Because Christ’s death on the cross was for all sin, if we trust Christ, we have received complete forgiveness. This isn’t just for things we have done wrong in the past, but for the things we are struggling with right now, and for things we’ll struggle with in the future.
Once For All. The moment we trust Christ as Saviour, we are free of God’s judgement. The issue is settled: our case is closed and God will not open the files of our guilt again. God will not judge us, because our sins have been judged and punished in Christ.
God, by His own authority, clears us of all charges. God “made Him who knew no sin (Christ) to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21), so that we could be made right with God again.
Does this mean we are no longer answerable for the things we have done wrong? His forgiveness doesn’t mean there won’t be consequence to our actions (Gal. 6:7). When we do wrong things, make mistakes and hurt people, we will still have to live with the result. But those of us who trust Christ will never be judged for our sin. That is why Paul could write:
Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through who also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2).
The word justified describes the status of a person who has paid the full penalty for their wrongs. In this case, Christ has paid the penalty for us.
In effect, God says to those who trust Christ (or have “faith” in Him), “Your sins have been paid for. My Son died for you. So, in Him you are right and blameless before Me. You are forgiven of all your sin in a ‘once for all’ payment!”
Complete. Blessed are those whose [wrongs] are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.’ (Rom. 4:7-8 niv).
Forgiven. A young mountain climber struggles up a steep trail with a heavy backpack. He weakens, slows and falls down. Then an older climber drops back, lifts the load off his back and shoulders it himself. The young hiker feels free and starts up the trail with new energy. The word “forgiven” means “to lift off and carry away”. That is what happens when we accept God’s forgiveness. He takes our failures and guilt away and puts them on Christ instead.
Covered. This means our wrongs are hidden forever. We don’t need to worry about being confronted by those sins. We will not see them again. We will not face judgement for them.
Never count against. God puts our sins on Christ’s account. He will not hold our sins against us. Instead, He puts the perfect righteousness (rightness with God) of Jesus into our account. God looks on us as His perfect children!
When we receive His forgiveness, God judges all sins to be “paid for in full”. Christ becomes our Saviour and our representative in heaven (1 Jn. 2:1). He is our shield, protecting us from ever being separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:28-39).
We need to remember, however, that this forgiveness is given only to those who trust Jesus. Like medicine, forgiveness is not effective until taken.
Want to read more about how God describes the forgiveness He offers you? Ask you Scripture Reader to help you think about these verses in the Bible: • John 3:16; 5:24; 11:25 • Romans 1:16; 5:1; 10:11