I read an article which on 1 John 1:9 which says that there is a difference between positional and experiential forgiveness. It says while we have positional forgiveness we must confess our sins to experience relational or experiential forgiveness.
Before I begin, let me first say that I hate sin, I am all for a holy life. But (I know I am not suppose to begin withe sentence with “but”, but I want to stress something very important here), the Bible does not teach that your fellowship is cut off from your heavenly Father when you have unconfessed sins. Sure some of you would point to David but David in the same breath says how blessed in the man whom God does not impute sin on him. See
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.
He was referring to a generation of people whose sins are NOT ONLY forgiven but whom God does not impute sin on them anymore. He was referring to believers who believe Jesus after Jesus died. (unfortunately for David, Jesus had not died yet, hence the need to confess.)
As such to categorized forgiveness to positional and experiential forgiveness, it’s to say that although I am forgiven, I must still ask for forgiveness continually to EXPERIENCE forgiveness. I am sorry but I cannot agree. To God, forgiveness is a judicial thing, it is not parental thing. You have to understand God being our father receives its basis on the fact we are in His Son and not just because we are adopted. It is in Christ that we become His children. We became His children because we are in His Son. God does not accept us outside the Sonship of Jesus. Hence the parental issue has little to do with how we treat our children.
Now here’s the issue. Why is it that while we understand we have been forgiven, know that we have been forgiven, believe that we have been forgiven, preach we have been forgiven, yet still not experiencing forgiveness?
The writer of Hebrews identifies the problem in:
1 The 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 repeatedendlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If 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.
The real problem here is not whether you experience the forgiveness or not. It is the problem with your own conscience. It is your conscience that condemns you. How does it condemns you?
This is how, it keeps on reminding you that you still have to do something to acquire forgiveness. Hence the very thing you do to seek forgiveness becomes the very thing that reminds you of your sins. Whilst many would argue this is the way to grace, Hebrews 10 tells you it comes from the law. So the problem is created not by God but by your conscience.
You may then argue and say “isn’t conscience something that God gave you to tell you what is wrong and what is right?” The answer is yes. However not only does it tells what is right and what is wrong, it also tells you “You are wrong. you are guilty, God cannot stand you”. Hence, it is your conscience that keeps YOU from God. It does not keep God from you. Had it been, God would not have looked for Adam. Adam was the one who hid.
Still not convinced?
Let’s read further on at verses 2 and 3:
“2 Otherwise, 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”
The writer states that the sacrifices could not make such people perfect because they felt guilt for their sins. Why couldn’t it do so? Because they asked for forgiveness through the bulls and goats endlessly. In fact in verse 2, the writer offers a solution. If the sacrifice for forgiveness had worked. You need to only do it once. Why didn’t it work? Because he sacrifices brought could NOT TAKE AWAY sin. Note, I said said “TAKE AWAY SIN”. Not “covered your sins” or “washed your sins”.
See 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Here lies our problem. Many believers think that when Jesus offered his blood it was to cleanse of your sins or to cover your sins. It is not, he came to take away your sins.
Some of you may quote Peter and say “its only your past sins”. Nah that’s not right. You see if that is true, then the problem of having to offer again and again comes in, cause only your past sins have been forgiven hence your conscience will still haunt you for your future sins. That doesn’t cut it.
Let’s read on:
Hebrews 9: 11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He 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, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 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. 14 How 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,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
Let’s again look at the work Jesus did.
It was offered in an eternal tabernacle in heaven not on earth.
It was offered once forALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
How all is ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL? Obtaining eternal redemption. What’s that again? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEternal Redemption.
How was it offered? Through the Eternal Spirit. Ever wondered why it was the Spirit of Jesus and not the Father who said “I remember your sins no more but the Spirit?”
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.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]
Because the blood of Jesus was offered though the eternal Spirit when he said “Father I commit my Spirit to Thee”. It was a once and for all act that had eternal consequences.
The forgiveness that is never again repeated is to solve the problem of the conscience. It is your conscience that keeps you away from God not God’s unforgiveness.
3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,
So that’s why Christ died once and for all, he died to establish once and for all the fact that you are forgiven. This means there is nothing your guilty conscience can condemn you for, so that you may really experience experiential and relational forgiveness.
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, havingour hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
How is this done? The answer is this
Hebrews 10: 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.
Here lies the crux of the matter. The priests could not sit down because the sacrifices were not able to take away sins. They could not sit down. Jesus on the other hand TOOK AWAY your sins. How many times did he have to do that? Note, once and for all, he sat down.
