Every Bible teacher and preacher will agree that from the moment you accept Jesus as your savior, all your past sins are forgiven. But what about the sins we commit after we’re born again? Rest assured, God’s Word is very clear that you’ve been forgiven much: all sins, past, present and future.
The Woman Who Loved
One day, Jesus was eating at a Pharisee’s home. This religious leader, named Simon, prided himself on keeping the Law and surely wouldn’t have called himself a sinner.
Right in the middle of their meal, a woman burst into the room. She fell before Jesus and poured expensive perfume all over His feet. She let her tears run over His toes and wiped them with her hair. Over and over she poured the perfume on his feet and kissed them. The whole scene was an extravagant display.
The Pharisee was appalled. Not only had this woman interrupted their meal, but it was well-known she was an immoral sinner. In his house. Crying on his floor. Knowing his disgust at the woman and her behavior toward Him, Jesus told his host a story:
“A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”
“That’s right,” Jesus said… 47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Who’s Forgiven More?
At first glance, it may look like Jesus is saying the woman was a bigger sinner than Simon the Pharisee. After all, the Bible calls her a “[notorious] sinner, [an outcast devoted to sin]” (Luke 7:39 AMP). The Pharisee on the other hand had devoted his life to studying the Law. Surely, his sins were nothing compared to those of this blubbering woman. Right?
Wrong. Jesus is not comparing their sins, but their awareness of forgiveness. The woman demonstrated extravagant love to Jesus because she knew He was the source of her forgiveness. The Pharisee didn’t even give Jesus the full honor of a houseguest then scoffed at the idea that He could forgive sins.
How Much Am I Forgiven?
Some of us were taught that only the sins we committed before accepting Christ were forgiven in that moment of salvation. We were told we need to keep asking for forgiveness every day for all the new sins we’ve committed.
Verses like 1 John 1:8-9 are quoted to defend this idea. We learn that in the Old Testament God’s people had to sacrifice for their sins over and over (Leviticus 4). Should we keep asking God to forgive our sins in order to be the one who is forgiven much and can love much?
No! Actually, the Bible teaches us to focus on Christ, the Forgiver, rather than ourselves, the sinners.
How to Love Much
The book of Hebrews helps New Covenant believers understand how completely Christ’s work at the cross changed the game. In chapter 10, the author of Hebrews explains how Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate and final sacrifice for sin (brackets and emphasis added):
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 But every priest stands daily ministering and repetitively offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man [Jesus], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified…
17 then He adds, “Their sins and lawless deeds will I remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
No Record Against You
Think about it. At the time that Jesus died, how many of your sins were future sins? All of them! Jesus’ perfect sacrifice addressed every sin in history, in His present age, and in all ages to come. That’s why “knowing that all things were now accomplished,” He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:28-20).
Jesus doesn’t run around wiping our slates clean every time we mess up. He destroyed the slate! He obliterated the record against us by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). And He promises not to let any sin, error, or mistake ever be imputed to us, or counted against us, again (Romans 4:8, Hebrews 8:10-13, 10:16-18).
Today, we love much when we know we’ve been forgiven much—forgiven all, perfected forever, forgiven of every sin we have ever and will ever commit. Sin is such a big deal to God, robbing Him of intimacy with His children, that He sent Jesus to conquer sin once for all.
When we believe in that total, perfect, all sufficient sacrifice, we naturally love Jesus more than we would if we were still having to deal with our sins every day. It’s the knowledge that Jesus conquered and forgave every sin—past, present, and future—that frees us to love him radically and with our whole hearts. When we know we’ve been perfected forever in Him, we can’t help but pour out our love as extravagantly as the woman who washed His feet with her tears and hair.
You are the one who’s been forgiven much. So, you are the one who loves much!
Daisy Chains and Dynamite
When doubts about your forgiveness enter your mind, they can set off a chain reaction. In this teaching, Carlie will help you learn to speak “dynamite words”—the miracle-working power of God’s Word—over yourself and have it obliterate any “daisy chain” thoughts that can be keeping you from rising above turbulent circumstances and living in His peace.
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