Forgiveness of Sins
Let’s start by laying down some foundational principles concerning the forgiveness of sins:
1. Sin is a transgression of God’s will -
Either by omitting to do what God’s law requires or by doing what it forbids.
The transgression can occur in thought (1 John 3:15), word (Matt 5:22), or deed (Rom 1:32).
2. The wages of sin is death – Rom 6:23
A) Disobedience of God’s will deserves spiritual death, forfeiture of spiritual life, separation from God. – Eze 18:4.
(When Adam and Eve sinned, they spiritually died that very day although they physically died much later) - Gen 2:17.
B) Because of Adam’s sin, all of mankind is physically born spiritually dead – Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1
C) Physical death (loss of physical life) is a picture of spiritual death (loss of spiritual life).
D) According to scripture, the life of the flesh is in the blood – Lev 17:11.
E) So, what sin earns is spiritual death, represented by physical death through the shedding of blood. Therefore, whenever
someone sins, they deserve spiritual separation from God (spiritual death) and physical death.
This is why disobedience to the Law was punishable by death.
3. God created man to have fellowship and be in union with Himself and does not desire for anyone to remain separate from Him – John 3:16.
A) The goal of salvation is restore mankind to fellowship and eternal union with God – John 17:3.
4. But because sin had separated man from God, sins had to be dealt with. God’s righteousness, holiness and justice demand that sin be punished through forfeiture of life.
A) In mercy to mankind, God provided forgiveness of sins – Mark 2:7.
B) God provided forgiveness of sins by the shedding of blood – Heb 9:22.
C) Man receives the forgiveness that God provides by exercising faith in that shedding of blood.
5. God instituted two means of providing forgiveness to sinners,both through the shedding of innocent blood – Heb 9:22.
A) The sacrificial death of animals in the Old Testament.
B) The sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament.
6. Under the Old Testament (Covenant), God allowed for the substitution of an animal’s life and blood for that of man.
A) Animal blood covered (atoned for) the sins of the people but did not take the sins away – Heb 10:11; Heb 10:4.
This atonement was mainly done once a year by the high priest on the Day of Atonement.
B) Because of this, and because the blood of animals could not make the people righteous,
God took no pleasure in these sacrifices – Heb 10:6,8.
C) Old Covenant sacrifices pointed to Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice. In fact, all sins committed
under the Law were paid for by Christ’s shed blood at the cross – Heb 9:15.
7. Under the New Testament (Covenant), God, in mercy, accepted the substitution of Jesus Christ’s perfect life and sinless blood for that of all mankind, those born before the cross and after.
A) Christ’s death provided for the reconciliation of the whole world to God – 2 Cor 5:19.
B) Christ’s death, being our propitiation, takes away the sins of all mankind – Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10.
Christ did not atone for sins. His blood does not cover sins the way the blood of bulls and goats did.
Christ’s blood takes away the sin issue between God and man – John 1:29; Rom 3:25; Heb 9:26; Heb 10:4,11; 1 John 3:5.
C) So, Christ’s death and shedding of blood on the cross becomes the focal point of the whole forgiveness issue.
His precious blood took away all sins for all people for all time.
This was an eternal act of God, being executed in time but not bound by time – Heb 4:3.
8. The forgiveness of sins, provided for at the cross is found in Christ. It is received when we repent and come to Christ, placing our faith and trust in Him as our sacrifice and Savior. If we are in Christ, we have forgiveness. It is part of the act of redemption. In fact, twice Paul defines redemption as the forgiveness of sins.
‘In Him (Christ) we have redemption, the forgiveness of our trespasses - Eph 1:7.
In Whom (Christ) we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins - Col 1:14.
As such, forgiveness of sins, for the sinner, is received at salvation.
This is total forgiveness for all sins – past, present, and future.
So for the unbeliever forgiveness is found and received in Christ, For the believer the forgiveness of sins is something that he possesses in Christ. He received it when he received Christ. All of our sins were in the future from the cross when Christ shed His precious blood to take them away.
Where and when were our sins forgiven? At the cross.
How were they forgiven? By the shedding of Christ’s blood.
Hebrews 9:22 makes it clear that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
If there was more forgiveness to be executed on our behalf when we commit a sin, what would Christ have to do?
He will not shed His blood again. He will not die again. Once was enough.
1 Pet 3:18 – ‘Christ died for sins once for all’.
Heb 9:24-28 – ‘He has appeared once for all…Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people’.
Heb 10:10-14 – ‘the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins…by one sacrifice’. It is finished!
Let’s look at a few scriptures that were written after the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross and see how they describe forgiveness for the believer:
Acts 10:43 – ‘…Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.’
Acts 26:18 – ‘…That they may receive forgiveness of sins…’
Eph 4:32 – ‘…Forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.’
Col 2:13 – ‘…Having forgiven us all our transgressions.’
Col 3:13 – ‘…Forgiving each other…just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.’
Heb 10:17,18 – ‘And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
1 John 2:12 – ‘…Your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.’
Is there any other offering/sacrifice for sin?
Not according to Hebrews 10:18. Christ’s offering was completely sufficient to take away the sin issue
between God and man. We need to rest in that. There should be nothing stopping you from responding to this amazing grace and receiving New Life in Christ!
Complete and total forgiveness has been achieved for all, it just hasn't been received by all. We need to be thankful for His once for all sacrifice and proclaim the Good News to the world.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Ephesians 1:7
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that 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. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:18-22