The Role of Faith in Your Forgiveness

Understanding the Red Letters   Part 22

One of the hallmarks of the gospel message that seems to be buried by the Christian religion is the complete forgiveness of our sins brought to us by the shed blood of Christ.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

What happened to the totality of our sins?  “Having forgiven us ALL of our transgressions.”

What happened to the penalty of our sins?  “Having canceled out the certificate of debt against us.”

What happened to the placement of our sins?  “Having nailed it to the cross.”

Christ did all the work upon the cross for our forgiveness AND it became ours when we appropriated it by faith; when we believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  Christ’s death plus our faith = our complete forgiveness.

In fact, our forgiveness is so complete that, The Holy Spirit declares, ‘Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more’ “ (Hebrews 10:17).  Our forgiveness is so complete that, “By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).  We are perfected and sanctified – past tense – by the offering of Jesus.  We are not perfect in our actions, but we are perfect in regard to our complete forgiveness.

Again, the key to appropriating God’s forgiveness is faith.  It is the pattern in the gospels.  What did we learn last time about the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet?  “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven … Your faith has saved you; go in peace’ “ (Luke 7:48-50).  But wait there is more.

Think back to the story of the paralytic being let down through the roof.  Do you recall Jesus’ proclamation of the man’s sins forgiven?  The words of Jesus are very similar to the woman’s experience in Luke 7.  “Being unable to get to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying.  And Jesus SEEING THEIR FAITH said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ “ (Mark 2:4-5).

I don’t even know how much was the paralytic’s faith or his friend’s faith, but either way, their faith prompted Jesus’ declaration of forgiveness.

I believe Jesus declares us completely forgiven the moment we believe His gospel message.  So why do so many pastors insist that we revisit our sins and seek God’s forgiveness as an integral part of our Christian experience?  We will talk about at least four reasons next time.