16 March 2014

The Gift Of Forgiveness

According to the most Godly people on the planet (Christians), Jesus certainly forgave the world from sin. Any follower of Christ will proudly proclaim that the Savior came to forgive sins and be the ultimate sacrifice for mankind. Jesus came to save the lost and show the way to true abundant life through him. Jesus was also God and God provided the means necessary to bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth. He wanted everyone to receive his love and forgiveness. But there's a catch.
The gift of forgiveness. You either have it or you don't.

The most popular analogy used for receiving forgiveness is the example of a gift. Once a person receives the gift of forgiveness (or when they receive Jesus) they become whole again. They become new. They are no longer stained by sin and are washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

I was taught this "gift" analogy growing up in church and have heard it preached often. Honestly, every Godly person knows it. It is a picture painted by Christians everywhere and is used as a very popular witnessing tool to explain the love of Christ.

Before we get into the details of the gift, I want to talk about some necessary background info.

Prior to Jesus coming, God's people had to sacrifice animals for forgiveness of sin. It couldn't be just any animal either. It had to be the best of your flock. It had to be a "clean" animal without deformity or illness. The sacrifice could be sheep, goats, oxen or cattle. Specific birds were also used. Once the blood of the animal was spilled, the sacrifice was enough to wash away sins for a period of time. Not only that, but once a year, the high priest (imagine the Pope) had to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple of God to sacrifice a bull and goat for all the sins of the people. Once the sacrifice of the bull and goat was completed, the high priest placed his bloody hands on a second living goat and let it go free into the wilderness. This "scapegoat" symbolized the sins being taken away for all God's people.

I needed to explain all that so you understand the significance of Jesus. You see, Jesus (God's Son) was the ultimate sacrifice for all sin much like the bull and goat that was sacrificed by the high priest. Because of God's sacrifice, Jesus was considered the Lamb of God. Like the Passover in Egypt, Jesus was the spotless lamb that was slaughtered to save people from certain death. This is why the blood of Jesus is so important. Without his blood sacrifice on the cross, there would be no washing of sins. Blood must be spilled for sins to be forgiven. God's judgment would not be quenched without a sacrifice. Therefore Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, was powerful enough to wash away the sin of the world - forever ending all sacrifices.

Now, let's focus on the gift analogy that Christians often like to use.

Jesus dying on the cross is the gift of forgiveness. We all have a choice of either accepting Jesus or rejecting his gift. Imagine Jesus standing in front of you with the most beautifully wrapped present you've ever seen in his hands. Inside the wrapping is a gift so powerful and priceless just waiting for anyone to take and open. If a person does not accept the gift, they do not have forgiveness and the stain of sin remains on their life. However, the person who accepts the forgiveness and believes what Jesus did for them will surely be washed white as snow - their sins will be completely forgiven and dismissed like it never happened.

However, there are some minor problems with the idea of forgiveness being a gift you must accept. It's nothing major, but I'd like to touch on it.

For one, according to the picture that is painted, no one has forgiveness until they receive the gift. They must accept Jesus first. This means anyone who is not a Christian (or who doesn't believe in Jesus) is not forgiven. Their sins remain. Those who don't accept the gift are not forgiven and do not have the blood of Jesus washing their sins away. Once God sees they don't have forgiveness, he will judge them as unfit for the Kingdom and they'll go to Hell.

What does this mean? Well, everyone knows that Jesus died for the sins of the world. Christians constantly preach that Jesus died and forgave everyone on the cross. They say he nailed all sin to the cross - meaning all sin was consumed by God's Son and later buried with him. Although they preach this message, they really don't believe it. They say one thing, then say another. Let me prove my point.

Even though Jesus died for the whole world, the "gift of forgiveness" truly reveals that Jesus didn't really die for everyone. Jesus didn't really forgive the world of its sin on the cross because you have to receive forgiveness in order to have forgiveness. According to the picture, you have to accept forgiveness. Once you concede and finally receive what he did for you, then you finally have the gift. This proves that Jesus only forgave those who humbly take his offering. In other words, Jesus only forgave Christians. If only those who have the gift are actually forgiven, then Jesus lied, and he didn't forgive everyone on the cross like Christians say he did.

You can't say Jesus forgave the world and then say you must first receive forgiveness in order to have it. You are using double speak and being manipulative with your words (whether you know it or not). This is really not a complicated issue or a matter of language use. Either Jesus forgave the world or he didn't.

Now if you believe in receiving the gift or have ever used this metaphor, we must conclude that Jesus really didn't die for everyone like the Bible says. We see that Jesus only nailed the sins of those who believe in him to the cross. Everyone else is not forgiven and still has the stain of sin on their life. Their sins were not sacrificed. If this is true, those who don't have forgiveness can never enter Heaven. Why? Because God can't look on sin. He wouldn't allow sinful, unrighteous people to be around him in perfect paradise. Clearly, Jesus would never hang out with sinners or people who don't live righteously...

Secondly, we see that Jesus really doesn't love the world like he said. He really only loves the people who believe in him. True love forgives no matter what, yet Jesus doesn't do this. Sure the Bible says that he loved the world and died for everyone, but we find that this just isn't true. He just wants to be around people who choose him. According to those who know Jesus best, no one else deserves his complete love and forgiveness.

Third, this also means more than what it seems. By receiving the gift of forgiveness, you are ultimately saving yourself. Yes, you saved yourself by receiving or believing in Jesus. Sure Jesus did all the heavy lifting and handled the whole sacrifice deal, but he did not completely save you. It wasn't completely his work that forgave you, but your believing that did. Jesus did 99% of the work to forgive your sins, but he needs you to do that last 1%. It's really such an insignificant amount that it doesn't seem like much. It doesn't seem like work at all. The remaining tiny little bit is most certainly up to you. Honestly, it wasn't completely left in Jesus' hands to save you. It wasn't completely his work on the cross that washed you clean, but that you need to do your part. You need to meet him part of the way.

So what have we learned? We all know Christians know Jesus the best and this gift is how they explain forgiveness. We can also agree that Jesus loves this analogy. How? He would tell Christians to stop using it if he didn't like it. They've been using the gift of forgiveness to explain God's sacrifice for centuries.
Innocent animals paying the price for human disobedience. Ridiculous.

We have also learned that even though the Bible says that God loved the world and forgave all sins on the cross, that it just isn't true. It's really a lie. Even though the Bible says one thing, we now see who Jesus really forgave. After all, Jesus would never just die and forgive people who don't deserve it, right?

Lastly, it really wasn't Jesus' work on the cross that saved you. Sure he did the majority of the work; no one would deny that, but it still takes you to make the final effort. You have to take the gift of forgiveness from him.

Why hasn't this gift of forgiveness ever been challenged? Why hasn't anyone tested the "truth" spoken by so many who claim to know Jesus?

The real truth is you already have the gift. Yes, you already have forgiveness. You were never without the gift like they teach you. It's living inside you. It has been there for everyone, and everyone has been using it since the moment they took their first breath. There is no one without sin, therefore everyone has been using the endless grace of God over and over again throughout their lives. God's love and forgiveness can't be quenched. It can't be undone either. It was Jesus' work on the cross that saved you from sin, not yours. No amount of effort or lack of effort will change what Jesus did. It is finished. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did die for the whole world, and he most certainly nailed all sin to the cross. Period.

I can't express this enough. You ARE forgiven. In fact, everyone is forgiven! You are completely saved from your sins. You have been rescued by the blood of Jesus and been made completely whole as if you never sinned before.

Now why would anyone want a gift that looks and sounds good on the outside, but when you take a closer look, it's nothing like what it seems?

No comments :