Once For All

While we were in college, my good friend Ben and I would always get into deep, spiritual discussions. I think he always challenged my thoughts about theology, because if I am honest with myself, I had a very sheltered view of God, and I would always be reminded in our conversations of just how complex and rich the grace and judgment of God is.

In a discussion that eventually led to the topic of God’s forgiveness, Ben asked me, “Do you ask forgiveness for your sins every day?”  To which I responded quickly, “Absolutely.”

Then he probed, “So as a Christian, what happens if you sin, even in a small way, and suddenly get in a car accident and die before you can ask forgiveness?  Will you go to Heaven then?”

I hesitated.  “Yes…”

“But why do you think so?  You didn’t ask forgiveness.”

“Well, God sees our hearts…” I stammered.  “He knows that, um, even though we mess up, at the end of the day, we still want to honor Him.”

The whole conversation actually made me uncomfortable because it challenged what I thought about forgiveness.  Years later, here I am still thinking about it.  I have since put some theological study into it.  Asking for forgiveness each day–while it certainly indicates a genuinely repentant heart, make no mistake–is actually the equivalent to the Old Testament practice of sacrificing an animal each day for each sin.  Hebrews 10:1-2 says, “The same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year [can never] make perfect those who draw near to worship.  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.”

On the other hand, once you come to terms with the amazing reality of GRACE.. Jesus’ dying on the cross, then our sins–past, present, and future–are all forevermore under His blood.  Going on in Hebrews 10, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL.  For by one sacrifice He has made PERFECT FOREVER those who are being made holy” (verse 10, 14).

Let that wonder sink in for a moment!

If you are a follower of Christ, then you have been forgiven with total completeness.  Even the sins you may make tomorrow, and those you may make 10 years from now, are ALREADY forgiven and under His grace.  Praise the Lord!  It is now only our job to accept this grace and, like the verse says, continue to be made holy.

How good is God!!


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