When I first became a Christian, one of the things that we were taught is that we had to be careful how we lived because if the rapture came while we were sinning, we would be left behind or if I died suddenly before repenting, then I would be lost. Many a Christian lived in bondage and in fear of sinning while Jesus returned. Then after a while, I began to think logically. Even though we are christians, we all still sin everyday. If I went by the logic that I was taught, that would mean that a lot of people would die in their sins and not be taken with Jesus when he returns because at any given point in a day, many christians would be sinning because of our fallen nature meaning that everything would have been in vain. Or they have a sinful thought (which one of us haven’t) and then some tragic happens before they had time to repent, for example, 9/11, they would be lost in the same way that an unbeliever would be lost. There would be no guarantee of our salvation and it would basically be a gamble. It made no sense and made the cross of Christ a bit useless and ineffective. My salvation would be based on what I do and not what he has done. That was until I fully understood what Christ actually achieved.

Christ’s death on the cross and his atonement for our sins was not just limited to the past and the present but also stretches into the future

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit………..For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1,5)

I now understand that once I have repented and put my trust in Christ for my salvation, ALL of my sins have been forgiven. Past present and future. I do not have to live in fear that when Christ comes or when I die, I might be ‘caught in the act’ of sinning in one form or another. I can live with the freedom knowing that even if I have sinned ‘before I have repented’, I will not be condemned and I will not forfeit my inheritance in Christ. Note though that this applies to those that ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. In other words those who have had a true and not false conversion and have truly repented.

Now…….

I can hear many people saying ‘Well that’s OK then. If my future sins are forgiven, then I can live how I want’. If those are your thoughts and you’re thinking is how much you can sin and ‘get away with it’, then there is good chance that you are not truly born again and could be self-deceived. Because a true believer hates his sins and has NO desire to continue sinning. This is just one of the ways you can know if you are a true christian.

I always like to see it as me and Christ swapping jackets. Christ takes my ‘sinful’ jacket in exchange for His ‘righteous’ jacket. Christ in my jacket was punished at the cross and when I stand before God, He only sees the righteous jacket and therefore I am not punished because all my sins have been accounted for and taken on by Christ. WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)

For more on this topic and a further explanation, click here

If you would like to know how you can have your sins forgiven, click here

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Comments
  1. Sean Trank says:

    I was studying 1 Corinthians 10:13, this issue is very close to home for be because a close friend of mine has recently fallen into sin and my friend has been asked to be held accountable, but he has logically justified his actions and continues to live in sin. Before this he has struggled with temptation but never acted on it, but something slowly convinced him that he could not win this fight. Please pray for my friend he was asked to go to therapy but instead he just left to live his life.

  2. Great message. We are saved by Christ alone and to add anything to it is to empty the cross. However you are right in saying that true conversion is proven to be true when you begin to hate your sin and desire to walk as Christ did. You literally become a new creation. The good works you do are by the power of Christ working in you to do his work. All that you do should reflect an outward sign of your inward change. You learn that there is nothing greater than to be used by Christ for his kingdom!

    • Alan Higgins says:

      I do love your comments Marianne. Very inspiring and encouraging

    • Donald Jay says:

      very inspiring sister marianne..pls do pray for my country, Philippines which is now in a calamity disaster caused by a strong typhoon and floods and mudslides, many filipinos were died..
      God bless you ma’am..

      • Hi Donald,

        I will definitely be praying for the Philippines. I know that a lot is going on there and my heart is with you. I have a world map that I look over each night and pray over the countries. I will keep you and your country in my prayers. Be blessed, my brother. Christ is with you.

        • Donald Jay says:

          Thanks a lot sister marianne,may our Lord Jesus blessed you and your family, my heart is really in pain everytime i heard a news about what happened to other part of the Philippines..How about you ma’am,do you have any prayer request too, so that i can include those in my prayers? pls pray also mam for my spiritual growth..thanks a lot..
          Christ be with you always..
          Merry CHRISTmas sister..

