By Ron Graham
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. How many professing Christians truly understand Jesus’ words here? Better yet, how many of those individuals believe His words? When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees He explained many things, but most of them were not able to understand because they did not truly know God. He told those Pharisees that sinners are slaves to sin. Yet if the Son were to make them free they would be free indeed. Because the Pharisees didn’t believe that Jesus was their Messiah they didn’t understand His words. You and I do believe Jesus is our Messiah, so we should not only understand His words we should believe them. The Son has set us free from the slavery of sin. Why then are so many professing Christians so incredibly oppressed with the guilt of sin? The answer lies in the truth. If we don’t believe God’s truth then the Son cannot set us free from the bondage of sin.
We are all sinners and deserving of eternal punishment. Deserving is one thing, but actually being subjected to that punishment will never become a reality for those of us who are born again. Why is that truth so hard to grasp? There is no punishment or judgment awaiting the righteous children of God. What is waiting is an eternity with Jesus our Lord; that fact alone needs to be acknowledged by every born again believer in Christ for what it is – pure joy. Joy is of the Lord and that joy is uncontaminated, spotless, perfect, and it is ours.
The fact is, erroneous beliefs due to Bible verses being taken out of context or verses which have been misinterpreted have become so commonplace that many Christians now believe they can lose what God has given them and that their sins will keep them out of Heaven. The following is a good example of a verse commonly misinterpreted. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27. Many Christians see this verse as proof that we, the children of God, must stand before Him to be judged, and that judgment is not going to be pretty. Not so. Judgment is reserved for the damned not the justified righteous in Christ. Yes, every man is appointed to die once. This includes those who are taken in the Rapture. Those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the born again, have already died once. We’ve died to our old self and have been reborn. We cannot and will not die again; from the time we become a child of God we are eternally alive. These bodies we currently occupy will perish or they will be changed in the twinkling of an eye into our glorified eternal bodies, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The Christ rejecters of this world are the only ones who need concern themselves with God’s coming judgment.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us that everyone dies once and then are judged, but the very next verse says “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28. This verse explains that Christ’s sacrifice was a once for all time historical event. There is no more sacrifice for sin. All those who have looked to Jesus Christ for salvation will be recognized as His. Sin will never again be associated with those who are truly Christ’s redeemed.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about sin and how sin is associated with the children of God. Are we justified/saved? Yes. Do we still sin? Yes. There seems to be a paradox in those two questions, especially considering the answers are both in the affirmative. But there really isn’t any paradox. God justified us the very instant we first believed in His only begotten Son. We are now the “just”, we now live our lives by faith, at least we should. We have been set free from the bondage of sin – free indeed. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. …now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:18, 22. Now that we are free from the bondage of sin, our lives should produce, as the Holy Spirit directs, much fruit. I can’t say it enough or make it plainer, the truly born again will never be held accountable for sin. Even though we occasionally stumble and commit sins, God has justified us and we are now His righteous children who He sees as sinless.
Therefore the judgment spoken of in Hebrews 9:27 is a judgment awaiting all those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation. There is no judgment for the children of God now that we have been set free from the bondage of sin.
Another misinterpretation of scripture lies in the following verse. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. This “judgment seat of Christ” is somewhat of a misnomer. Our English word “judgment” needs to be qualified when we look at the Greek word from which it is translated. The Greek word is “Bema”, which means seat or throne. Christ is not going to be judging us (His Bride) in terms of punishment. His “Bema” seat will be a place in Heaven where He will be handing out rewards to all the faithful, which are those who followed the instructions of the Holy Spirit in producing fruit unto holiness. It’s sort of like an awards ceremony after the Olympics. These rewards will be given to all those who performed Holy Spirit inspired “good” works, but keep in mind that our works have nothing to do with our Salvation. Salvation/justification was fully accomplished in our lives when we first believed. The reference to “bad” in that verse is in reference to those who, even though they are saved/justified, will not receive any rewards at all because their works were not good, but rather done with selfish motives – not Holy Spirit inspired.
There are many truly born again Christians out there who are continually beating themselves up because they stumble (sin) now and then. If I’ve heard the words once I’ve heard them a hundred times “I think I may have committed the unpardonable sin”. Let me just say right at the get go that committing an unpardonable sin is quite impossible for anyone born again. Even the lost and perishing of this world are not condemned because of sin but because of their rejection of Christ. Jesus Christ’s death on that cross was the payment for the sin of the world. If we truly believe He did what the Bible says He did, how then can there still be an unforgiveable or unpardonable sin floating around? As God Almighty, wouldn’t Jesus have known whether or not He’d overlooked one?
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30. This statement should give us cause to pause and ponder just what it was that Jesus finished. If you had been there at the foot of that cross, and you spoke Greek, you would have heard Jesus speak the following word “Teleo” and you would have understood that word to mean “It is finished, there’s nothing else to be done – I paid it all.” Jesus would never be sacrificed again for sins. Why? There’s no need. His perfect sinless blood was abundantly sufficient to cover all sin, from the past to the present and all future sins as well.
I’ve said it many times in past commentaries. No one who is currently taking up space in the abode of the damned is there because of the sins they committed while alive on this planet. They are there for one reason. Every single soul in that horrible place is there for eternity because they rejected Jesus Christ. They are Christ rejecters. They made their choice while alive and they are now relegated to spend eternity in the most horrible place ever imagined.
Now let’s get back to the unpardonable sin. The two verses that are so often misunderstood and taken to mean an unpardonable sin are in Matthew chapter 12. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” Matthew 12:31-32. To get the flavor of what has just transpired we must go back a few verses. “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:24. The leadership of the Nation of Israel had just determined, and then publically pronounced, that Jesus Christ was indeed Beelzebub – Satan.
The Pharisees had committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by stating that Jesus was Satan. The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus as God and Savior. Referring to Jesus as Satan was tantamount to calling the Holy Spirit a liar. Therefore in pronouncing that Jesus was Beelzebub, their rejection of Jesus as Messiah became final. Suddenly that generation of Israelites had become a cursed nation. National Israel, by rejecting their Messiah, had committed blasphemy and Jesus – God Almighty – would certainly take action. Jesus pronounced that curse on them. Thus as a nation they could no longer be forgiven, neither in this life nor in the life to come. Although the curse was on National Israel, and more specifically that particular generation, it was not on individual Jews. They were still free to choose Jesus, and those who did were given everlasting life.
So, today as we look at the concept of an unpardonable sin we can see there is no such thing. God is not about to tell us He paid the full price for all sin and then renege by saying “Oh, well there is that one unpardonable sin that slipped by me and is still lingering out there – be careful”. Not a chance, all sin has been covered by the prefect blood of the Lamb.
Judgment is in the future of mankind but it only applies to those who reject Christ in this life. The blinders are in place to obscure the truth, but once the Holy Spirit gets through to the stiff-necked of this world the Son can set them free and then they too shall be free indeed. Have you been set free?
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed