The Christian message we hear today is this:
Believe in Jesus and you will be saved. But if you sin after faith in Christ, you still need to confess and repent otherwise you will not be forgiven.
First of all: what is sin?
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Sin means that a human being falls short of God’s glory!
After Adam’s fall when man tried to become like God knowing good & evil, it was the sin of the flesh not being as perfect as God.
Basically just being a human in the flesh is “sin” because the word “sin” in Greek is hamartia which means “to miss the mark”.
The fact that a man does not live forever is “sin”. Anything of the flesh is “sin”.
Therefore it does not matter how good or bad a person behaves, he/she falls short of God’s glory – God is perfect, righteous, morally perfect, totally loving and immortal and all-knowing, omniscient, omnipresent, all-powerful. What is man but a speck of dust that is made in the image of God? Yes we know “good and evil” like God but we fall short in all possible ways!
This is why Jesus Christ – is God who came in the flesh and He died on the cross for our “sin” of falling short. God became us on the cross and He rose from the dead when Jesus was resurrected – so that everyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven all sins!
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Under the old covenant, nobody could become righteous by faith but they had to obey the law to be justified. The Jew was guilty because they couldn’t perfectly keep the law and the Gentile was also guilty for being outside the law! Therefore no one was righteous by the law but rather they became conscious of sin!
Romans 3 “19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
That is why Jesus Christ came to die on the cross, so that the law came to an end – so that we can be righteous by faith apart from the law.
We can receive forgiveness of sins by simply trusting in Jesus!
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”
The word forgiveness means “a sending away” or “abolishment” or “banishment” of the record of our flesh. Our entire flesh and its sins are forgiven when we believe in Jesus!
Paul confirms that here: Our dead flesh was put off, our sins were forgiven on the cross!
We were raised and made alive with Christ and forgiven ALL sin!
God canceled the demands of the law for Israel and the demands of our conscience for us Gentiles – on the cross when Jesus died!
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
We were dead in our flesh (sin) but Jesus came and died for us and with us.
Jesus died AS US…so that we were raised with Christ.
We are completely included in Christ. We were dead but now ALIVE in Christ.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Where Christ is, so are we! If Christ is seated at God’s right hand as perfect and righteous, then so are we! It is all by grace! A dead man cannot save himself or improve himself! The flesh is useless and dead, but Jesus appeared in the flesh to die for us and “as us” so that we were made righteous in Christ’s resurrection and we are glorified with Him. This has happened by grace that we received by faith without our works! Our efforts are not part of our salvation. Even the works we do after salvation, are Christ working in us – the works that God pre-ordained before the foundation of the world.
Many Christians believe in Jesus but they think that their sins are not forgiven unless they confess them every Sunday and offer the sacrifices of worship or liturgies or holy communion to be forgiven every week! But that was the system of the old covenant where the High Priest offered constant sacrifices that could never take away sins. The reason they had to repeat constant sacrifices was because their sins always remained!
But when Jesus Christ our Great High Priest who never sinned, offered a ONE TIME sacrifice on the CROSS, He SAT DOWN because we were made PERFECT once for all!
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
God promised to never remember our sins anymore because He judged all our past, present and future sins on the cross once for all!
This is why Jesus will not die on the cross anymore!
If only our past sins were forgiven, then Jesus has to die on the cross repeatedly!
But because there are NO MORE SINS to be forgiven, this is why Jesus died on the cross ONCE FOR ALL. This means that for the believer, we are forgiven our entire lifetime of sins!
Even if we stumble and fail we are still forgiven!
What about the “deliberate sin”?
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
This is talking about the deliberate willful sin of rejecting Christ and going back to unbelief – going back to the “flesh” where a person trusts in other gods or his own wisdom, self-righteousness. That is going back to “sin” of falling short of God’s glory and insulting the blood of Jesus and the Spirit of GRACE. This is a person who does not want the GRACE of God but says that he/she deserves the wrath! For such a person who stubbornly and willfully rejects Christ, there is no more sacrifice but only judgment.
But for the believer, no matter how imperfect we are in our behavior, we are forgiven all sins by the death of Jesus Christ and will be saved as long as we keep believing in Christ.
The flesh of the believer was crucified with Christ.
Our human effort – the flesh does not exist.
God does not see your flesh anymore, because you no longer live but Christ lives in you!
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
God sees Christ in you and nothing else! He sees the righteousness of Christ in you!
Christ is our Holiness! Christ is our Wisdom! Christ is our Morality! Christ is our Righteousness! Christ is our Favor! Christ is our Blessing! Its because Jesus died with all our sins and curses so that there is no more curse or condemnation for us!
The Christian life is not about our human-efforts/flesh and not about our performance but all about FAITH in Christ’s love for us!
It is all about FAITH in Christ’s death for us!
No matter how much we have failed, we look to JESUS our RIGHTEOUSNESS!
It is all about JESUS my friends, He has taken away the sins of all who believe in Him!
If you haven’t believed in this wonderful Jesus, today is the day of salvation:
Jesus Christ died for our sins (falling short of God’s glory) and was raised after 3 days so that everyone who believes in Him is forgiven ALL sins and made righteous without any works or efforts!