Not Forgiven Now

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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
When I wrote this praise to God it was for that...to praise Him for all He has done for us. I never imagined that it would turn into a debate. Now that it has I certainly want to clarify my position. I won't do it hastily because this is important. I think Wannabee is right...we must define terms. The terms that I will define will be: Justification, sanctification, forgiveness, confession, and repentance. I will also gather much Scripture to support my belief. I will use reformed info to help me with my defense. This will take some time, but I will do this and then return to this conversation.
 

Matthias

Puritan Board Junior
When I wrote this praise to God it was for that...to praise Him for all He has done for us. I never imagined that it would turn into a debate. Now that it has I certainly want to clarify my position. I won't do it hastily because this is important. I think Wannabee is right...we must define terms. The terms that I will define will be: Justification, sanctification, forgiveness, confession, and repentance. I will also gather much Scripture to support my belief. I will use reformed info to help me with my defense. This will take some time, but I will do this and then return to this conversation.

looking forward to it :)
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
I myself would like to see more scripture references from both sides of the argument. Just my 2 cents

Indeed. I like confessions and all...but Scripture is what actually persuades me.

No one has said that Christ must die anew with each of our passing transgressions. In the OP it was stated at least twice that this person was forgiven when Christ died on the cross. This is simply not true. A person is actually forgiven at the point of their conversion and seeking of forgiveness. It was decreed in eternity, secured at the cross, but not actualized until said person's conversion.

Very well stated.

From Matt. 26--
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

We receive this forgiveness of sins by entering into the covenant at conversion.

Remember Pentecost? Acts 2:38--
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Or maybe you will argue that "for" in this verse would be better as "because of"... (some, such as MacArthur, suggest this [it relates to the baptismal regeneration debate]).

Well, then maybe some less contested verses:

Acts 10:43--
To [Christ] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Again, the forgiveness is applied and effective at conversion, when we believe.

What did Jesus say to Saul before his conversion?

Acts 26:15-18--
‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Forgiveness is at conversion.

Col. 1:13, 14--
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The only way to have the forgiveness of sins is to be in Christ. We were "in Christ" since the cross? Mais non. We were guaranteed to be in Him eventually, though. We enter into Christ at conversion--and we all should know that there are many texts to support that concept.

Remember, it is absolutely true that our forgiveness is guaranteed/secured at the cross; however, we enter into that forgiveness at our conversion. This does matter. What is forgiveness if we already have it but still have not repented, had faith, been justified, etc.?

Praise God for our forgiveness, though. He hates evil so fervently and yet loved us enough to be a sacrifice in our place... it is so humbling.

And Sarah, I am looking forward to your clarification post. :)
 
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Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Dear Sarah,

Perhaps this will help. It's always a good exercise, even if we've done it, to work on our understanding of the Ordo Salutis. Perhaps you've done it. But, if not, here are some considerations. It's apparent that this is not simply a chronological order, but a logical order based on our understanding of salvation as we comprehend it according to God's Word. The terms should be defined and listed in the order that they logically proceed, with scriptural proof accompanying each. The first time through I would recommend using nothing more than a good Bible dictionary and a Bible, or lexical aids if you have access to them. The rewards far outweigh the effort. Here are the terms, in alphabetical order. Forgiveness is not commonly in the list, so, if you choose to do this, you'll have to work through that aspect of the discussion. Some would include prevenient grace and/or the outward call and perseverance as well.

conversion (faith & repentance could be broken down)
election
glorification
gospel call
inward call
justification (a study of expiation and propitiation may be helpful here)
predestination
regeneration
sanctification
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Here is yet another perspective. Sins are blotted out on the day of judgment, Acts 3:19-21. Which should alert us to the fact that it is a future event which is brought into the present by the activity of the eschatological Spirit sealing the Lord's possession against that great day.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
Here is yet another perspective. Sins are blotted out on the day of judgment, Acts 3:19-21. Which should alert us to the fact that it is a future event which is brought into the present by the activity of the eschatological Spirit sealing the Lord's possession against that great day.

So, are you saying that the forgiveness of sins is in the future but repentance (synecdoche for conversion in this text) guarantees (seals) one's forgiveness on Judgment Day?

If my understanding of your statement is correct, that is very interesting. However, I don't see that in Acts 3:19-21. Rather, I read it as repentance bringing about three things: the blotting out of sins (immediately), times of refreshing from Christ, and the fact that it brings Christ's returning closer. The third point would thus be suggesting the fact that Christ will not return until all of the elect are saved. Quite simply, from this text, I don't see how one would read this "blotting out of sin" to be a future event...

You are much wiser and understanding than I am, though. Would you care to expound on what you mean and perhaps correct my interpretation of the text, if necessary?
 
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Matthias

Puritan Board Junior
I myself would like to see more scripture references from both sides of the argument. Just my 2 cents

Indeed. I like confessions and all...but Scripture is what actually persuades me.

No one has said that Christ must die anew with each of our passing transgressions. In the OP it was stated at least twice that this person was forgiven when Christ died on the cross. This is simply not true. A person is actually forgiven at the point of their conversion and seeking of forgiveness. It was decreed in eternity, secured at the cross, but not actualized until said person's conversion.

Very well stated.

From Matt. 26--
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

We receive this forgiveness of sins by entering into the covenant at conversion.

Remember Pentecost? Acts 2:38--
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Or maybe you will argue that "for" in this verse would be better as "because of"... (some, such as MacArthur, suggest this [it relates to the baptismal regeneration debate]).

Well, then maybe some less contested verses:

Acts 10:43--
To [Christ] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Again, the forgiveness is applied and effective at conversion, when we believe.

What did Jesus say to Saul before his conversion?

Acts 26:15-18--
‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Forgiveness is at conversion.

Col. 1:13, 14--
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The only way to have the forgiveness of sins is to be in Christ. We were "in Christ" since the cross? Mais non. We were guaranteed to be in Him eventually, though. We enter into Christ at conversion--and we all should know that there are many texts to support that concept.

Remember, it is absolutely true that our forgiveness is guaranteed/secured at the cross; however, we enter into that forgiveness at our conversion. This does matter. What is forgiveness if we already have it but still have not repented, had faith, been justified, etc.?

Praise God for our forgiveness, though. He hates evil so fervently and yet loved us enough to be a sacrifice in our place... it is so humbling.

And Sarah, I am looking forward to your clarification post. :)

Excellent post! Could you list some texts that support your statement that we enter into Christ at conversion plz..thanks!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I see this thread has gone in several different directions and it is somewhat hard to follow the key points discussed.

To clarify a bit, isn't it accurate to describe the "elect" as including people who have not yet "come to faith"? That is, someone is elect from eternity past in God's eyes but does not become saved until the appointed time of regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

So, between conception and the time of regeneration (effectual calling) the person is "elect" but not yet justified by Christ's righteousness alone?

However, in a very real sense, Christ actually paid the penalty for all the elect- past, present and future when he went to the cross, but justification is not given by God until the time God regenerates and gives faith in Christ's righteousness alone for salvation.
 

Matthias

Puritan Board Junior
I see this thread has gone in several different directions and it is somewhat hard to follow the key points discussed.

To clarify a bit, isn't it accurate to describe the "elect" as including people who have not yet "come to faith"? That is, someone is elect from eternity past in God's eyes but does not become saved until the appointed time of regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

So, between conception and the time of regeneration (effectual calling) the person is "elect" but not yet justified by Christ's righteousness alone?

I agree with your description of the "elect".
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rather, I read it as repentance bringing about three things: the blotting out of sins (immediately), times of refreshing from Christ, and the fact that it brings Christ's returning closer.

Gk. hopws logically connects the blotting out of sins with the future refreshment and restitution. Thus forgiveness is itself a part of that complex series of events which brings the future into the present.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I myself would like to see more scripture references from both sides of the argument. Just my 2 cents

Indeed. I like confessions and all...but Scripture is what actually persuades me.

No one has said that Christ must die anew with each of our passing transgressions. In the OP it was stated at least twice that this person was forgiven when Christ died on the cross. This is simply not true. A person is actually forgiven at the point of their conversion and seeking of forgiveness. It was decreed in eternity, secured at the cross, but not actualized until said person's conversion.

Very well stated.

From Matt. 26--
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

We receive this forgiveness of sins by entering into the covenant at conversion.

Remember Pentecost? Acts 2:38--
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Or maybe you will argue that "for" in this verse would be better as "because of"... (some, such as MacArthur, suggest this [it relates to the baptismal regeneration debate]).

Well, then maybe some less contested verses:

Acts 10:43--
To [Christ] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Again, the forgiveness is applied and effective at conversion, when we believe.

What did Jesus say to Saul before his conversion?

Acts 26:15-18--
‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Forgiveness is at conversion.

Col. 1:13, 14--
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The only way to have the forgiveness of sins is to be in Christ. We were "in Christ" since the cross? Mais non. We were guaranteed to be in Him eventually, though. We enter into Christ at conversion--and we all should know that there are many texts to support that concept.

Remember, it is absolutely true that our forgiveness is guaranteed/secured at the cross; however, we enter into that forgiveness at our conversion. This does matter. What is forgiveness if we already have it but still have not repented, had faith, been justified, etc.?

Praise God for our forgiveness, though. He hates evil so fervently and yet loved us enough to be a sacrifice in our place... it is so humbling.

And Sarah, I am looking forward to your clarification post. :)

I just got through reading Berkhof's chapter on justification and thought I would take a break and catch up here. Many times I do not say things well which confuses people. When I read this comment it occurred to me that many might be thinking that I believe that I was never guilty of sin. Oh! That is not what I mean when I say that I was forgiven 2000 years ago. I was dead in trespasses and sin. I needed regeneration. I needed Christ's righteousness imputed to me to justify me. I am still guilty of committing sins. I am not without sin. Guilty of sinning and will be guilty of sinning till I die but the price of that guilt was paid 2000 years ago. I have been pardoned. I have been bought with a price. BECAUSE of this, my new nature yearns to receive the forgiveness procured for me at the cross, confess all of my sins and yearns to repent of my sins to rid me of my feelings of guilt and connect with my heavenly Father. So Christ obtained forgiveness for me at the cross and it was applied to me at my conversion. When I pray I receive this forgiveness bought for me at the cross and thus I am able to confess my sins and repent. I don't have to pray for Him to forgive me since He has already done that at the cross. I merely have to receive His forgiveness that He purchased at the cross. I then have to confess the sins He has forgiven and I have to repent of the sins He has forgiven. That's why the apostles told people to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins. How could they receive the forgiveness of sins if there was no forgiveness purchased in advance? Does that sound clearer? I'll keep reading the rest of the comments and then go back to reading Berkhof. Call me on the phone however if this comment of mine clears things up! :um: Berkhof is good and all but I don't want to have to read him all night long if I don't have to! :lol:
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
Rather, I read it as repentance bringing about three things: the blotting out of sins (immediately), times of refreshing from Christ, and the fact that it brings Christ's returning closer.