    • Robert says:

      YES, YES, YES, THIS IS WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN MY HEART

  3. Noel says:

    What about when I lose faith in Jesus, would I also lose His forgiveness, and therefore, lose Salvation? Or I never truly had faith? What about the times that I have doubts, does that mean I am not saved, because with my doubt, I can consider moving away from God?

    • Tom Gretch says:

      Noel, any true believer in Christ has been given a new nature, called “the new man” (Eph. 4:24). That new man within the Christian leads us to live for God and become more like Christ each day (2 Cor. 4:16). On the other hand, our old nature we have had from birth still can assert itself leading to sin and unbelief or doubts (Rom. 7:14-26). But if we are truly born again, the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin and lead us to ask for forgiveness and return to fellowship with God (1 John 1:9). A truly born again Christian can never completely fall away from God (Jude 1:24). We can be backsliden but not permanently (Jude 1:23-24). If we have no conviction of our sin and continue in our doubts and unbelief that is a sure sign we never were born again (Rom. 8:6-9, 2 Pet. 2:6-8). Such a person needs to cry out to God to give him repentance from his sins and self-directing of his life and to have the faith in Christ’s blood that gives the full assurance of salvation (1 Thess. 5:5-6).

      • Noel says:

        Tom, true, I also believe that we can move back and forth in our spiritual journey, either closer or farther away from God. My thought differs, I guess, when it comes to “Salvation”. I believe that, even when we backslide, we don’t permanently move away from God, like you mentioned and quoted some Bible verses on. We can choose to be away from God by being selfish, but I don’t think we burn in hell permanently for not accepting Jesus as my “personal Savior”. Being “born again” is not a one time event…. it is a gradual process, like when we learn how to love unconditionally and forgive others (it does not happen overnight). God’s love and grace is greater than we can ever imagine. I am not saying this out of convenience or to justify by “sinful nature”, but because this is what my experience with religion and life has shown me. I could still be wrong and I can admit it (which is another thing that differs me from most traditional believers). I used to be a Christian who would think that we either believe in Jesus as a Lord and Savior, or be already condemned to hell, as many believers choose to interpret the Gospel. It is a black and white, convenient, and selfish way of thinking. Coming to this conclusion is like the Atheist concluding that all believers are living a fantasy simply because their logic says so. Life is more complicated and greater than what we can conclude by reading a holy book or relying on our own logic. I know my views are not popular, but they are what I truly think and feel. Thank you for reading.

        • Tom Gretch says:

          Marianne is right. Two of the aspects of salvation, justification and regeneration, happen at one point in time. Jesus likens this to being born naturally and calls it being born again (John 3:3ff). That is not a process but a one time thing. But like after natural birth, we have a lot of growing to do to become mature spiritually (Heb. 5:13-14, 1 Pet. 2:2). We need to daily put to death the deeds of the body and spirit to grow in Christ (Rom. 8:13, 2 Cor 7:1). It is crucial to put all our ideas to the test of the Word of God to see if they be true or not (Heb. 4:12-13). We should not think that we can legitamately hold to ideas contrary to the Bible just because that is how we feel. Jesus HImself said that those who believe in Him will be saved but those who do not beileve and obey Him have the wrath of God abiding on their heads now (John 3:31).

          • Noel says:

            Tom, I can appreciate your comment, because I was raised believing the same thing. However, it is hard to continue to believe that the same God that “so much loved the world” is the same Being who “has his wrath on me”. I used to give Bible studies to the youth in the church, teaching them about how to defend their faith. So I know about how to interpret the Bible so that we can justify using the fear of eternal damnation to bring people “to Salvation”. To me, this is not love, but manipulation. Based on what I read in the Bible, Jesus did not manipulate people, but spoke truth by pointing out people’s hypocrisy and stressing that, if they don’t turn from their wicked ways, they will perish in their selfish lives (sin). But if they become transparent, humble, and serve others unconditionally, they will be experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven, and be closer to God. Hell (Hades) was actually a physical place at the bottom of the city where trash was burned (eternal fire). Anyway, just thought I could share this. God bless.

