Saturday, June 28, 2008

They are already gone!

I wrote an email response to an individual recently who expressed the thought that we must pray to God to have a sin forgiven. Jesus will then take that sin upon Himself. This person then said that if we accept Jesus we will be forgiven. I had the following to say in response:

I would comment that some of the statements in your second paragraph would be better expressed differently. No doubt, the Lord wants us to pray seeking forgiveness from Him for all prayer is effectively acknowledging the one who is the source of that which we seek. God provides our forgiveness. We seek it from Him. However, the conditional statement: "But if we pray to God in Jesus' name, Jesus will take that sin upon himself and will plead to God on our behalf" is going down a path that can lead to problems. That suggests that Jesus keeps getting new sins piled on Him as time goes on. In fact, when Jesus died on the cross, He took on all sins of all people for all time. His work is already complete. The sins are gone - those in the past and those to come in the future. Jesus doesn't need to do anything further for us in regard to taking our sins away.

I'll take this even further, even though I might light off another firestorm on this list by doing so. Since Jesus has already taken our sins away, then praying for forgiveness is not a requirement for those sins to be forgiven. It is not that praying for such is bad, but we need to come to realization that we cannot do it perfectly. If you think you can pray for the forgiveness of each of your sins, then you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you. We cannot know all of our sins and we will never perfectly confess all our sins. Thus, the fact that Jesus already took care of them is a great comfort to us. It means that forgiveness does not depend upon what we do. That forgiveness is a free gift already given to all people. Many will reject that gift. Then they will be sentenced to eternal punishment for their rejection. Of our own free will we can never "accept" the gift but we are very capable of rejecting it. Only the Holy Spirit can bring us to a position of recognizing the gift we already have. Through the channel of faith, the Holy Spirit brings us to the full knowledge that Jesus has already taken our sins away and we are free! May you be blessed with a certainty of knowing your sins have been removed already nearly 2000 years ago!