The Question of Forgiveness

It was about a year or so ago that I began to see a number of posts on Facebook stating that, “all our sins have been forgiven—past, present, and future.”

To be honest, I had never thought about future sins being forgiven in advance of a person actually committing them. I have always been of the belief that, if a person sinned after they were born-again, repentance and confession were required to receive God’s forgiveness. The concept of “pre-forgiveness” was a new one to me. Certainly, I don’t know everything, and I feel I’m open to be taught, but, with the knowledge of Scripture that I have, I’ve had trouble reconciling this and some other teachings with God’s Word.

In the last few months, I have witnessed a marked increase in the number of declarations and discussions (and some ugly arguments) about forgiveness of sin, judgment and condemnation, law and grace, among other things. The matter has exploded on numerous websites, blog sites, and in Facebook posts. At times, the discussion has gotten quite heated and, sadly, has been the cause of much division in the Body of Christ.

As I began studying this teaching, I discovered that much of this “new doctrine” was being promoted by Joseph Prince, in his book, “Destined to Reign.” (He also deals with this subject in his subsequent book, “Unmerited Favor,” which, is pretty much a re-write of his first book.)

So as not to be ignorant on this matter, I spent about six weeks reading, studying, marking, and highlighting what Prince wrote in regard to God’s grace and forgiveness. What I found were some liberating truths that I, myself, have been teaching over the past 35 years. But, I also found many questionable statements and some things that clearly contradict the teaching of Scripture. I also have spent considerable time reading a variety of articles and blog posts, both pro and con, and watching and listening to messages from a variety of folks.

I will be addressing some of my concerns primarily in audio messages posted here on my devoBlog. It is not my intent to attack a particular person or ministry, even though I felt it was necessary to refer to Prince’s writings.

The Word of God warns us, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), and, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4). True freedom only comes by continuing in the Truth of God’s Word. I pray that as you listen to these messages that the Holy Spirit will speak Truth to your heart. I might add that, if in anything I speak or write I am found to be in error, I pray that the Spirit of God would open my eyes to the Truth, also.

think on these things…
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all* who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ~Romans 3:21-26 (NKJV)

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. ~Colossians 2:13,14 (NKJV)

“And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ~Acts 26:14-18 (NKJV)

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ~1 John 1:5-2:2 (NKJV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. ~James 5:13-16 (NKJV)

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. ~Hebrews 3:12-13 (NKJV)

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~Hebrews 10:26-31 (NKJV)

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” ~Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)

“The Question of Forgiveness” (55:15)start+new

© 2014 Randall Gearhart

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