            • Tom Gretch says:

              Noel, I can understand your hesitancy to believe that a loving God can also be a wrathful God. But the same chapter in John’s gospel that has the beautiful verse about the love of God in giving His Son for the forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16) also has verse 36 that reads, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him” (HCSB). The wrath of God comes because God is infinitely holy. He can not allow any being to go unpunished who contradicts His holiness. God gives us His Law to spell out how we are to live in harmony with His holiness. Sin is living lawlessly (1 John 3:4) and deserves punishment (John 3:36) unless we are united to Christ via faith and repentance. Then the Holy Spirit comes to live in us leading us to live lives pleasing to God (Rom. 8:13).

              As for manipulaton of people into getting saved, I fully agree that that would be wrong. The true gospel in no way needs manipulation in order to be effective. The Holy Spirit is the effectual agent in bringing people to salvation (1 Peter 1:1-2). To use manipulation to “get people saved” will only result in false professions. A preacher or soul-winner who uses manipulation may see more people
              “saved” but these will only be false professions and most likely will not remain in a good church because his unconverted heart cannot accept sound preaching (1 John 2:19).

              I would suggest that you keep searching for a solid, gospel preaching church that does not use manipulation to try to gain numbers of professions. Such a church should put a heavy empahsis on equipping the church for evangelism, holy living and humble service to others. We cannot live as islands unto ourselves and expect to grow in the Lord. We must value the Holy Spirit lead gift of the pastor to lead us into living for God (Acts 20:28). Such a pastor will be the greatest asset we can have.

              I hope this has been of some help. I will be praying for you.

              Tom

              • Noel says:

                Tom, unfortunately I have experienced manipulation from several evangelistic preachers. I have tried five different churches in my life, and I am yet to find one where I can grow spiritually. This is why I have began to believe that God is better found outside the church. Thank you for you advice though, it will be considered. God bless.

                • Tom Gretch says:

                  Noel, Don’t give up trying to find a good church. Hopefully there is a good one out there in your area. And don’t forget that just because a church falls into manipulation to try to get results does not mean that the Bible is not correct that we need to be in a good church (Heb. 10:25). What city and state do you live in? Maybe I can try to find a church for you. I have been praying for you.

                • Donald Jay says:

                  brother noel,

                  look for a church which has a bible based doctrine or preaching…it is also with your personal relationship with the Lord our God..

                • michael m says:

                  I can empathise with NOEL with his disapointment in the going-to -church experience. And I concur that Noel may find he grows more spiritually away from formal church but by personal time spent with the Lord and His word and spiritual writers and help from christian websites . (But a warning . Some christian websites can bring confusion though ).
                  Then Noel could attend his chosen local church not so much as dependant or one who may have ‘the wool pulled over his eyes ‘ but as one who is standing in the strength which Christ supplies . Noel may find he enjoys his church more .
                  The Church – the Body of the Christ – is more than , but inclusive of the local church ?.

                  Noel could not only be blessed but also be enabled to be a blessing if he makes it a priority to happy ‘in Jesus ‘ .

                  I was glad I went to the local church yesterday and heard an unusual message on Hannah the mother of Samuel . The exhortation was that God hears and He answers prayer .Amen . :) He anwered her prayer . So take it t the Lord in prayer ! He is Gracious and full of compassion .

  4. “Being “born again” is not a one time event…. it is a gradual process,”

    Being born-again is to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior! It is a one-time event. You do not need to keep being born again. When you are truly saved, Christ says that he replaces your heart of stone with one of flesh. That heart is one willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ. That is done once. It is a radical change in that the Holy Spirit of God enters and lives in you. He then guides you to do what is right and to follow in the path that was set for you. While we may still sin and give in to our carnal flesh, we do not sin as before. We have a new relationship to Christ and with that comes a new relationship to sin. Anyone who keeps sinning as he did before this salvation is not saved!

    While we are saved once, the Holy Spirit continues the work of regeneration in us. Yes, it is a process of growing in that newness. We learn to walk by faith and to avoid unrighteousness. We learn that day by day by day by day until Christ takes us home. But, once you are saved, there must be an outward sign of your inward change. Your life should reflect that Christ is living in you.

