Let’s get it right! Are your future sins forgiven?l

OF FUTURE FORGIVENESS, HEBREWS, PARENTAL FORGIVNESS ANIMAL BLOOD

When Hebrews 1:3 speaks about Jesus purifying sins at the Cross prior to his ascension to heaven, did that include the purification of future sins as well as past sins?

In order to answer this question we need to understand that Hebrews is written to a Jewish audience and in so doing compares and contrasts Old Covenant animal sacrifices with the New Covenant sacrifice of Jesus. Note the following parallel and contrast.

Hebrews 10:11-12 (New International Version)

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

These two verses are very significant. It contrasts the frequency and results of animal sacrifices with that of Jesus. So that we fully understand the impact of these verses let us first take some time to understand the Old Covenant sacrificial system. The purpose of the sacrificial system is summarized as follows,

Hebrews 9:6-7 (New International Version)

6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

The sacrificial system including the temple, the priesthood and its animal sacrifices was to provide a way of dealing with sin and so grant some kind of access into the presence of God. Hebrews analysis of its effectiveness is as follows,

Hebrews 9:8 (New International Version)

8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.

The Old Covenant sacrificial system did not produce access into the very presence of God. It produced restricted, limited results. Various types of sacrifices were offered daily for the sins of the people.

Leviticus 4:27-29 (New International Version)

27 ” ‘If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, he is guilty. 28 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect. 29 He is to lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering.

The individual who sinned placed their hands on the head of the animal thus signifying transference of guilt. With other sacrifices the priest would then apply the blood in various places in the sanctuary with the view to procuring atonement and forgiveness.

Leviticus 4:20 (New International Version)
20 and do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.

At this point I would like to highlight the fact that in Old Covenant times there was no sacrifice that could atone for willful sin of the 10 Commandments. If a person deliberately committed adultery, murder or even if a son dishonored his parents they were stoned to death. The sacrificial system only covered sins of ignorance. Lev 4:27 clearly states that “if a member of the community sins unintentionally”; Hebrews says “which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance”. There were no sacrifices for deliberate sins! Where would we all be today if these laws were still in place?!

The fact of the matter is all willful and unintentional sins were never truly punished in Old Covenant times.

Romans 3:25 (New International Version)
25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

So already we are starting to see a huge difference between the results of Jesus’ sacrifice and that of animals! God only truly punished all sin – intentional and unintentional – when he presented Jesus as a sacrifice on the Cross.

We are presented with a challenge as we read Hebrews. We have seen that Moses writes that the person was forgiven for sins of ignorance when the appropriate sacrifice was carried out. He said, “In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.” Lev 4:20. However as we read Hebrews another picture emerges.

Hebrews 10:4 (New International Version)
4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10:11 (New International Version)
11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

As far as Hebrews is concerned the sins, although presumably atoned for and forgiven, were never really taken away. How are we to reconcile these two ideas? Here is where the marvel of the blood of Jesus emerges. Under the Old Covenant, the blood of animal resulted only in some type of restricted forgiveness. The sins were never truly punished or taken away as far as Romans 3:25 and Heb 10:4,11 are concerned. The blood of animals could only produce forgiveness on a, restricted basis – temporally.

Hebrews 9:25 (New International Version)

25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

Hebrews 10:1 (New International Version)

1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Every time an Old Covenant believer became aware of an unintentional sin they were to offer a blood sacrifice repeatedly and endlessly because the blood of the animal could only deal with the sin they had just committed. This meant that as soon as they offered a sacrifice and then subsequently committed another sin they had to offer another and then another and then another! This is what Hebrews means when it says that the blood of animals could never take away sins once for all. Fresh blood was required for fresh sins. The blood of animals could not deal with the sin issue once and for all. The blood of animals was restricted in time.

Here is where we read of the superiority of the blood of Jesus. Now that we understand the limited nature of the results of animal blood we can fully appreciate the many statements in Hebrews about the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. Repeatedly we read that Jesus shed his blood “once for all”!

Hebrews 7:27 (New International Version)

27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

The contrast here is obvious and we must remember that the reason the priest had to offer repeated fresh blood was because it could only atone and forgive the sin that was just committed. The blood of animals could only deal with past sin, but not future. Jesus only needed to offer his blood once which was good for all people and all time. Let’s consider what happened to sin when Jesus shed his blood.

First of all we need to recognize that when Jesus died for sin he didn’t just die for sins committed up till the point in time that he hung on the Cross. Hebrews is clear that Jesus’ death was for the sins of humanity for all time.

