Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of broadcast studies about guilt.
[These notes are from a radio broadcast study taught more than 40 years ago.]
We’ve been sharing a series on “guilt” the past two weeks.
For just a moment, let’s look again into the Word of God and see what God teaches us about forgiveness. In the great doctrinal portion of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he wrote this concerning Christ – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) This could also be translated “the dismissal of sins.” Our sins have been sent away, dismissed.
Forgiveness used in relation to “sins” means “a release,” the letting them go as if they had not been committed. That’s difficult to understand from our point of view because of our human inability to forget wrongs committed against us. However, we must not look at this matter of forgiveness from our point of view, but from God’s point of view.
We need to “look to Jesus” for a spiritual understanding of forgiveness.
- Acts 5:31 says that God exalted Christ to be a Prince and a Savior to give repentance and forgiveness of sins.
- Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
- In Isaiah 53:5, we learn that Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.
- Galatians 3:13 says that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.
- 1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
- Hebrews 9:28 says that Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
- 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.
- 1 John 3:5 says that Jesus was manifested to take away our sins.
- John the Baptist, upon seeing Jesus, said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
- Galatians 1:4 says that Christ gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
- Ephesians 5:2 says that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.
- Titus 2:14 says that Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
- 1 John 3:16 tells us that we perceive the love of God by the fact that He laid down His life for us.
- Revelation 1:5 says that Jesus loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
I don’t know how we can argue with that overwhelming evidence. God has totally forgiven us of every sin. God’s forgiveness of sin refers to His act of putting sin away on a judicial basis, to His remitting the guilt and penalty.
The Apostle John wrote in his first letter – “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” You and I have a new life to lead. We don’t have to go around carrying the guilt of the world on our shoulders. We’ve been freed from the law of sin and death. Positionally we are forgiven, but putting that into practice is another matter.
Take for instance a young Christian we’ll call Bob. Bob was saved just a few months ago and was really getting into the Word and enjoying his new relationship with Christ. But then something happened. He started missing some of the service at church. He didn’t come out to youth activities as much and when he did he didn’t participate the way he had before. He became more and more withdrawn and less friendly and sociable. Bob was a different person. What had happened? Maybe he wasn’t really saved? That’s a possibility, but let’s look beyond that. Maybe he was living in some deep dark sin? That too was a possibility, but let’s not assume that before knowing for sure. The pastor who had noticed Bob’s behavior change felt constrained to call Bob into his office one to talk with him. After a few polite words the pastor got to the reason for the meeting. To sum up the session, Bob discovered he wasn’t accepting God’s forgiveness for his sins before he was saved. Bob said he had been a pretty creepy character prior to his conversion and all of the sins of his former life were coming back to him.
Bob was being hit by one of the devil’s favorite tricks, the old “make them think God didn’t forgive them for everything” trick. Bob had started to feel unforgiven. That was the key for the pastor as the young man’s counselor. The pastor wanted to help Bob see that he had been forgiven by God no matter how he felt. We cannot go by our feelings. We must go by the facts. Because Bob felt he had not been forgiven, he thought he had to do something else to be saved. The pastor shared with Bob that God had done everything in saving him. Bob had to see that God had paid the penalty, that God justified him, sanctified him and glorified him in a positional sense. Bob saw during that first meeting with his pastor that he must trust not how he felt but in what God had done. Bob is today a happy and joy-filled Christian enjoying the fruits of God’s forgiveness.
Are you enjoying all the fruits of God’s forgiveness? Or are you like Bob stewing in false emotions? Has the devil tricked you into thinking that God has not forgiven and forgotten? that there is still something more you must do to be saved?
Trust God’s Word. Trust God when He says – “Happy, blessed, spiritually prosperous is the man to whose account the Lord does not in any case put sin.” (Romans 4:8) Happy are you who have been saved and justified by Christ. Remember the words of Paul in Romans 4 – “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)
Lift your spirit toward Heaven, brethren, and praise the Lord!
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]