Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P22 (09-27-21)
Understanding Forgiveness in Light of the Full Gospel, in Light of What God Accomplished in Christ for Us, to Live Under a New Covenant of Grace, as a Complete Person, with the Spirit of God Living in Us
Join Bob George as he teaches about the grace of God.
How many times do we see people stream down the aisles in order to receive Christ where their only understanding was I am going to come down to keep from going to hell? Then you leave that experience like you would on the day of atonement feeling good, but then the big question comes. What happens when I sin tomorrow or on the way back to the pew? I went forward and got my sins forgiven, but I just sinned on the way back to the pew. Then there is someone who will quote 1 John 1:9 as necessary to stay in fellowship with God, that you must ask God to forgive you when you sin. In other words, you just negated what you did at the altar. The reason for that is because we are looking at forgiveness as a single issue instead of it being a part of a huge issue. We are looking at it as an end in itself instead of a piece accomplishing an end to something even bigger. Christ did not come to earth to get men out of hell into heaven. He came to get Himself out of heaven back into men. He came to restore in us what we lost in Adam, that being the life of God living in us. In order to restore man to life He had to deal with what killed us, sin. Once He did that He is now in a position of offering us life, and in that life is where it says we have forgiveness.
Let me give you a passage to beat that out, so you do not just think you are just hearing what I am talking about.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
We were bought back to God through His blood. Some of you have been to a redemption center. What do you do at a redemption center? You turn in a free stamp and you get a toaster. You turn something in that does not have much value but it has value at a redemption center. It has the value of a toaster. Another thing you can call that is an exchanged life. I am exchanging something at a redemption center. I give them a green stamp and in exchange they give me a toaster.
When we come to Christ, it is an exchanged life. Do not expect your life to change until you have experienced the exchange. What is the exchanged life? I turn everything that I am, nothing, in exchange to get everything He is, everything. I turn into him all of the rejection of the world, whether it be from my mother or father, from my background, from my schoolmates, whatever it is, all of the rejection of the world and who has not been rejected and who has not experienced rejection. In this world you will have tribulation and part of that is insult, injury and rejection. On the other side of the coin, how many of us have never injured someone else or rejected someone else or insulted someone else? You have been rejected and you have rejected others. You have been insulted and you have insulted others. You have been damaged and you have damaged others. To sit down in a pity party on how you have been damaged without dealing with those you have damaged is a one way street. That is only one half of the coin. I turn in all of that rejection of the world in order to receive all of the acceptance from God Himself. I turn in my inadequacies in order to receive His adequacy. I turn in my stupid thinking in order to receive the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
I think back on the days when I used to sit in the bars in California and I think of some of the conversations I used to have that I thought were so brilliant. I tell you that was total insanity. It sounded so smart at the time. To be able to turn that in, those dumb green stamps, turn them in to God, and in exchange to receive His mind of wisdom is still today the most mind-boggling thing that I experienced in my Christian life, the exchanged life. I gave Him all that I am, nothing, and He gave me all that He is, everything. I give Him my life, temporal, and He gives me His life, eternal. The whole deal is bought back in Him.
Where is that redemption? In Him, through His blood. He provided all this for me. In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Is that in accordance with the riches of your confession? No. It is in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, that He lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding. Did God understand us? Yes. Did He have wisdom, wanting to save us, according to Him? Yes. Did He desire to do so? Yes. Was it all a part of a master plan with wisdom far above anything we could ever truly enter into? Yes. Absolutely. It was that grace of God that He lavished on us with all the wisdom of God and the understanding of God that we can’t but He also can and therefore, He did.
I ask people this question and you can listen to this time after time. In Him, we have redemption through His blood. How many of you ask God to redeem you every day? No, not me. He already did. How many of you ask God to forgive you every day? And you see ten hands go up in a crowd of fifty people. How can you ask God to forgive you every day if you do not ask God to redeem you every day? In Him you have redemption, the forgiveness of sin. Both of those through His blood. It is not something you get any more. It is something that you already have.
That is good news. It is the good news of the gospel of Christ that in Him that we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin. All of that is in accordance with the riches of not what we do, not what some priest does, but in accordance with the riches of God’s unbelievable grace, that was lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding of God Himself.
We are talking here about the importance of understanding a full gospel. There is truly a full gospel. What is happening in Christendom today is the preaching of half a gospel. We preach the cross, and thank God for that, but unfortunately we do not teach it in light of what it was intended to do, but merely as an act, but not as an act in order to fulfill a bigger act, the life of Christ, the resurrected life of Christ. People are going forward to get their sins forgiven instead of going forward, or sitting in your pew, for it makes no difference, for God does not need us to go forward to get saved, but instead of going to receive Him.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
You do not go to get forgiven. We go to receive life, and in that life, in Him, we have something, redemption. We do not go to get redeemed. We go to Him, and in Him we are redeemed. All of these things we are trying to go to get. You do not go to get justified. In Him, we are justified. I do not go to get glorified. In Him, I am glorified. It is all in Him. All of it is in Christ. He was the one who thought it up. He is the one who did it. He is the fulfillment. He is the alpha and the omega. He is the beginning and the end. When you and I come to Him, we are complete in the one who is complete. We need to understand that. This has nothing to do with you and what you are doing. This had everything to do with Him and the grace of God that, He in His wisdom, lavished upon each and every one of us, undeserving as we are. In Him we have redemption.
