The absurdity of being too far gone to be forgiven

Forgiven“God would never forgive someone like me….I’m too far gone.”

Oh, really? What makes you so special?

When we understand the gospel we realize that this statement is probably the most absurd thing a person could ever say.

Why so? Because the message of the Cross is precisely that God is no longer holding your sins against you. That’s right. The slate is already clean as far as God is concerned. You were forgiven 2,000 years ago. And it doesn’t matter who you are. Does that shock you?

We only need to read what God actually says about this to see that this is absolutely true (bold-type added)

“that God was reconciling the world
to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us
the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor.5:19)

Let’s break this down and revel in the wonder of this good news that brings great joy.

First, to reconcile means to restore, to bring back into relationship. The Father was in Christ on the Cross, restoring the world to Himself.

The Greek word for “world”  is kosmos. It has several definitions so the context determines how it’s defined. In this context, it means all the inhabitants of this planet.

So, who is included in the world? Maybe I should say, who is excluded from this? Can there be anyone?

Not convinced yet? John the apostle said this about Jesus (bold-type added):

“He died in our place
to take away our sins,
and not only our sins
but the sins of all people.” (1 John 2:2 NCV)

Who is included here? Everyone, right? When did Jesus do this? 2,000 years ago. How many of your sins were in the future when He did this? All of them. Here’s what Paul said about this glorious truth (bold-type added).

When you were dead in your transgressions
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
He made you alive together with Him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions.” Col.2:13 NASB)

Notice the tenses here. They are all in the past tense. It already happened. Clearly, we were brought to God, having been completely forgiven while we were still dead in our sins.

The message we are to proclaim, then, is that God is not holding people’s sins against them anymore! They have been forgiven. That, my doubting friend, is very good news!

Before you throw something at your computer because of what I just said, I’m not saying everyone receives forgiveness, even though it’s already been given.

Gifts_xmasThink of it this way. Everything you will ever receive from God you already have available to you (Col.2:10). They are like grace presents under a Christmas tree. They are yours, just waiting to be opened.

But love requires free will. So it’s up to you if you want to receive everything God has for you or not.

Repentance is changing your mind about the absurd futility of trying to save yourself and receiving what’s already been freely given to you.

The truth is, you can have as much of God, and everything waiting for you under this grace tree, as you want.

I can hear the religious response to this. Yeah, but you have to be in Him before this is true. Sinners are separated from Him now. Oh, really? I know full well this popular myth in our evangelical worldview, but what do you make of Paul’s statement in Galatians when he talks about how God revealed Himself in him while he was still terrorizing the church? (bold-text added)

“But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb
and called me through His grace,
to reveal His Son in me...” (Gal.1:15-16 NKJV)

The correct translation here is “in me,” not “to me,” as some translate it. So, Paul didn’t seem to think he was separated from God when he was the “worst of sinners.” (1 Tim.1:15)

Beloved, there is no separation. There never was on this side of the Cross.

The biggest problem we have with the pure message of the Good News is that it sounds too good to be true. And that’s exactly why it’s good news! It is too good, and it is true!

Sadly, many will go to their grave like the elder brother in the prodigal story (Luke 15:25-31), never going in to the party, never availing themselves of all that their Father has. Like this religious legalist, they won’t enter into joy because they hate grace…especially when someone else receives it.

C.S. Lewis said it perfectly, the gates of hell are locked from the inside.

So, to say that God could never forgive me is an irrelevant statement in the light of this truth. What we are really saying is, I won’t believe it.

And that is where the resistance lies. Not with God. He has already done everything He will ever do. The proverbial ball is now and forever in our court. Our part is to simply receive what’s already been given to us. Nothing more.

So, if you want to stay on the outside, fuming over the party going on inside, that’s totally up to you. Be a stubborn donkey about it if you like. Nonetheless, it’s all still there waiting for you.

The Father of lights, from whom everything good and perfect thing comes–even to those who hate Him, deny Him or ignore Him–is waiting with open arms and a great big smile.

You are SO loved.  🙂

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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21 Responses to The absurdity of being too far gone to be forgiven

  1. nancyteague says:

    Keep on shouting this GREAT news, Mel! How it needs to be continually repeated from various angles in order to really hear. Oh, to detox from the religious fallen man gospel, renew our minds, and gloriously experience the fullness of Truth. 😀

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Nancy. Yes, we will need to keep proclaiming this because this myth of separation and needing to do something to be forgiven is so deeply entrenched in our religious culture. Absurdity It’s very subtle in our traditional gospel message, but the fact is, we still haven’t been weaned from trying to save ourselves.

