You may be among the many who have been taught throughout their lifetime to continually be asking and seeking God for more forgiveness. Let’s put this in perspective, while seriously considering the murky details the religious business has thrust upon us, thereby leaving us in a foggy uncertainty and a lack of assurance. Religious entrepreneurs have developed a product we’ll call “frequent forgiveness” that hungry people are craving, and unfortunately, business is booming.
Under the Old Covenant, Israel had many requirements and instructions within the Mosaic law that guided them towards receiving a renewed forgiveness from God on a daily and even a yearly basis. Most of us know a significant part of this included the sacrifice of innocent animals, because as we see in Hebrews 9:22: … “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”
In the ninth and tenth chapters of Hebrews, the writer explains a significant contrast between the old way, with the blood of animals, compared to the new way through the sacrifice of Christ. The cross is often referred to as a finished work, but man-made doctrines have nullified or at least weakened this truth of the gospel to a great extent. Whereas under the law, many sacrifices were required to cover the sins of the people, under the New Covenant, one sacrifice was required to completely take them away forever—not just cover them temporarily. Our High Priest (Jesus) has an eternal ministry, unlike the priests under the law.
A key phrase in these two chapters of Hebrews is “once for all.” This describes the work of Christ at the cross that removed the penalty of sin for all, through His one sacrifice. It was impossible for the blood of animals to take away sins, and it left Israelites in a state of sin consciousness (guilt). Unfortunately, many today are needlessly suffering with the same mindset. Now for us who are “in Him,” we can live within a consciousness of righteousness, because this is how we are identified through the gift of life we’ve received.
Through the work of Jesus Christ, God has done all He is going to do about the need for forgiveness (for the whole world). The package has been delivered once, on time, safe and sound, for all people. All we do is receive it, and this is done by a simple act of the heart through believing. Although it may be done out of ignorance and a lack of understanding, when we keep asking God to forgive us over and over, it’s a symptom of not trusting in what Jesus did on our behalf. You and I can’t add to what He has already completed.
Must you forgive others in order to be forgiven? No, Jesus said this to His disciples before the cross, while teaching the law with a message of hopelessness, meant to lead them towards seeking something better … Himself! Only the blood of Christ could bring eternal forgiveness. Coming to the understanding that you are already forgiven will now empower you to be able to forgive others, as the Apostle Paul explains after the cross: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). We forgive others, not to receive forgiveness, but because we’re forgiven.
If you believe it’s necessary to keep repeatedly asking God to forgive you for every wrong thought and action, then you’d better ask Him to send Jesus to die again, and then again after that. If more forgiveness is needed, more blood would need to be spilled (see Hebrews 9:24-26). But I suggest you go with option number 2: Trust in what Jesus did and that it was more than enough. He brought to us what those crushing commandments and continuous confessions could not. There are no more sacrifices on the way … It’s a finished work, you ARE forgiven. Simply believe it, and walk in it. Rest easy.
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