The gospel is the good news that brings great joy. We’ve been looking at how really over-the-top good this is from the first two chapters of Ephesians. Last time, we looked at the startling reality of experiencing God’s presence. This time we’ll look at another stunning truth about the gospel of God’s grace—the total cancellation of our sins and what that means.
First, here’s what Paul says:
7 Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. (Eph.1:7 TPT *)
Because we don’t understand grace, we tend to make the gospel about getting your sins forgiven. In so doing, we make the gospel powerless and impotent, sapping all the life out of it, so we stay on the hamster wheel trying to save ourselves.
But that your sins are canceled isn’t up to you. The only thing you can do is agree with it. Does that sound radical? Welcome to the new covenant!
You cannot decide who God forgives, or when He does it. And He has decided to forgive you…period. It doesn’t matter what you think about it, it only matters what He thinks about it, and He says your sins are canceled.
Don’t believe me? Paul gets more explicit in another letter….
19 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 NIV *)
This shouldn’t really be difficult to understand. From God’s point of view, He’s not counting your sins against you anymore. And if you’re part of the “world” this includes you. I would think this one fact alone would cause great joy! (It’s okay, you can get excited.)
The Passion Translation says it this way:
19 In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world, not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God. (2 Cor.5:19 TPT *)
The writer of Hebrews agrees with this joy-bringing aspect of the New Covenant:
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb. 8:12 NKJV *)
When did God do this? Of course, on the cross 2,000 years ago. How many of your sins were in the future when He did this? All of them!
“…all because of the cascading riches of his grace.”
Yeah, do you think! Cascading riches is probably one way to describe it.
Here’s the thing. We don’t know how to walk in forgiveness so we don’t accept it. We actually don’t like grace either. This is also why we want revenge whenever people have wronged us.
Unforgiveness is just a symptom of someone who doesn’t get grace.
The biggest tragedy of all is that God has already forgiven people who won’t accept it.
Grace is quite humbling…we can’t do anything but learn to trust in it by faith. But when we do, it equips us to live God-empowered lives (Titus 2:11-12).
Consider what happens when we don’t for a moment.
Adam, who was already like God, was deceived by the serpent into doing something in order to become like God. That’s both absurd and tragic when you think about it. But aren’t we under the same tragic delusion when we’re trying to seek forgiveness already freely given to us?
So, instead of living Christ’s life—accepted in the Beloved—we become religious and try to figure out all kinds of hoops one must jump through in order to receive something we already have! Yup, pretty sad.
Here’s why this is important. Forgiveness of sins, while certainly wonderful, is not what makes the good news such crazy good news. You could have your sins forgiven under the old covenant. Nothing new there.
Please listen carefully…your sins were canceled and taken out of the equation so that you could live under new management.
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Rom.8:2 NIV *)
Did you read that. We’re no longer under the old law of sin leading to death; we’re under the new law of the Spirit and life! Specifically, Christ’s life. You and I are legally bound to the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom…and fullness of joy!
In other words, you’re legally bound to freedom! To live sin-conscious is illegal…it’s following the wrong covenant. It’s contradicting what God says about you, and that’s probably not a good thing to do. When we do sin we do so because we still don’t know who we are. As Bill Johnson says, we sin by faith.
The gospel is about adoption. Canceling your sins makes provision for you to be placed in Christ so you can share in His manifest goodness in heavenly places (more on that in Ephesians 2).
Because you’re forgiven, you’re free to live your authentic life in Christ that God planned for you from before the world was made (Eph.1:4-5).
When Christ died, you died, when He was buried, your sins were buried with Him. When He was raised up into new life and seated in heavenly places, you were raised with Him. All these things are already true whether you believe or not. THAT’S the gospel. The power of that gospel comes to you when you believe (Rom.1:16-17).
So…your sins are canceled, now receive the gospel!
Should I say it again. You are forgiven! God did this so you would accept the invitation into a new and living way where Christ is your life and the truth about who you really are (John 14:6). All of heaven knows it…they’re just waiting to see if you know it.