      I’ve said this before, I will say it again. Why do we struggle so much with freedom?

  2. Lance says:

    Nailed it! So to speak ha ha.

  3. Amen Amen Amen!!! His grace is enough!

  4. paulfg says:

    “So it’s up to you …”

    Mel, really! You mean to say that God won’t do all the work , and that I have to? You mean to say that God might have forgiven me, but I have to forgive myself as well? You mean to say that I have to do something, and that God won’t do it all for me? Well really, Mel! How is that being saved? How is that “me” being saved – if I have to do something as well – then where is God in all of this? I am not sure I can believe in this God of yours – He seems to make things so difficult!

    Lovely post, Mel! Free will is our right – until we have to take responsibility for our own choices.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Uh…yes. 🙂 As we say in the States, it’s time to put on our big boy pants and receive His goodness.

      “I know it might seem like I’m asking too much, but if you will just lean forward from the couch and extend your arm out toward the Christ-mas tree and….a little farther…a little farther…okay, now, take hold of the free gift just sitting there with your name on it…keep a hold of it…you got it. Now, bring it back to the couch. Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
      Yes, this discipleship thing is so tiring! I think I need a nap…” 🙂

      Thanks for the laugh, Paul. Seriously, yes, faith is our part. The children of Israel didn’t enter the Promised Land because they didn’t mix the promise with faith, so they died in the wilderness even though the Promised Land was right there for them. As the writer of Hebrews said, let’s not do the same thing. Blessings.

  5. Mel, those Galatian verses make SO much sense. OMGosh, Been ruminating on this subject in my heart for ages, and was taken aback by a leader in my church who insisted “you have to be in Him before this is true. Sinners are separated from Him now.” Thank you and bless you for articulating clearly and showing in Scripture what I have felt in my personal connection to God and the Spirit.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You’re welcome, Susan. What your leader was saying was what most of the Western church has believed for centuries. I say “Western” because the Eastern church never believed this myth. The Reformers were the worst at propagating this. So, now we insult and dishonor people who don’t know Christ by telling them nothing they do is good. That they can’t know the love of a parent or do amazing things in science. This is totally absurd, and they know it, which is why they reject this brand of Christianity.

      Actually, everything good comes from God. Everyone benefits from His goodness, whether they know it or not. Like Paul did in Acts 17, I simply point this “unknown God” out to them and introduce them to this over-the-top loving Father. 🙂

      The truth is, we were separated before the Cross, but not after. This is what I mean by understanding the Scriptures on THIS side of the Cross. We must read the Bible, including the Old Testament, with our “Christ and Him Crucified in us” glasses on.

  6. Gail Manizak says:

    Excellent word Mel, shared this on the social Media’s, ty for your writings.

  7. Cindy Powell says:

    “Repentance is changing your mind about the absurd futility of trying to save yourself and receiving what’s already been freely given to you.” Great definition. Great post. GREAT news. Ahh … we ARE so loved. Blessings to you Mel!

  8. lensgirl53 says:

    I am so glad that Susan introduced your blog to me. I love to hear about the goodness of our Lord…His love, His mercy, His unending grace. Thank you for your words today. Love in Christ…Dale

  9. Planting Potatoes says:

    such good word – thank you! It is indeed absurd to see how so many in this world – sadly some Christians – act as if someday, Jesus is going to finish the work he started by coming back….and the bible never mentions that Jesus asked of all those people he healed if they were saved first or not….your words are a blessing to me today!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thank you. The fact that we cannot bring ourselves to accept the truth as it is reveals how deeply entrenched our need to save ourselves really is. We say things like “grace” and “God does it all,” but our actions are often coming from performance rather than rest. Entering the rest of God is believing God, letting Him live His life in us. That’s the wonderful good news of the New Covenant!

      Your comments are much appreciated. Blessings to you.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I also wanted to say that your comment on idea that Jesus is still finishing the work is SPOT ON! A critically important point to understand. He ALREADY finished everything He is ever going to do to save us. He’s not progressively doling out forgiveness anymore than he’s progressively dying on the cross for us! Everything about faith has its anchor in the past–on the cross, specifically. Great point! Blessings.

  10. John says:

    Thank you for your message of hope God bless you I lost my dear friend of many years and I had a bad episode where the inner men screamed at Christ an bad thing, it was not intended it just happened and then I had negative thoughts about God’s wonderful spirit well I struggled with this thinking I went to far I pray oh God forgive me and I repent I want the fullness of Christs love thank you for your positive message may Christ bless you richly

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