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“Your sins are forgiven,” was twice said by Jesus to two individuals; the first was the crippled lowered through the roof, as mentioned by Matthew, Mark and Luke.[1] The second time was to the woman who anointed Him at Simon the Leper’s house, as mentioned by Luke.[2] Each time, the Lord just said, “Your sins are forgiven,” and to the cripple after he was healed, as a sign that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins, Jesus merely said, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”[3]

Have you noticed something? There was no warning, no condition, nothing else. “Your sins are forgiven, be healed and go home.” There was no, “You must not sin again,” or, “You must follow Me,” or, “You must show yourself to the priests.” There were no conditions laid down. Likewise, with the woman in Luke 7, there were no conditions, just a commendation and a blessing, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”[4]

Now compare this with the man cleansed of leprosy who asked Jesus if He was willing to cleanse him, to whom Jesus replied, “I am willing.” And when he was cleansed, Jesus said to him, “But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”[5] And to the man who was healed by the Bethesda pool, after he was healed, Jesus said to him, “See you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”[6] And to the woman whom He saved from being stoned, He said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”[7]

To the two whom He healed and the one whom He saved, that is, the leper, the cripple and the woman caught in adultery, Jesus did not say, “Your sins are forgiven,” but rather He said to them that He was willing to heal and that He would not condemn. He set a condition upon their lives afterwards. They had to do something. One had to testify and the other two had to stop sinning. Yet to the cripple who was lowered through the roof and the sinful woman who anointed Him,[8] who could be the same woman of John 8:3-11, He said, “Your sins are forgiven,” and that was it. One went home and the other just needed to go wherever she wanted.

Herein lies the greatness of forgiveness exemplified. You can be healed by Jesus and saved from condemnation by Jesus, but if you are not forgiven by Jesus, you are not completely set free. You are still under obligation to do something in return for the healing or the lifting of the condemnation. As such you are not really free. Whereas, when your sins are forgiven, not only are you healed and blessed as well as commended; you are free. Free from any further obligation to do anything in return for that forgiveness, so that whatever you do afterwards is a freewill offering, and not, as it were, a tithe, an offering made to fulfil an obligation.

So, when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”[9] What is this freedom that Jesus is talking about? Firstly, this freedom cannot be accessed by any other way except, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”[10] Remember, He said this to believers, the Jews who had believed Him.[11]

So, firstly, believers cannot access the truth that sets them free; they can be healed and delivered, but not set free; and as such, believers are still under obligation. That is, believers are given a command to obey, and because they are given a command to obey, they can disobey that command and so sin again. And anyone who sins is a slave to sin, but to be a slave means not only having no freedom, but you are under a command from the Master. Only disciples, that is, those who hold to His teachings, will come to know the truth, and the truth will set them free.

So, what is the truth that disciples will come to know, if we hold to His teachings? Now the Jews missed what He was saying completely, replying Him by saying, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can You say that we shall be set free?”[12] Jesus wasn’t talking about being set free from any slavery, Jesus was talking about believers who become disciples by holding on to His teachings, will know the truth that sets them free.

Jesus actually ignored the Jews and went on with what He was saying. That is, if you ignore the reply of the Jews and see that in verse 34, Jesus was not replying them but going on with His line of thinking, you will see what Jesus is really saying in the following verses. Thus they read: “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”[13] It is after that, in verse 37, He turned the flow of His conversation to the Jews and said, “I know you are Abraham’s descendants…” in reply to their answer of John 8:33.

So, when He said, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” can you see that He was talking about Himself because He was using the capital ‘S’? Now, tie this to the incident when the cripple was lowered through the roof where He said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins…”[14] Then you can see that it is when the Son of Man forgives you or your sins that you are set free. And it is freedom from having to make a witness and an obligation to fulfil the Law; it is freedom from having to avoid sinning more; and it is even freedom from leaving your life of sin. See this now in the proper context. It means you do not need to have anything to do with the Law anymore; you do not need to worry about sinning more; nor do you have to leave your life, which was, before He delivered you. Why? Because your sins are forgiven you, and when He says that, it means that your sins now, your sins that were, and your sins after, are forgiven; just don’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Now, understand this. This freedom of sin is not available, that’s right, not available for believers. They have to continue avoiding sin and leaving their life of sin. Why? Because they have chosen to remain believers, and not to move on to the place of discipleship, and to pay its price.