Gk. hopws logically connects the blotting out of sins with the future refreshment and restitution. Thus forgiveness is itself a part of that complex series of events which brings the future into the present.

I see. :) Thank you for your insight.

Could you list some texts that support your statement that we enter into Christ at conversion plz..thanks!

I suppose there are some things to consider first since no one text (that I am aware of) fully explains this concept, particularly with this exact terminology.
Being "in Christ" means to be a member of the body of Christ and an adopted child of God. As such, one is an inheritor of the Kingdom of God (and many other blessings). The entire concept of predestination is that God chose us before the foundations of the world so that we would enter into fellowship with God in His good timing despite our inability to do so volitionally. In other words, He chose us to be in Christ. I bother to say all of that because we were not yet in Christ spiritually, only guaranteed to eventually be so. This begs the question: when and how do we enter into Christ? First, basic logic. How does one become part of the body of Christ? By becoming a Christian. How does one become a Christian? Through conversion. Thus, one is part of the body of Christ through conversion. Now to Scripture. As I said, a conglomeration of texts must be considered (at least in my limited understanding), so I will just put a number of them for you to piece together since I don't particularly want to painstakingly spell out the connections when you are fully capable of doing so.

Ephesians 1 and 2
1 Corinthians 1 and 2
Galatians 3 (and in Galatians, note that the freedoms we have in Christ only came through our conversion into Christ; furthermore, bear in mind that 3:27 refers to baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the direct result of conversion)
Romans 5 and 6
1 John 4:13

and there are others. It is quite clear in the New Testament that we are completely separated from Christ (and thus not in Christ) until he connects us through salvation. Unfortunately, I am not skilled in explaining this sort of thing. It is easier in person, though still not perfect.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
So Christ obtained forgiveness for me at the cross and it was applied to me at my conversion. When I pray I receive this forgiveness bought for me at the cross and thus I am able to confess my sins and repent. I don't have to pray for Him to forgive me since He has already done that at the cross. I merely have to receive His forgiveness that He purchased at the cross. I then have to confess the sins He has forgiven and I have to repent of the sins He has forgiven. That's why the apostles told people to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins. How could they receive the forgiveness of sins if there was no forgiveness purchased in advance? Does that sound clearer?

:lol: That does sound clearer. It also sounds closer to what others have been saying.
 

Matthias

Puritan Board Junior
Rather, I read it as repentance bringing about three things: the blotting out of sins (immediately), times of refreshing from Christ, and the fact that it brings Christ's returning closer.

Gk. hopws logically connects the blotting out of sins with the future refreshment and restitution. Thus forgiveness is itself a part of that complex series of events which brings the future into the present.

I see. :) Thank you for your insight.

Could you list some texts that support your statement that we enter into Christ at conversion plz..thanks!

I suppose there are some things to consider first since no one text (that I am aware of) fully explains this concept, particularly with this exact terminology.
Being "in Christ" means to be a member of the body of Christ and an adopted child of God. As such, one is an inheritor of the Kingdom of God (and many other blessings). The entire concept of predestination is that God chose us before the foundations of the world so that we would enter into fellowship with God in His good timing despite our inability to do so volitionally. In other words, He chose us to be in Christ. I bother to say all of that because we were not yet in Christ spiritually, only guaranteed to eventually be so. This begs the question: when and how do we enter into Christ? First, basic logic. How does one become part of the body of Christ? By becoming a Christian. How does one become a Christian? Through conversion. Thus, one is part of the body of Christ through conversion. Now to Scripture. As I said, a conglomeration of texts must be considered (at least in my limited understanding), so I will just put a number of them for you to piece together since I don't particularly want to painstakingly spell out the connections when you are fully capable of doing so.

Ephesians 1 and 2
1 Corinthians 1 and 2
Galatians 3 (and in Galatians, note that the freedoms we have in Christ only came through our conversion into Christ; furthermore, bear in mind that 3:27 refers to baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the direct result of conversion)
Romans 5 and 6
1 John 4:13

and there are others. It is quite clear in the New Testament that we are completely separated from Christ (and thus not in Christ) until he connects us through salvation. Unfortunately, I am not skilled in explaining this sort of thing. It is easier in person, though still not perfect.

Thanks for taking the time to explain further. The way you have explained it is also the way I have understood this subject. The reason I asked for the clarification is because I have been in discussions about this before and have had difficulty laying it out clearly. This does help...thanks
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Definitions obtained from Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Effectual calling and Regeneration: According to the Westminster Confession, X. 2, effectual calling includes regeneration. Regeneration is the act of God by which the principle of the new life is implanted in man, and the governing disposition of the soul is made holy.

