This is a partial reply to a paper circulated among a church who label the Grace movement as heretical. The purpose of this reply is not to criticize but to highlight that what is being written has not taken into consideration certain portion of Scriptures and thus cannot be said to be the whole truth. My comments are in bold and italics.
The standard teaching of “Grace Gospel Movement” GGM is that since we have been forgiven from all sins – past present and future sins – and since God has made us righteous in Christ, there is no need for a believer to ask forgiveness for any of his /her sins committed after his / her conversion.
Let us look at what the Bible says about it. At the time of our conversion we confessed our sins to God, and accepted Christ as our Savior. God then justified us and made us part of the Kingdom of God. There is no need for a second or third confession of sin to be a child of God. It is a one time thing and God has accepted us as His children as a result of our confession.
However, conversion does not mean the eradication of our sin nature. Rather it means the implanting of the new divine nature, with power to live victoriously over indwelling sin (Rom 7).
Romans 7 actually teaches the opposite … it teaches us that we have died with Christ and as such the sinful nature had died with Christ. See also Colossians 2: 11in whom also ye were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh in the circumcision of the Christ (Young’s Literal Translation).
Let us now consider a few things concerning the confession of sin in our lives, as follows.
(a) How to deal with sin that we commit as believers?
Here 1 John 1: 8-9 give a clear picture.
1 John 1:9 says that in order for us to walk in fellowship with God and with our fellow believers; we must confess our sins – all kinds of sins. When we do that we can claim the promise that God is faithful and just to forgive us. The forgiveness that John talks about here is parental and not judicial –Judicial forgiveness is what the sinner receives when he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is called judicial because it is granted by God acting as judge.
There is no such thing as parental forgiveness. This is because when John wrote this he called that who preached Gnosticism and that was no sin “liars”. This is clearly a moral issue. Any moral issue is a “judicial issue”. He also called these people, people living in “darkness”.
But what about the sins that we commit after conversion?
As far as the penalty is concerned, the price has already been paid by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. But as fellowship in the family of God is concerned, the sinner needs parental forgiveness of the Father. He obtains it by confessing his sins.
This is again miscocieved. This assumes that the fellowship can be broken by sins. John tells us in 1 John 1:12 “and he — he is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world”. This simply means that the “whole world’s sins” have been paid for and atone for.” This means that sin is not the problem anymore. It has been taken away at the cross. Hebrews 10 teaches us this:
V4. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
V 10. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
v. 11 11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time.
Our sins are not only covered they are and HAVE been taken AWAY. John the Baptist at the inception of his ministry said that “the LAMB THAT TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. It is not forgiven, it is not covered, it is not cleansed. IT IS TAKEN AWAY.”
Also we must realise in the Greek, the tense used for “cleansed” and “forgive” in 1 John 1:9 are in the aorist tense. The tense is used for something that is done once but its effects last forever. While the word “Confess” is in a present ‘tense” it indicates that the unbeliever still has a chance to ask for forgiveness now. As such it is clear that John is saying if you confess now, God will once and for all cleanse and forgive you of ALL your unrighteousness. You can only be forgiven once of ALLLLLLLLL your unrighteousness.
We need judicial forgiveness only once, it takes care of the past, present and future sins. But we need parental forgiveness through out our Christian life. That comes when we confess our sins.
Thus we see that fellowship with God after our conversion requires that all our sins should be brought out into His presence, confessed and forsaken. It means that we should be absolutely honest about our condition before God.
So don’t hide behind the judicial forgiveness of our past, present and future sins. What we need is the parental forgiveness, which we can get if we confess our sins before God and seek His forgiveness. Because he is a forgiving God, He will forgive us.
This is not true. God will not only forgive us. God HAS forgiven us. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a believer has to ask for forgiveness again and again. Not even in 1 John 1:9. See the explanation in Greek. Also see 1 John 2 when John addresses the Christians as “my dear children”: v 12 I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
Also see Ephesians 4: 22 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ HAS forgiven you.
Also In Col 2:13 Paul writes that we have been “Forgiven All Trespasses “.
Then in Col 1:14 In whom we have Redemption through His blood, even the FORGIVENESS of SINS .
Then in Titus 2:14 Paul states, “Who gave Himself for us , that He might Redeem us from ALL INIQUITY .” ALL means ALL.The problem is this. Sin does not affect our relationship with God. This is because it has been done away with. God does not leave us.
John 14:6 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[a] who will never leave you.”
Also in Romans 8: 38, 39 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[o]neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The writer does not understand a fundamental point, Christ is ALREADY UNITED NOT ONLY WITH US but IN US. Paul says the mystery is this “CHRIST IN US, the Hope of Glory”. He also says :”We HAVE (not will be) raised with Him (Christ) at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 2:6. To suggest we can be in and out of fellowship is to say that one minute we are in heaven and the next on earth. We are seated in HIM in the heavenly realms!
The parental argument also shows ignorance towards the concept of “adoption as sons”. The writer seems to suggest that we can ‘lose’ our parental favour with our father. Firstly, the concept of adoption must be understood. When I am adopted my parents cannot disown me. Only by the renunciation of the Court order can I be forfeited of my adoption as a son. This is because my parents did not confer to me the right adoption. The court did. As such only the Court can disown me from my parents. Not even my adopted parents can do that.
This is what Paul teaches, our adoption did not come from our behaviour or our right or even the Father’s right but by the finished work of Christ. Only Jesus has the right to revoke our right of adoption. Since the work is already “finished”, the work of adoption cannot be undone. As such God being a God of justice cannot now because justice is done say to you I cannot accept you anymore. To do so would be unjust.
Further to say the minute you sin you lose fellowship with him would to accuse God as dishonouring the work of Jesus. This simply because you are already “holy”: Hebrews 10: 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[f] we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death,[g] Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
As such it beckons me to ask why does the writer says that? The problem is not sin but guilt. I will deal with this later.