Thursday, July 5, 2012
“[Jesus Christ] 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, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:25 KJV).
Does today’s Scripture teach that we are only forgiven of our past sins?
Some believe that, once we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, God will forgive us of our sins only up to that point in life. These are said to be the “sins that are past” in today’s Scripture. Whatever sins we commit after we trust Christ, we are urged to confess them daily (“short accounts with God”). First John 1:9 is then ripped out of its context here.
Hebrews 9:15 is the best cross-reference to today’s Scripture: “And for this cause he [Jesus Christ] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Here, we see how God dealt with Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant. Paul’s revelation not only gives us new information (the mystery program), it also further explains the prophetic program (what God has been revealing since man’s creation).
Israel was commanded to offer animal sacrifices, but this animals’ blood did not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). Those animal sacrifices typified, or previewed, the perfect blood of Jesus Christ that would one day be shed on Calvary (this blood would be efficacious in taking away sins). Israel will receive national forgiveness at Christ’s Second Coming (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:26,27; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17). What national Israel has yet to experience, we have now received in Christ (Romans 5:11; cf. Romans 3:21-31). God was fair in passing over Israel’s “time past” sins because Christ’s blood, His propitiatory sacrifice, would permanently cover them. Despite their historical idolatry, Israel will still be His people one day by virtue of the New Covenant!
Colossians 2:13 says God has forgiven us Christians of “all trespasses.” Thus, the phrase “sins that are past” (today’s Scripture) could not refer to our past sins. It refers to Israel’s past sins.