Conversion: True conversion is born of godly sorrow, and issues in a life of devotion to God, II Cor. 7:10. It is a change that is rooted in the work of regeneration, and that is effected in the conscious life of the sinner by the Spirit of God; a change of thoughts and opinions, of desire and volitions, which involves the conviction that the former direction of life was unwise and wrong and alters the entire course of life.

Repentance 3 elements: 1) intellectual element: There is a change of view, a recognition of sin as involving personal guilt, defilement, and helplessness. 2) emotional element: There is a change of feeling, manifesting itself in sorrow for sin committed against a holy and just God. 3) volitional element: There is also a volitional element, consisting in a change of purpose, an inward turning away from sin, and a disposition to seek pardon and cleansing.

Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner….There is first of all a negative element in justification, namely, the remission of sins on the ground of the atoning work of Jesus Christ…The pardon granted in justification applies to all sins, past, present, and future, and thus involves the removal of all guilt and of every penalty…Antinomians, on the other hand, desiring to honour the unlimited pardoning of grace of God, maintain that the sins of believers are not accounted as such to the new man but only to the old, and that it is quite unnecessary for them to pray for the forgiveness of sins. {BTW, this is NOT what I believe} For fear of this Antinomian position even some Reformed theologians had scruples about teaching that the future sins of believers are also pardoned in justification, and spoke of a repeated and even daily justification. God indeed removes the guilt, but not the culpability of sin, that is, He removes the sinner’s just amenability to punishment, but not the inherent guiltiness of whatever sins he may continue to perform…The divine sentence of acquittal is brought home to the sinner and awakens the joyous consciousness of the forgiveness of sin and of favor with God. Now this consciousness of pardon and of a renewed filial relationship is often disturbed and obscured by sin, and is again quickened and strengthened by confession and prayer, and by a renewed exercise of faith. There is also a positive element in justification which is based more particularly on the active obedience of Christ. In this positive element two parts may be distinguished: The adoption of children…the right to eternal life


Matthew 26:27 is the Lord’s Supper. Christ stated that His blood was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. We all agree with this…I think. I’m going to assume we do. The disagreement is when He forgives.

Luke 23:34 states, “Father, for give them for they know not what they do.” Now you can either say that He was referring to the elect in general (since all of our sins put Him on the cross) or you can say He was only referring to the elect present at that time. It makes no difference for our discussion. Christ asks God to forgive someone before they even know they had sinned and before they repented and certainly not after they repented. This indicates to me that we were forgiven here at the cross. Another example is in Luke 5:20 when He forgave the cripple before the cripple asked for forgiveness. Perhaps one could say He forgave Him after he believed.

Romans 4:5 “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.’
9Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.” This text is talking about many things but the part that is for my defense is vv 7-8. Your future sins would not be covered according to Watson. But this text doesn’t place such a condition.

2Cor. 5:19 “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” and Rom 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Sproul states, “Paul alone in the New Testament describes the sin-bearing work of Christ as reconciliation (11:15; 2 Cor 5:18-20; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20, 22), although the idea is already present in the Old Testament, especially in Hosea. God’s alienation from us is ended by removing the cause of alienation (our sin, guilt, and condemnation) by the death of Christ (cf. 2Cor 5:21). In this sense, reconciliation is objective (2Cor 5:18,19) However, it must be “received” (v. 11; cf. 2Cor 5:20), by the laying aside of our own alienation and hostility, that is, by repentance and faith in Christ.”

Luke 7: 41"A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?" 43Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." 44Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" 50And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Both sections of bold should be connected in thought. He cancelled our debt completely…not one sin at a time.

There are many more, but I’m getting tired as I have spent much time in reading…all night! I am still awaiting my pastor’s comments which I will share. I could be wrong but from what I’ve read in Scripture, I’m not completely wrong. I know this for sure that we are forgiven of our sins past, present and future. I will not believe that my sins are not forgiven until I ask for forgiveness…otherwise I have to live in fear that at any moment while I’m sinning I am also killed and have not asked for forgiveness and thus have not received forgiveness thus sending me to hell. I know that for sure isn’t reformed theology no matter what Watson says. ;)
 

TheFleshProfitethNothing

Puritan Board Freshman
This is quite muddled. It is a fact, though we were once under the wrath of God because we were sons of Adam, we have since been adopted, changed, into new creatures. As new creatures, we see ourselves with a new Father, identifying ourselves with the newness of life through which we found ouselves justified (saved).

Now, with this in mind, there is therefor NOW no condemnation to them who walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh...yet, we are still accountable for those things done in the body. So, in the process of sanctification, we learn just how badly we understand the Spirit of the Law, in that we still transgress them. In order to clear the conscience and make one's self right with God, one only need to go bodly to the throne of Grace, confess the wrong...and realize the Father HAS forgiven it.

It is quite simple...if you offend a brother...as James speaks of..."confess your faults one to another"...you would in kind think that you would confess your faults to your ABBA Father; No? This is relationship stuff, and is necassary for proper relationship.

The law we elect are delivered from is that of sin, and death or Condemnation of the Law...If we love God, we keep His Commandments...we DESIRE them as David and Paul and so many other's did. If this is the case, and proper hermeneutic is applied in your Scripture study...you will realize that Christ died to propitiate, or pay the specific payment for...the Condemnation of His Elect ones.