As such the only way to really to experience real forgiveness is thanking God for his once and for all forgiveness. The constant requirement of asking for forgiveness in order to be forgiven is merely a modern form of offering the blood of bulls and goats I may say. It gives power to the a conscience which does nothing for you to experience forgiveness. It in effect produces even less security in the finished work of Christ.
Then what do you do then, continue to sin and don’t ask for forgiveness?
No. 1 do not presume I live a callous life when I say I live a carefree life. I already told you I hate sin. Note Hebrews 10;1 says it is not grace that requires this continual ritual of asking for forgiveness it is the LAW. The power of sin is the LAW (1 Cor 15:56) and the only way you can escape sin is to make sure it is no longer your master. Romans 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master,because you are not under the law, but under grace.
As such lets be honest with each other, we can coin up phrases like “experiential forgiveness” or “parental forgiveness”. To me, we are just not being honest with ourselves, the problem is not with God, the problem is that we have to rid ourselves of the conscience that bothers us. Let’s face the biblical fact, your sins are taken away once and for all. God remembers your sins no more. The problem is not him. Its you. Unless you know and believe God has really once and for all forgiven you you will never feel forgiven. Its your conscience talking its not God.
As for how you are kept in fellowship, don’t look to 1 John 1:9. Look to 1 Cor 1:9.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
No.1, it depends on God’s faithfulness not yours. No. 2 it is established in the same manner He has with His Son. Do you think God and His Son can be separated after the cross? Neither can you. Your conscience has been made clean.
Many Christians however then ask what about Hebrews 10:26? If we sin deliberately there is no more sacrifice… so if we don’t confess our sins we won’t be forgiven of our future sins.
The following is probably the text that confused many Christians. This is the passage which speaks about “Sinning Willfully” which presupposes that the blood of Jesus only clean your past sins.
Here is the passage from the Jewish New Testament.
26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, of raging fire that will consume the enemies.[f]
28 Someone who disregards the Torah of Moshe is put to death without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses.[g]29 Think how much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled underfoot the Son of God; who has treated as something common the blood of the covenant[h] which made him holy; and who has insulted the Spirit, giver of God’s grace!
Notice this sin is a singular sin. It is the same sin mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. One sin. That sin is only possible “after receiving the knowledge of the truth”. Before receiving the knowledge of the truth, you cannot perform this “sin” and the damage only comes when you do it “willfully”. Thus it cannot mean your every day “sins” because all your daily sins are willful.
What then is this “sin”? If you read about this “sin” in Hebrews 12, it is also the sin that entangle “us”. By now you should know the word “us” mean the Jews. What is the cure for this “sin” then? The writer of Hebrews says to look at Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
So what then is this “sin” that only be cured by fixing our eyes upon Jesus? It is found a few verses thereafter. It is to treat the blood of Jesus like common blood. Look at the context of Hebrews 10. We do not treat Jesus blood like common blood when we sin. We treat the blood of Jesus like common blood if we treat it like the blood of bulls and goats. How?
Well the blood of bulls and goats give you annual and temporal forgiveness. Jesus’ blood cleanses you forever because your sins are taken away (yes even the ones which you have not done) once and for all. Some of you here would argue your future sins are not taken away. But let me ask you something, when Jesus died were your born yet? Were the sins you committed before you came to Jesus future sins the moment Jesus died? Of course. So are the sins you will commit from the point of the cross.
As such “the knowledge of the truth” is to know the sacrifice provided the law, the Torah i. e. the blood of bulls and goats (common blood) cannot save you. Only the blood of Jesus can.
Thus this “sin” simply means not believing Jesus but reverting to believing to that the religious system of the blood of bulls and goats saves you. Simply said going back to worship provided by the temple of Solomon. In short, going back to the Torah to obtain your salvation.
By the way this is what Peter spoke about as “deny Him AFTER having escaped the pollutions of this world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and your latter end can become worse than before you knew Him. 2Pet 2:20-22. What he then called “ a dog going back to his vomit”.
So then after they have this knowledge and you go back to the law there is no more sacrifice for them. This is because they have rejected the one and only way for [absolute] forgiveness for sins.
You would by now note I used the term “they” and not “you”. Well so did the writer of Hebrews. See again verse 39: “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
The writer is actually saying “we” being the Jewish Christians are not those (unbelieving Jews).
Hence if you read this verse, it actually does not refer to that of a shrinking Christian but an unbelieving Jew.
Experience your forgiveness.