassment, let alone remorse, for what he did to his father and his family’s honor by demanding his inheritance (in essence, I’m told–in that culture–implying that he wished his father dead)–and also taking the money which ought to have been used to further the family’s good and to care for his parents in their old age–and using that money for his own selfish and degraded pleasures. He was guilty of far more than behaving against his own best interests. It always bothered me that the father didn’t even let him get his confession out (poor as it looked like being) before completely reinstating him (robe, sandals, ring). But that’s what the father did… and most people feel the father in the parable is a symbol of God. That young man came home because he was starving and homeless and friendless. Nothing in the parable suggests he felt remorse for what he had done to his family and especially to his father. Apparently just showing up was enough in that case, even with what appears to be purely selfish motivation.

I’m NOT arguing against what you said, by the way. I think you make really good points–salient points that add important depth and perspective to the topic. I just want to toss everything relevant that I can think of into the mix, and also explain where I’m at in the topic although that’s hard to do. I’d love to sit down over coffee and have a long discussion with you and the others here and hash all this out–whether or not we ended up agreeing. I think it would be a lot easier that way.

There’s so much in the scriptures (particularly the NT) that seems impossible–yet we are asked to believe–such as we (or at any rate, Paul) was/were crucified with Christ. If a person wants to take this in (for lack of better words) a spiritually literal way, something of US was there with Christ on that cross. Otherwise I guess it’s figurative. I just don’t think time is a thing with God. He can place us in Christ on the cross (2K years ago) even from here in our own “when” and our own “where.” The Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus died on the cross around 30 AD or so; if your neighbor tomorrow repents and believes the gospel, he WAS placed in/with Christ on the cross in 30±AD. You could run with all these things as metaphorical, but they don’t have to be. Time/Space, I would contest, is not a THING with God. According to Einstein and his fellow physicists, it’s not a thing at all. WE apparently live in it only because it’s the way we perceive reality. I can’t explain very well and I certainly don’t understand the maths, but I feel it is somehow true despite that I don’t understand it.

Based on all these things, I think that forgiveness IS (in the timeless sense) given from the foundations of the world and all through what we perceive as time–all at once, radiating out across all time, from the cross. We DO need to receive it, or if we don’t, so far as we’re concerned, we’re no better off. But from God’s POV, it is finished. When we accept the invitation (with God’s necessary enabling invitation/grace), we will find ourselves always to have been forgiven. So will everyone else, as THEY receive and accept the Father’s invitation.

I’ve done the best I can and no doubt I’ve stumbled in my words many times. That said, Paidion, I think that you and I are in agreement for the most part–at least on this topic (though I think if I remember right, that we DO disagree on the ‘time’ thing. :wink: Not that that part of it really matters.)

Blessings, Cindy

Hi Cindy. I truly appreciate your openness and humility in discussing these matters.

I see this as follows. Disciples of Christ are to share the message of reconciliation with others. That message is to be reconciled to God through submission to His Son. When a person has been reconciled to God, He doesn’t hold their blunders against them. As I understand the Greek word translated as “trespasses” the meaning is “unintentional blunders.”

Sometimes, out in the countryside, hunters unintentionally trespass on the property of others. Most property owners, if they realize that the trespassing was unintentional, will not hold the trespassing against those who blundered onto their property.

This is quite a different matter from the idea that God overlooks or pardons intentional sin without the sinner’s repentance.