With this in mind...though there is no more condemnation...there is the loving relationship between Father and child, and it IS necassary to confess a wrong doing...KNOWING that your Father loves you. It is to the benefit of the child to KNOW this love, for Christ said, "He who is forgiven little, loves little". Any one who loves someone, and has wronged them, as in a marriage or any loving family situation, KNOWS they are loved by the one they offended, and finds this CAUSE to confess the wrong to them, seeking to KNOW they are forgiven. This is the key to 1 John 1...HE IS faithful and just to forgive us our sins...you don't have to fear condemnation when approaching Him....Sinai and fire and smoke isn't going to hurt you...God isn't going to squash you like a bug...He loved you and gave His life for you...that where He is You may be also...it is relational...you were of Adam sold to sin destined to hell by the condemnation of transgression...now you are reconciled once and for all...and anyone reconciled knows they are loved and forgiven and will BE FORGIVEN whenever they confess their sins.

We have pardon from condemnation...there is no condemnation in Christ...but to say there isn't still transgression of the Law, and conviction of sin, whereby confession is necessary is...well...just not making sense in the natural...no less the supernatural.

Grow in the Grace and KNOWledge of Him!
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Heard back from my pastor. I can accept his answer and I think you guys will like it mostly.

Great question. Like most good theological questions, the answer lies in making a theological distinction. All our sins were paid for on the cross. This means that God must forgive them - not count them against us - because he is just and his justice was satisfied 2,000 years ago. It's also true though that he does not apply the benefits of the cross until he works faith in us. The ground of our justification and forgiveness was accomplished 2,000 years ago but we are not justified until he works faith and repentance in us. Now, that act does not continue endlessly throughout our lives, he is not constantly re-justifying us. (That is where Watson seem to be off base.) BUT he does call us to live in continual faith and repentance. So each individual sin is not forgiven only when we confess it, that would be salvation by confession and by remembering sins because you have to remember that you did it to confess it, but it is true that we are called on to seek to repent of individual sins. We are to try to go before God and confess the sins we know we have committed. Also, God uses it as a way of giving us assurance. As John says in 1 John 1:9, if we confess our sins (and I think he's talking about confessing our sins in general) then we are given assurance that they are forgiven. This doesn't mean that if we miss one then it's not forgiven, but that we should have the assurance that whenever we are brought to see a sin in our lives, in confessing it we can KNOW that it is forgiven.

In short, I think you are right to question Watson here, it sounds off base to me as well. We don't won't to over-react though and think that we are not to ask for forgiveness nor think that God is not still active in applying forgiveness - declaring us to be forgiven. Christ is continually making intercession for us before the throne. But again, that doesn't mean that our status as the justified, as the forgiven, is continually in flux and needing to be constantly up-dated.

Does that help?

Pastor Mark
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Christ is continually making intercession for us before the throne.

Yes, indeed.

And this is why the elect could never even possibly lose their salvation. In eternity past, among the Godhead, this was agreed, and there is nothing man could every do to change that.

Glory be to God!
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
Your pastor pretty much stated what has been said; Christ's great sacrifice on our behalf secured our eventual forgiveness and right standing with God but it was actually applied at conversion when we became one with Christ, sharing in His death. Praise God.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Your pastor pretty much stated what has been said; Christ's great sacrifice on our behalf secured our eventual forgiveness and right standing with God but it was actually applied at conversion when we became one with Christ, sharing in His death. Praise God.

Possibly. There were two people who went beyond what my pastor states about what Watson said. That was what upset me the most and pretty much threw me off. Like I said before, I wasn't expecting a debate on this so I wasn't at all prepared to defend my stand. I'm glad it did happen, however. I was a little off as were others but because of this debate I was able to question my pastor who gave a well balanced and very clear answer in my opinion.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Sarah,

Not to :deadhorse:, but I still feel it pressing to defend Watson, Sibbes and the other reformed divines against the charge of teaching novelty outside of orthodoxy. (And I will leave the post be after this, but I feel the tradition needs one last say).

Absolutely, you're right that the ground of our forgiveness was accomplished two thousand years ago; and also, that the benefit is applied later. Now we must distinguish -- there are some benefits applied immediately at conversion; others later.

Justification, as you noted from your Berkhof reading, does not mean the same thing as pardon, or forgiveness. We are justified in a "once-for-all" manner upon believing. It is a change in forensic state, and is something which cannot sensibly be said to be repeated. It happens once. We are declared to be righteous, to have the requirements of God fulfilled--his justice satisfied. On account of this, two things happen: 1.) our sins are forgiven, or pardoned; and, 2.) we are granted the right and title to life, adoption, and all the privileges of God's covenant and favor. Watson never said that this (justification) is continual or happens more than once. It can't. That would be a confusion in terms.

Forgiveness, or pardon, however, is something which can and does continually happen, again and again. It is something which we continually seek for our sins, which the scriptures testify on almost every page. It is something which, because of our justification, we have a right unto, and will most certainly receive upon repentance on account of the blood of Christ, and his intercession before the father. Just because in our justification, at our conversion, we receive forgiveness for all the sins which we have committed (and indeed, the promise of forgiveness for all which we shall commit), does not mean that we are forgiven for that which has not yet happened. This seems quite clear from the bare meanings of the words; I cannot look at my child and tell him that I have already forgiven him for everything that he will do--he hasn't even done it yet. I can, however, forgive him as he does these things. And as he does them, I am able to tell them, "Son, I forgive you." And so we also wait upon God to forgive us, by telling us the same; which we receive not by audible voice, but through faith. And how can any man receive this forgiveness by faith who has not first confessed his sin, and who first desires forgiveness.