  5. Donald Jay says:

    Born again on the otherhand is transformation from a sinful man into a Christ-like person..

  6. wunmi says:

    This is a wonderful realization for christians to have, that we have a freedom in Christ, but it is also important to remember the ‘balance’ message in this – we still have to confess our sins when we DO sin (1 john 1:9) and not justify them or allow ourselves to get hardened by them. For sin still remains the “poison” factor in the relationship between us and God

  7. Grant says:

    The “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” was added by the KJV translators

  8. John says:

    Very inspiring message. That’s how we are righteous not because of our works but because of Jesus.
    Hmm….. Roman 8:1 should have read “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” The rest were added by King James’ Scholars not in the original Greek Bible.

  9. Kyrie says:

    Are we still forgiven if we did the same sin multiple times? but repented and left the life of sin?

    • Alan Higgins says:

      Kyrie, the simple answer is yes. The key word there is repented and the fact that you said you left your sin

      • Kyrie says:

        So lately my heart has been sad about my used to be best friend she has chosen to live in an alternative lifestyle and i feel i should tell her if she doesn’t stop now she will go to hell, but i can’t say it. and i dont know what to do

  10. Tony Armour says:

    Wonderful truth. Great article! Too many people believe you can live like the devil and still be saved.

  11. Truth says:

    It is true that we are free from the condemnation of sin and many are confused when it comes to God’s grace and forgiveness. One of the false doctrine on the other side of this view is that the only time you need to confess your sin is when you are born again and that because we are forgiven for past present and future sins we do not have to confess sin after initial conversion as grace covers it. I have heard this particular false doctrine from Joseph Prince. If you are not listening carefully it sounds right but throughout scripture believers are warned to repent/confess their sins etc. Whilst scripture in no way supports the idea that an unconfessed sin can cause a true believer to go to hell if they didn’t repent before death/ rapture there is nothing in scripture to support the idea that we can live like hell and expect to spend eternity with Jesus. Sin will affect our faith walk if it is not dealt with of that there is no question and when the spirit prompts us about our lifestyle/ behaviour etc we should respond but I agree that we should not live in fear of going to hell if we are truly born again.

  12. Chris says:

    I think the main mistake here is the difference between “died for” and “forgiveness”. While Paul says in Romans, just that our past sins are forgiven. Nowhere in the scriptures, that I know, of does it say that our future sins are forgiven, only that they are died for. Now when it comes to sin and repentance and dying in your sins, the real argument is when you’re walking with Christ, if you have fallen, that is continuously in sin without repentance. I believe the Scriptures are clear that if you’re living in sin and don’t repent, then you will go to hell.

  13. Alan Higgins says:

    Chris, I am not talking about a habitual lifestyle of sin which points to a person who is probably not a christian

  14. Antonio Garcia says:

    “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” -Acts 2:38

    Viewing the King James Version. Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Acts 2:38.

  15. Antonio Garcia says:

    Jesus in the 17 chapter of the book of John says “I sanctify myself that they may be sanctified…” have you stopped to look and know what that means? here is what some definitions are for SANCTIFY ;Definition of sanctify (vt)

    Bing Dictionary
    sanc·ti·fy
    [ sángktə f ]

    1.make something holy: to give something holy status
    2.free somebody from sin: to perform a ritual or other act intended to free somebody from sin
    3.bless something through religious vow: to give a religious blessing to something such as a marriage, usually through an oath or vow

    Which do you suppose Christ was talking about? Have a blessed day, Jesus loves you.

  16. Antonio Garcia says:

    “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

    And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

    And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

    And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

    They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

    So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” – Matthew 20:29-34 (KJV)

  17. jole says:

    is there a reference in the Bible that says: “our sins are forgiven in the past present and the future”?

    • Tony says:

      Hebrews 9:25-26For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

      These verses don’t use the words past,present and future but it implies it. If Christ did not forgive us of our future sins as well then he would have to keep dying every time we sinned, but that doesn’t happen because He has died for our sins once and for all.All of them.

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