Hebrews 2:9 (New International Version)
9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

When Jesus died for sin he took upon himself the death penalty and so “tasted death for everyone”. This means that when we read in Hebrews of Jesus dying for sin that this meant the sins of humanity from Adam to the last man.

So what were the results of Jesus’ death? Well we can see from Hebrews 7:27 above that as soon as the priest offered the blood that the committed sins were atoned and forgiven.

Hebrews informs us that when the sacrifice takes place forgiveness of sins results at that moment.

Hebrews 9:22 (New International Version)

22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

When blood is shed forgiveness results. The problem with animal blood however was that it could only cover, atone and forgive sins of the past – not the future.

Hebrews 9:25-26 (New International Version)

25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Can you see the obvious contrast Hebrews is making here? The priest had to offer the blood again and again simply because it could only deal with the sins committed in the past. Hence the blood was offered again and again. With each fresh sin there was a fresh sacrifice. Fresh blood was required because it could not deal with the sins that were committed after the sacrifice. However, the blood of Jesus achieved what the blood of animals could not. Hebrews is saying that if the blood of Jesus could only deal with past sins then he would have to keep offering himself again and again. But the blood of Jesus did what that blood of animals could not do. It dealt with all sin once and for all!

At the exact point in time that Jesus shed his blood the result was he “he did away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Better blood! The blood of Jesus did away with all sin – once and for all. The blood of animals was limited temporally – it could only deal with sins committed in the past. The blood of Jesus did away with all sin of all time in one sacrifice.

If the blood of Jesus did not do away with future sin as well as past sin then it was no different from the blood of animals. Let me repeat, the contrast between the blood of animals and that of Jesus is temporal. The blood of animals needed to be shed again and again for the simple reason that it could only deal with sins committed in the past. The blood of Jesus in contrast however dealt with all sin and put it away for good. Reading Heb 9:25-26 in the context of Hebrews 9:22 we conclude that where blood is shed, at that moment forgiveness results! This means that the moment the blood of Jesus was shed all sin was forgiven.

Hebrews goes onto make this point again and again.

Hebrews 10:1-4 (New International Version)
1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

This is quite an amazing passage. Hebrews informs us that the blood of animals was offered endlessly because the believer could not be cleansed from sin once and for all! The blood of animals could not take away sins simply because they only dealt with sins committed in the past. Hence they were offered again and again. Let me say it this way. If I lived under the Old Covenant and committed a sin today I would take an animal to the sanctuary and shed its blood.

If I committed that same sin again next week I would have to take a new sacrifice for that same sin. This process went on your whole life under the Old Covenant sacrificial system. New blood was required for freshly committed sin. This means that the reason the sacrifices were repeated endlessly was simply because it could only forgive past sins not futures ones. So when Hebrews says that the blood of Jesus dealt with all sin and did way with it, it is saying this in contrast to the limited temporal effectiveness of the blood of animals. The blood of animals dealt with past sin only, the blood of Jesus dealt with all sin – future too. If this is not the case then the blood of Jesus is no better than the blood of animals.

Hebrews 10:2 says that if the blood of animals was temporally effective and could cleanse the believer from all sin, including future ones, then the worshipper would have been “cleansed once for all!” If the blood of animals could have cleansed the believer from sin once for all then they would have stopped sacrificing fresh blood for subsequent sin. The repeated sacrifices were a continual reminder as verse 3 says that the blood of animals could not deal with future sins, only past ones. The fact of the matter was that the repeated nature of the sacrifices only reinforced guilt for sin because it served only to remind them of their sin over and over again.

In other words a person would go to the temple, offer a sacrifice for their sin, leave, only to sin again and then back to the temple again the next day. “Here we go again!” The believer could not experience freedom guilt feelings. In fact every time they took a sacrifice to the temple it served to remind them of their continuing guilt. See verse
2. The blood of animals could not rid the believer of guilt feelings but in fact only reinforced them.

The good news is that the blood of Jesus did exactly what the blood of animals could not do. The Old Covenant worshipper could not be cleansed at an internal level at all. The blood of Jesus did just what the blood of animals could not do. Through the blood of Jesus the believer is cleansed internally once for all.

Hebrews 9:13-14 (New International Version)
13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

What a stark contrast. The blood of Jesus actually produced what the blood of animals could not. The blood of Jesus is “how much more”! The blood of animals cleansed a person externally and temporarily but the blood of Jesus cleansed the believer at the level of conscience once and forever. Compare this with Heb 10:3 where we read again that the Old Covenant believer with its limited blood remained feeling guilty!