Watson, Sibbes and the other divines were most prudent; if we use the language, "You are forgiven before you even sin," such inevitably plants the seeds of antinomianism in the minds of its hearers. If, however, we proclaim to the justified, that on account of that which they have received from Christ, forgiveness and mercy await you when you fall into manifold sins," such offers the same boldness and assurance without the dangers (and that is why I am such a pain in the neck about avoiding such language).

Remember, justification is not pardon. Justification involves us being pardoned, but pardon is not limited to the time and context of justification.

Finally, again, here are our confessions on this:
WCF, XVII.3 Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalancy of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; ad for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and prevalancy others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.
WCF XV.3 Although repentance be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.
This does not just mean sins before conversion; but all sins. Why should we expect pardon of that of which we do not repent; and from section 5 of the same chapter:
As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof, upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy.
Canons of Dort, Fifth main point of doctrine:
Article 4: The Danger of True Believers' Falling into Serious Sins

Although that power of God strengthening and preserving true believers in grace is more than a match for the flesh, yet those converted are not always so activated and motivated by God that in certain specific actions they cannot by their own fault depart from the leading of grace, be led astray by the desires of the flesh, and give in to them. For this reason they must constantly watch and pray that they may not be led into temptations. When they fail to do this, not onlycan they be carried away by the flesh, the world, and Satan into sins, even serious and outrageous ones, but also by God's just permission they sometimesare so carried away--witness the sad cases, described in Scripture, of David, Peter, and other saints falling into sins.

Article 5: The Effects of Such Serious Sins

By such monstrous sins, however, they greatly offend God, deserve the sentence of death, grieve the Holy Spirit, suspend the exercise of faith, severely wound the conscience, and sometimes lose the awareness of grace for a time--until, after they have returned to the way by genuine repentance, God's fatherly face again shines upon them.

Article 6: God's Saving Intervention

For God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election does not take his Holy Spirit from his own completely, even when they fall grievously. Neither does he let them fall down so far that they forfeit the grace of adoption and the state of justification, or commit the sin which leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit), and plunge themselves, entirely forsaken by him, into eternal ruin.

Article 7: Renewal to Repentance

For, in the first place, God preserves in those saints when they fall his imperishable seed from which they have been born again, lest it perish or be dislodged. Secondly, by his Word and Spirit he certainly and effectively renews them to repentance so that they have a heartfelt and godly sorrow for the sins they have committed; seek and obtain, through faith and with a contrite heart, forgiveness in the blood of the Mediator; experience again the grace of a reconciled God; through faith adore his mercies; and from then on more eagerly work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

Article 8: The Certainty of This Preservation

So it is not by their own merits or strength but by God's undeserved mercy that they neither forfeit faith and grace totally nor remain in their downfalls to the end and are lost. With respect to themselves this not only easily could happen, but also undoubtedly would happen; but with respect to God it cannot possibly happen, since his plan cannot be changed, his promise cannot fail, the calling according to his purpose cannot be revoked, the merit of Christ as well as his interceding and preserving cannot be nullified, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit can neither be invalidated nor wiped out.
&etc.
I hope that such at least will vindicate Watson's teachings against novelty, or being in contradiction with the reformed tradition. Whether they are right or not, you must decide; whether they are Reformed teaching or not is another matter.

I hope this post has helped in some way. Again, sorry to beat a dead horse.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
By the way -- I'm impressed you stayed up all night looking into these things. That's some mighty fine dedication. Keep it up; such makes the rest of embarrassed.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
I think Jonathan Edwards has some things to say regarding this topic, that may help to sort things out regarding our being totally forgiven of all of our sins initially, and yet confessing our sins throughout our life. This is from his work entitled, Justification by Faith Alone. The idea does not seem to be that future forgiveness is currently unapplied to us, but rather that it is given initially, with respect unto his promise to cause our faith and repentance to perpetuate throughout our lives. Blessings!

"So, although the sinner is actually and finally justified on the first acts of faith, yet the perseverance of faith even then comes into consideration as one thing on which the fitness of acceptance to life depends. God, in the act of justification which is passed on a sinner's first believing, has respect to the perseverance, as being virtually contained in that first act of faith; and it is looked upon, and taken by Him who justifies, as being, as it were, a property in that faith. God has respect to the believer's continuance in faith, and he is justified by that, as though it already were, because by divine establishment it shall follow; and it being by divine constitution connected with that first faith, as much as if it were a property in it, it is then considered as such, and so justification is not suspended. But were it not for this, it would be needful that it should be suspended until the sinner had actually persevered in faith.

"And that it is so, that God, in the act of final justification which He passes at the sinner's conversion has respect to perseverance in faith and future acts of faith, as being virtually implied in the first act, is further manifest by this: that in a sinner's justification, at his conversion, there is virtually contained a forgiveness as to eternal and deserved punishment, not only of all past sins, but also of all future infirmities and acts of sin that the sinner shall be guilty of. And this is because that first justification is decisive and final. And yet pardon, in the order of nature, properly follows the crime, and also follows those acts of repentance and faith that respect the crime pardoned, as is manifest from both reason and scripture.........