This is a real deal, where the rubber meets the road. Do you ask Christ Jesus to redeem you every day? How come? Are you not grateful for it? Do you think if you didn’t you would just live like the devil? Why don’t you ask Him to redeem you? Because He already has. What about forgiveness? That is something that I do. If that is something you do, how do you know you did not turn the toaster back in? If I need forgiveness over and over again, then why would you not need being redeemed over and over again? If sin did what you thought it did, why do you think He would want you again? I would throw you back according to that theology.
Redemption is something we have. I do not turn in the same green stamps and get a toaster. Then go turn my toaster in the next day to get more green stamps. I have the toaster and it is forever. I also have forgiveness. People shy away from this truth. If you do not ask God to forgive you every day, then is this going to happen and that is going to happen? No. Asking God to forgive you is an insult to what He has already done. It is an understanding of your misunderstanding. If Christ has already finished that act, and without the shedding of blood there is no more forgiveness of sins, then if you are in Christ, you have forgiveness. You do not get forgiven. You are forgiven. That is not in accordance with your confession. It is in accordance with God’s grace. Forgiveness is not something you initiate and therefore get from God. It is something He initiated and I get from God. What we have done with this forgiveness mentality has put us in the position of God and Him the responder instead of us in the position of the responder and God as the initiator.
So God has to perform for us instead of us recognizing that God has completed the work and therefore thank Him for what He has already accomplished. So there is that misunderstanding in regard to forgiveness. That is why, as an example, prior to the cross, another passage of scripture, that people memorize. There are only two passages people memorize, the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-16) and 1 John 1:9. I can give a list of forty passages of scripture and not a hand goes up as having memorized. But they got those two down.
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
If you forgive your brother. We stop and put a period where God did not put a period. “Forgive us our sins as He forgave our sins.” Then we stop. It goes ahead to say that if you do not forgive your brother on earth whom you can see, your Father in heaven will not forgive you. Based upon that is where this whole confession mentality has come in.
The fact of the matter is, that statement was made prior to the cross and under the law, and Jesus taught under the law. Under the law, as it went on ahead to say, and we negate that one altogether. We like to memorize the Lord’s prayer but we do not like to memorize the rest of it.
43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where
“‘the worms that eat them do not die,
and the fire is not quenched.’[Isaiah 66:24]
It is amazing how we ignore that one, isn’t it? If we truly were as diligent to all scripture as to what we think the Lord’s prayer says, we would also be walking around with sockets in our head instead of eyeballs, if we really believed it. So we memorize passages of scripture having no idea what the context is and build a theology around what we want scripture to say instead of how it is interpreted in light of the total big picture, the master plan of God to redeem and to save His people. So before the cross, if you do not forgive your brother, your Father in heaven will not forgive you. Could that be true after the cross? No. How come? Why could that not be true after the cross, that if you forgive your brother, God will forgive you and if you don’t, He will not forgive you? Because of the cross. What did God do with that sin at the cross? He took it away. Before the cross, if you do not forgive your brother, God would not forgive you. After the cross, it is Ephesians 4:32.
32 Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
So after the cross, how are we to forgive others? Just as Christ forgave you? How did God forgive you? In Christ, God forgave you. Before the cross, if you do not forgive your brother then God will not forgive you. After the cross, the lavishness of the grace of God extended upon us, it is to forgive one another as in Christ God forgave you. There was an Old Covenant and there is now a New Covenant. Because we do not know the difference is why there is confusion on forgiveness. It is not confusion on forgiveness. It confusion because you do not understand the New Covenant. If you understand the New Covenant there is no confusion on that.
43 All the prophets testify of Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Whoever believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name, through His authority. Have you believed in Him? If you have, what have you received? Forgiveness of sin. As we have talked about, we have been preaching a half gospel. This forgiveness is received in His life.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
What do we have in the Son He loves? Redemption. What else do we have? Forgiveness of sin. Once again, why in as much as in that passage, and in light of the New Covenant that we stand in today, we have been rescued out of the dominion of darkness and brought in the kingdom of His son. He rescued us. We did not rescue ourselves. He brought us there. Inasmuch as you have now come out of darkness into light, how many of us, knowing that now, are going to race back into darkness? That is the feeble thing that people come up with all the time. He says to you, “You teach this finality of the cross, then people will go live like the devil. You are just giving people a license to sin.” “I do not need a license to sin. I sin quite well without a license and so do you.”