Let’s now consider another contrast. Whereas the continual blood of animals served as a reminder of sins committed the blood of Jesus is no longer a reminder because the sins are no longer remembered.

Hebrews 10:3 (New International Version)
3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins

Hebrews 10:17 (New International Version)
17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

Note the deliberate contrast Hebrews is making here point for point. Animal blood could not cleanse the conscience. The blood of Jesus cleanses the conscience. Animal blood is offered endlessly. Jesus blood is offered once for all. The blood of animals offered repeatedly functioned as a continual reminder of sins. Under the blood of Jesus sins are remembered no more.

As such you would note the teaching of “parental forgiveness” hinges on the guilt of the believer. This teaching which promotes the total forgiveness of sins judicially in the same breath speaks about the need to ask forgiveness from your father, parent-ally. I do not find such teaching in Scripture. While William MacDonald may argue that Jesus used the words “father” when it comes to forgiving other, he fails to note such “commandments” were spoken to Jews and not necessary believers. He also fails to note that these words were spoken before Jesus shed his blood on the cross. After the Cross, Paul and John tells us we have been forgiven. Completely forgiven.

Why such teaching? Because we do not know how to deal with the guilt. As such we bring room for confession into a guiltless relationship with the Father. We confess to “our Father” because of our guilt and not because of our reverence. To revere God to to glory in the work of Jesus that to approach the Father boldly in full confidence in the finished ONCE and FOR ALL work of Jesus. No guilt because it has been removed. It is this removal of guilt that gives us the power of condemnation. We do not live to God by being living under guilt and condemnation. Paul says we live to God by dying to the Law and its ministry (Galatians 2:19). The ministry of the Law condemns. We live in victory from sin under grace. (Romans 6)

Let’s continue.

Hebrews 10:4 (New International Version)
4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 9:28 (New International Version)
28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people

We read here that the blood of animals could not take away sins. As we have seen this was because it could only cover sins committed in the past and hence necessitated repeated sacrifices. They were repeated only because they could not deal with new sins. However the blood of Jesus did in fact take away sins.

I understand that the NKJV at this point says that Jesus died to “bear the sins of many”. However, in other places the NKJV explicitly makes the same point.

1 John 3:5 (New King James Version)

5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

1 John 2:2 (New King James Version)

2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The NKJV is explicit. When Jesus died he died to take away the sins of the whole world.

Finally we read that when Jesus shed his blood for the sins of humanity God had forgiven all sin – past, present and future. Let us take a quick journey of this idea throughout the book as a whole.

Hebrews 1:3 (New International Version)

3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

This is the opening theme of the whole book of Hebrews and here we clearly read that Jesus had purified all sin prior to his ascension to heaven. There is no purification of sins being created after the ascension. You were already purified of all sin before Jesus went back to heaven. The very fact that he sat down at his Father’s right hand simply means that his work of purification of sins is over. Purification was provided once for all.

Hebrews 2:9 (New International Version)

9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

As we begin to see the flow of Hebrews’ argument we start to see something of its magnificence. When Jesus shed his blood he purified the sins of all because he “tasted death for everyone”! The same thought is repeated later.

Hebrews 9:22 (New International Version)

22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Do you see it? When Jesus shed his blood sins were cleansed which simply means that they were all forgiven! The sins of humanity were all forgiven on the Cross – past, present and future.

Hebrews 9:26-28 (New International Version)

26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

When Jesus shed his blood he took away the sins of the world. He will never bear sin again. He bore them once and for all on the Cross. We are sadly mistaken if we think that we need any further acts of cleansing since the Cross. This is a great insult to the finished work of the Cross.

Hebrews 10:11-12 (New International Version)

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

The sacrifice of Jesus was offered once and was “FOR ALL TIME”! As we read the unfolding good news of the power of the blood of Jesus we can start to get a glimpse of what actually happened on the Cross. What joyous good news! Nearly too good to be true! When Jesus shed his blood forgiveness resulted according to Heb 9:22. The period of time the blood of Jesus embraced was “for all time!” The blood of Jesus took care of sin for all time! His work of cleansing and forgiveness of man’s sin was totally completed on the Cross – after that Jesus sat down. Work is over.

Then the climax.
Hebrews 10:17-18 (New International Version)
17Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.” 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

At the moment Jesus shed his blood God had forgiven all sin. Note it does not say “where these may be forgiven or will be forgiven” but “where these have been forgiven” PAST TENSE! It is finished. It cannot be any clearer than this. God has totally forgiven and forgotten the sins of humanity – past, present and future. They are no longer a barrier to the presence of God as Hebrews continues to say.