"But, inasmuch as a sinner, in his first justification is forever justified and freed from all obligation to eternal punishment, it hence, of necessity, follows that future faith and repentance are beheld in that justification as virtually contained in that first faith and repentance, because repentance of those future sins, and faith in a Redeemer with respect to them, (or at least the continuance of that habit and principle in the heart that has such an actual repentance and faith in its nature and tendency), is now made sure by God's promise. If remission of sins committed after conversion, in the order of nature, follows that faith and repentance which is after them, then it follows that future sins are respected in the first justification in no other way than as future faith and repentance are respected in it. And, future repentance and faith are looked upon by Him who justifies as virtually implied in the first repentance and faith in the same manner as justification from future sins is virtually implied in the first justification.....

"And besides, if no other act of faith could be concerned in justification but the first act, it would then follow that Christians ought never to seek justification by any other act of faith. For, if justification is not to be obtained by later acts of faith, then surely it is not a duty to seek it by such acts; and so it can never be a duty for persons, once they are converted, by faith to seek God, or believingly to look to Him, for the remission of sin or deliverance from the guilt of it, because deliverance from the guilt of sin is part of what belongs to justification. And, if it is not proper for converts to look by faith to God through Christ for it, then it will follow that it is not proper for them to pray for it; for Christian prayer to God for a blessing is but an expression of faith in God for that blessing. Prayer is only the voice of faith. But, if these things are so, it will follow that the petition in the Lord's prayer, 'forgive us our debts,' is not proper to be put up by disciples of Christ, or to be used in Christian assemblies, and then Christ improperly directed His disciples to use that petition when they were all, except Judas, converted before.......

"But, what is still a more plain and direct evidence of what I am now arguing for is that the act of faith which Abraham exercised in the great promise of the covenant of grace that God made to him (of which it is expressly said in Galatians 3:6, 'It was accounted to him for righteousness'), the grand instance and proof that the apostle so much insists upon throughout Romans 4 and Galatians 3 to confirm his doctrine of justification by faith alone, was not Abraham's first act of faith, but was exerted long after he had by faith forsaken his own country (Hebrews 11:8), and had been treated as an eminent friend of God..........

"That God in justification has respect not only to the first act of faith, but also to the future acts as expressed in life, seems manifest by Romans 1:17: 'For threrein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'' And Hebrews 10:38-39: 'Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe, to the saving of the soul.'"
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Christopher Love, The Pentitent Pardoned, pp. 125-131:

CASE 3. Does pardon of sin go before faith and repentance or follow after? I do not speak now of the priority of nature, but of the priority of time. This is a useful question.

There are many books in print, made by several Antinomians who plead for this, and they say that repentance is not a condition to qualify the subject to obtain forgiveness, but only a sign to manifest that sin is forgiven, and that a man is pardoned from all eternity. That before a man believes and repents he is pardoned is a falsehood, for the Apostle confines pardon to a believer. Romans 3:25: "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, th[r]ough the forbearance of God." For sins that are past (those sins you have committed and have repented of), He gives you pardon of them. "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find mercy." And he who does not do so shall not find mercy. He that hides his sins shall not prosper.

I answer to this query that God pardons sin after a man repents and believes, not before. And to give you a proof for this, first, I shall give you the grounds from Scripture, and then the absurdities that would follow if this were not so.

Observe that Scripture limits and confines pardon to a repenting state. Acts 3:19: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sin may be blotted out." There is no blotting out of sin without repentance. Repent that your sin may be blotted out. Acts 26:18: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified, by faith that is in Me." So that till you are turned from darkness to light, until you are turned from Satan to God, you have not received forgiveness of sins. Mark the antecedent word, "He opens their eyes." Therefore God expressly ties forgiveness of sins to repentance. And so in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." There is first a confession, that is a part of repentance, and then forgiveness.

Second, there is no promise in all Scripture that God will pardon a sin before repentance for sin. But there are many promises that God will pardon when they repent. Jeremiah 33:8: "And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity whereby they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against Me." There are many promises that when men repent of sin they shall have sin pardoned; but there is never a promise that before a man repents he shall have pardon.

Third, Scripture lays all men under a state of wrath and condemnation till they believe and repent. Luke 13:5: "I tell you, nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Ephesians 2:3: "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Verse 12: "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." No hope of heaven, no hope of pardon in an unconverted state. Now by the sufferings of Christ, we receive pardon. A man unrepenting is a man without Christ; therefore, surely without pardon. Therefore the Antinomians' doctrine bolsters men in profaneness, saying (in a manner) to a drunkard, "Go on in drunkeneness, for God has pardoned you from all eternity." But I say, "Repent, therefore, that your sins may be blotted out."

There are not only these express testimonies in Scripture, and reasons grounded thereupon, but manifest and gross absurdities that would follow if you deny this truth. This would follow, then, that there is no difference between a converted man and an unconverted man. And is not this gross, to say that there is as much comfort to a man before he is converted as to one after he is converted?