The issue is this. It is like the guy eating out of the dumpster. All of a sudden, a man who owns a cafeteria comes up and says, “What are you doing?” “Eating out of the dumpster.” “How come?” “I am destitute.” “Come over here.” He reaches down and gives him a pass, a lifetime pass to the cafeteria. “You can come any time you want and eat as much as you want, all day long.” “You are kidding.” “Go try it.” He goes into the line and eats so much and makes himself almost sick. “How much does it cost?” “Nothing.” “Can I do it again?” “Yes, come again.” You can do it the rest of your life, without charge.” “You are telling me I can come in here and eat anything I want to eat at anytime I want to eat it?” “Yes.” Suppose he says, “Can I also go back to the dumpster and eat?” Can you imagine someone standing there. “I do not believe my ears. Why would someone who has just been offered a banquet at a cafeteria the rest of your life, free of charge, want to chow down in a dumpster?” It is an insult to the offerer of the cafeteria. That is exactly the way it is in this life in Christ. When we understand the extensive work of Christ to provide our forgiveness, why do you think, with Christ living in you, why would you go back to the lifestyle that made you so miserable that you came to Christ to begin with?
The forgiveness of sins is in Christ. In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin. The same person we are in who gives us redemption is the same person who gives us forgiveness. I do not get redeemed any more. I am redeemed. I do not get forgiven. I am forgiven. In both of those cases, I can spend the rest of my life praising Him and thanking Him for what I already have instead of begging Him for what He has already given me.
We talked about being rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of His Son He loves. Imagine your bible being Christ and a pen or pencil you hold in your hand being forgiveness. Open up your bible and put your pen inside that bible and close it. Now, if in so doing, you offered that to me, and said, “Here, receive the bible. It is a gift.” I look at that and say, “What I really need is a pen because I cannot mark up the bible without a pen.” “The pen is in the bible.” “Oh. Can I get the pen outside the bible?” “No. It is a two for sale. The pen is in the bible. In order to get the pen, you have to receive the bible.” That is a picture of salvation. Christ died and provided forgiveness. He was raised from the dead to provide life. It is in that resurrected life that He placed the forgiveness and in Him you have forgiveness. Apart from Him and His resurrected life, you do not have forgiveness. It has been provided for you but you do not have it. It is in the bank, but if you do not go in the bank you cannot get what is in the bank.
So we understand something. If you have come to Christ, not just for forgiveness, but come to Him for who He is, God Himself. Not to come to Him for a Jesus that you have made up, but for the Jesus of the bible. The Jesus who was born of a virgin. The Jesus who was preexistent before the formation of the earth. The very Jesus who all things are created by Him and for Him. The very Jesus who came to this earth and walked and dwelt among us as the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. That Jesus of Nazareth who walked on this earth sinless and therefore qualified Himself to die on a cross and there suspended between heaven and earth took upon Himself the sins of the entire world and took them away and cried out from the cross, “It is finished”. That work is done. Presenting His blood and His sacrifice to the Father who said, “Propitiation has taken place. Justice has been satisfied. It is finished.” And yelled therefore crying out from the cross, “It is finished”. Why? Because it is finished. That same Jesus who was buried and three days later raised from the dead. That Jesus who was raised from the dead with the promise to the apostles that it is good for you I am going away because when I do I am going to send my Spirit to you. That Jesus of the bible that later appeared over a period of days to His disciples and then at the end of that period entered bodily into heaven to sit at the right hand of God but with the promise there at that point that I am going to send My Holy Spirit to live inside you and you will be my body here on this earth. I am ascending to the Father in bodily form but the body of Christ will still be on this earth. It is that Jesus who saves. Not a Jesus you and I make up, not a straw man we create out of our own imagination, but Jesus of the bible, the one who came to this earth and died and was raised from the dead, and today is seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf, offering and giving to anyone who will come to Him, any man, woman, boy or girl on the face of this earth who will come to Him by faith, that He gives us life, and it is in that life that we have that forgiveness that was provided for us.
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
It does not say one sin is worse than another sin. It says we all sinned. Falling short of the glory of God is falling short of all that God created man to be. There is no way to be true man from God’s vantage point apart from a rebirth in Jesus Christ. Because God in the man is indispensable to the humanity of man. You take God out of the man you have a man on your hands who cannot behave like one. That is exactly what the fall was, that God left man and left man in a fallen condition, totally incapable of behaving or being or becoming what God had intended him to be. But God came in His redemptive work on the cross, and we therefore, in Christ have been justified freely, not by our acts but by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus, bought back.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
It is God Himself who made up this plan. It is because of God that you and I today are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption. It is because of Him, God, that you are in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus, what do you have? Redemption. What else do you have? Forgiveness. What else do you have? The wisdom from God. He has become for us wisdom from God.