Hebrews 10:19-22 (New International Version)

19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
What a climax we are presented here. Because all our sins – past, present and future, have already been forgiven we can approach God without any sin barrier and we can do so in full assurance of faith and free from a guilty conscience.

Hebrews makes a series of deliberate contrasts to emphasize the superiority of the better blood of Jesus. Animal blood could not clean the conscience. The blood of Jesus cleansed the conscience. Animal blood is offered endlessly. Jesus blood is offered once for all. The blood of animals offered repeatedly functioned as a continual reminder of sins. Under the blood of Jesus sins are remembered no more. Animal blood offered forgiveness of past sins only. Jesus blood covered all sin for all time. Past, present and future sin has all been forgiven.

When Jesus shed his blood a wonderful gift was produced: the forgiveness of the sins of humanity.

Hebrews 9:12 (New International Version)

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Note that before Jesus entered heaven at his ascension he had already obtained eternal redemption. When Jesus shed his blood he had produced and so obtained – past tense – eternal redemption. What does the phrase “eternal redemption” mean?

Hebrews 9:12,15 (New International Version)

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption … 15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

It is also pertinent to note that Jesus shed his blood not in the earthly tabernacle but a heavenly one. The offerings of the Old Covenant took place in a place limited by time and space. Heaven however is timeless. It transcends time. Whatever done in heaven lasts forever. Hence by one act, he accomplished what the bulls and goats cannot do. Once but for ALL TIME he took our sins away. We have everlasting redemption.

Eternal redemption means that Jesus paid the ransom price with his blood resulting in mankind being set free from sins!

Paul says the same thing of redemption elsewhere.

Ephesians 1:7 (New International Version)

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Colossians 1:14 (New International Version)

14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Redemption is the forgiveness of sins.

So when Hebrews tells us that through the ransom price of Jesus blood that we have “eternal redemption” this means that Jesus has already provided for mankind “eternal forgiveness”. Within the setting of the book as a whole this is exactly what eternal redemption means. The sacrifices that the priests offered had to be offered repeatedly and endlessly simply because they could not take away future sins. The blood of Jesus did what the blood of animals could never do. The forgiveness offered by the Old Covenant was temporary at best. The forgiveness provided by the blood of Jesus under the New Covenant was eternal.

Where do you stand? Do you feel that your sins form a barrier between you and God? When you sin are you burdened with feelings of guilt? Do you think that somehow by your confession and repentance and by applying the blood of Jesus that you are procuring forgiveness from God? Do you think that the blood of Jesus only covered your past sins when you accepted Jesus and from that time on you needed to claim the blood of Jesus for on-going forgiveness?

Then I would strongly suggest that you need to consider that you are mixing the Old and New Covenants together. To some extent you don’t see the radical break and difference between the blood of Jesus and that of animals. The Old Covenant approach to God was weak and useless and has become obsolete. Heb 7:18; 8:13. Why not enter into the throne room of God unhindered, without feelings of guilt and take time right now and thank Jesus for the glory of eternal forgiveness already provided for you under the blood of the New Covenant!

This article was adapted from an article written by Santo Carlaco.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Let’s get it right! Are your future sins forgiven?l

  1. I really appreciate this…it is mind-boggling to think of the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice. I have trouble a lot of times wrapping my mind around it, but I’m so thankful for “eternal redemption.”

  2. And john 17:22-says…And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me… Jesus prayed this before the cross. and now that, there is no more sins after the cross, for those who believed according to john 3:16, ” the Grace of the Most High God”… and now, as we seated with Him, the covering, protection,healing, and many more benefits from Most High God…psalms 91 are all for us…praise the Lord…

  3. This is one potent exegesis of this subject that bares it all for one to understand the old and new covenants and the role of Christ. This message is also coming in season for me being Good Friday today. Thank you Lord for washing away all my sins.

  4. This is so incredible! I can’t tell you how much this has refreshed my heart, almost to the point of tears. I feel a passion re-birthed inside of me that had seemed to dull. You were responsible to the true meaning of the scripture and you unfolded the power of it, which to some extent had been hidden!

  5. Hi Simon, I don’t know where to post this, so I’m posting here!…sorry if it is abit out of sync with your article and the other comments 🙂 I wonder….since Jesus had not died nor been resurrected while he was engaged in His ministry, therefore not able to offer eternal redemption from sins nor newness of life in the Spirit, what exactly did He offer the Jews at that time? Certainly they could not be born again at that time, so what then? Thank you for your wonderful blog, I love to read your articles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s