Second, if a man is pardoned before he believes and repents, then this destroys justification by faith, for "being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Now justification is a pardoning of sin; it is God's gracious act in not imputing sin unto you. When the Scripture says, "I am justified by faith," and the Antinomian says, "I am justified without faith," where lies the error? Now to say that a man is pardoned before he believes and repents is, in express terms, to contradict the Scripture when it says he is justified by faith.

The Antinomians have this evasion: They say a man is pardoned before he believes; he is actually pardoned. But when he believes, then he has a manifestation of pardon. On this evasion, another gross error will follow, for by this reason faith is no more instrumental to justification than as it declares to a man that he is justified; whereas the Scripture says there is more use of faith, for faith is an instrument actually to lay hold on Christ for pardon. The grace of love to Christ, the grace of humility, the grace of self-denial, and the grace of mortification evidence and declare a pardoned state as well as faith. This is destroy the main use of faith, and makes faith of little or no use in justification.

Another absurdity will follow. If you say that a man is pardoned before he repents, it is as much as to say that before a man is in Christ he is pardoned. This is false, for outside of Christ there is no pardon. I might run over many absurdities that would follow in denying this orthodox point.

OBJECTION 1. Does not God love a man from all eternity? And does not the Scripture say that we were chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world were laid? God's electing us, or loving us, is God's pardoning us. If God loves a man before he was born, then surely God pardons a man from eternity!

ANSWER. To argue from God's love to actual pardon is as great an absurdity as to argue that because God purposed from all eternity to create the world, therefore the world was created from all eternity. God decrees to pardon from all eternity, but God executes this decree when you are converted. God manifests this in that He has pardoned you when He gives you the assurance of His love. Antinomians make only the decree and the manifestation, and leave out the execution of it.

Observe that when we say that God loves a man from all eternity, you must not understand that it is a love in purpose. Divines give this solid and useful distinction; there is a twofold love in God: there is a love of purpose and a love of complacency or delight. The love of purpose is in God towards elect men from all eternity, that is, a love where God has purposed in time to do a soul good. But a love of complacency and delight in God is not in God till that man is converted. Before conversion, God has no love of delight; for there is nothing in you that God should take delight in. At that time you were "children of wrath." God does not love an elect man with the love of complancency till he is converted, until he repents and believes.

OBJECTION. Does God not pardon a man before he believes and repents? Then what do you say of young infants who cannot actually believe or repent? You will not be so cruel to say that all infants go to hell, will you?

ANSWER. I am far from thinking that all infants go to hell! I believe that heaven is as full of infants as any other rank of years in the world; yet this plea will make nothing for those who plead for justification before repenting and believing. This is only spoken of justification and salvation of infants without actual believing.

Consider that there is a great difference between the state of an infant and of men grown to years. The Scripture tells you that faith comes by hearing, that is, in men grown in years. They must get their faith in the ordinary way, by hearing the Word preached. But this rule holds not for young infants, because they are not capable of understanding, since they lack the use of reason, and God expects no more from them than He gives ability for. "Faith cometh by hearing," the Scripture says. But the Antinomian says, "Why need I to hear? Why need I to pray? For a man may have pardon without all."

But consider that though children cannot exercise faith, yet children have habitual faith, as divines say. Children may have grace similarly, though they cannot have the exercise of grace. "Thou canst not tell (said Solomon) how the bones of a child grow in the womb;" therefore much more how God, by a strange and a powerful manner, can implant and impress grace in the heart of a suckling babe. Yet there is grace in elect children. In an elect child there is seminal grace and habitual grace. As there is seminal sin in a child's nature, in that before a child can act sin it has sin, so, by the same reason, they are capable of grace.

You who will deny grace to children fall into the Pelagian error that a child has no sin; but a child has a depraved nature, a nature inclining to sin. Therefore, when it comes to years, though it should never see a sin committed, yet would it sin. A child cannot act grace, cannot act faith and repentance, that is true, but a child may have habitual grace. Therefore Christ took children in His arms and blessed them. Surely they must be gracious children. Such children are pardoned. We know not how to express their faith, but they have a habitual faith.
 

Hilasmos

Puritan Board Freshman
Observe that Scripture limits and confines pardon to a repenting state. Acts 3:19: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sin may be blotted out."

I don't like his approach really. Here he forces the eis to introduce a purpose or result clause (that), which, when the same thing is applied to Acts 2:38, it would follow that baptism causes the forgiveness of sins. Thus, for many it is plausible to use the gloss "on account of" for eis; which, of course, would not serve his purpose at all.

Acts 26:18: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified, by faith that is in Me." So that till you are turned from darkness to light, until you are turned from Satan to God, you have not received forgiveness of sins.

The issue here, as I see it, is the reception of forgiveness by means of faith in Christ by the sinner, not the act of God actually forgiving the sinner Himself...so it doesn't relay what he intends. Part of our eyes being opened is receiving forgiveness as accomplised by Christ (faith).

To argue from God's love to actual pardon is as great an absurdity as to argue that because God purposed from all eternity to create the world, therefore the world was created from all eternity.

I think this issue has to be dealt with better too, as it is one of the lynch pin arguments. His failure here, if one were to counter argue, is that he is mixing transient acts (creation of the world) with non-transient acts (forgiveness of sins as an act in the mind of God).

Just some random thoughts, i will stop now.
 
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