Understand then the gravity and the power of these words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven.” These are words that will endure even when Heaven and Earth are destroyed. So then, your sins of the past, the present and forever are forgiven, if you are really His disciples. To be able to live in that freedom means that:

1) you are free to go home.

2) Your faith has saved you; not will save you, but has saved you.

Again, when Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you,” to the woman who anointed Him, even though she was a sinner who loved much, Jesus had declared her saved once and forever. She could never, ever be lost. Why? Because she was not a believer, but rather, a sinner who loved much. Notice, neither the cripple nor this woman were disciples when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven,” and yet they were set free there and then. So, the forgiveness of sins is the gift of the Lord that sets a person free forever. To whomever the Lord says, “Your sins are forgiven,” is set free to go home knowing that their faith has saved them and will keep them saved, and so they can go in peace.

It is a gift and it is a reward, that is, it can be earned; not by repentance however. Not by repentance for repentance does not bring the reward of forgiveness. Repentance opens the way to the gift of forgiveness, but being a gift, there is no guarantee that it is available.

You see, although the Lord said, “If you repent, I will restore you,”[15] and He declared, “Repent! Repent and live!”[16] you may think that anyone who repents anytime will be restored, that is, receive forgiveness. There is not an automatic relationship between the two. Both are to be preached, but restoration following repentance does not equate to forgiveness. For the Lord also said to the Jews, “When I called they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen.”[17] As such, God may call for repentance and many will also call for forgiveness, but it does not mean it will be given.

The leper of Matthew 8 was healed of his leprosy, that is, he was restored, but he was not forgiven. Jesus was willing to heal him only to put him under the obligation of the Law. Likewise, the cripple of John 5 was healed and restored, but not forgiven, restored, but not set free.

Thus, repentance brings restoration, but it does not mean that forgiveness is given. Restored to make good the life of sin, as it were, and restored to bear witness that you were a sinner by making the sacrifice demanded by the Law and staying away from sinning. That is, to live under the Law and its prescription, and that is how you stay away from sinning, by living according to the commandments and keeping them. For some, the gift of forgiveness is given and some who do not even repent receive this gift. Jesus gave it to the cripple and the woman of John 8. To emphasize this, whosoever the Son forgives is forgiven, whosoever the Son sets free is free indeed. It is a gift! Some who repent may be forgiven, but not necessarily.

By the way, have you realised that no one came to Jesus saying, “I repent!” Nor did people come to Him repenting, but rather, they said, “I believe,” and they came to hear Him and get their sick healed and their demon possessed delivered. So, the first part of the message is not really listened to and obeyed by those who heard Him. Now you know why continuous, unceasing repentance has been decreed for you, the elect. For no one is recorded to have repented at the preaching of Jesus despite all the signs and wonders, yet Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah,[18] only to sin irrevocably in Nahum’s time.[19]

Now, the forgiveness that is a reward, not a gift, is as good as a gift, if not better. For the forgiveness that is earned can be kept with full rights of ownership. That is, you own the forgiveness because you have earned it. And that type of forgiveness is earned by those who are really His disciples who hold on to His teachings even when tempted by teachings of other men.

And how do you know you have received the forgiveness that belongs to disciples? It is to the disciples that Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”[20]

Those who know they have ownership over something always behave differently from those who do not have ownership, just like a son behaves differently to a slave. It is the authority of ownership that will set you apart, the way you speak, behave and think is what will let you know whether you have received the forgiveness that is a gift from Jesus or the forgiveness that is the reward of the disciple.

The hallmark of the ownership of forgiveness is freedom; freedom to go home anytime to the Father and boldly approach the throne as a son. Freedom from doubt of your salvation, for once you are a son, you will always remain a son; and freedom from fears and worries, the freedom of knowing you have peace with God.

So, look more closely at forgiveness and you will understand why the blood of Jesus is given for the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins and not why there is no covenant for the repentance of sins worth the blood of Jesus, only the blood of bulls.

The understanding of this will lead to more and better understanding of the wickedness of the prostitute church. Amen


 

[1] Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20

[2] Luke 7:48

[3] Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:11; Luke 5:24

[4] Luke 7:50

[5] Matthew 8:2-4

[6] John 5:14

[7] John 8:11

[8] Luke 7:36-38

[9] John 8:34-36

[10] John 8:31

[11] John 8:31

[12] John 8:33

[13] John 8:31-32,34-36

[14] Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24

[15] Jeremiah 15:19

[16] Ezekiel 18:30,32

[17] Zechariah 7:13

[18] Jonah 3

[19] Nahum 3:5-7

[20] John 20:21-23

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