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The Forgiveness of Sins: It’s for Everyone

Picture courtesy of Andrew Errington - http://wordpress.andrewerrington.com
(Picture courtesy of Andrew Errington)

I believe that non-Christians (please excuse the term) can receive forgiveness from God for sins and wrongdoings just by simply asking, if they want forgiveness because they’re sorry for those sins.

If you aren’t a Christian you may think that God only forgives people who lead a religious life, if they try hard enough. Consequently, you might think that God only forgives Christians, as they lead a religious life. This might not make sense to you – surely God can accept you for who you are?

Well, you’re right about that — he does. Christianity is not about leading a religious life in order to get God to forgive us for things we’ve done wrong. God does accept you for who you are, but sins are not necessarily who you are, and sins are sins — they do need to be forgiven. We know this in our own relationships with our parents.

Luke 24: 46, 47 says this (Jesus speaking):
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…

The Christian Gospel is good news (“Gospel” means good news in ancient Greek). God forgives all who are sorry and ask for forgiveness.

But then it goes further than that. If you put all of your trust (faith) in Jesus you are given eternal life, effectively ‘saved’.

This is probably more for the theologians now, but anyway it’s worth a mention. I think God always forgives those who repent. That’s the first step. The next step is to put complete trust in Jesus for your ‘salvation’ — that you will have eternal life.

Non-Christians can ask God for forgiveness because of Jesus, and get it. But they only enter into eternal life when they believe in faith, which is when they become Christians.

Creating this difference between those that ask for forgiveness and those that believe is perhaps not necessary, and the Bible doesn’t always provide a clear distinction. Yet, at the same time, it can help us to simplify our message of good news.

Forgiveness is for non-Christians. We might complicate the message by adding “believe Jesus is Lord” to it at first, without saying to guys, “Look, you can be forgiven today for your past sins. Great! But what will you do about the future? Believe in Jesus as your saviour and the future is covered, you can enter eternal life and receive the rewards of God.”

John the Baptist preached a message of repentance, and had a baptism of repentance. Jesus’ message is more than that, and his baptism is one that enters us into eternal life. John the Baptist was called to prepare the way. Repentance and forgiveness perhaps comes first, then people must decide if they want to go further — if they want to accept Jesus as saviour and enter eternal life.

I believe in once saved always saved, but I also believe that there could be a distinction with those who ‘believe’ and those who just want forgiveness. Perhaps this is why the early church seemed to have only allowed those who were baptised in the name of Jesus into their worship services, and only those were allowed to take part in the Eucharist (communion). The non-baptised weren’t allowed in to all these services, but were allowed in prayer services or other types.

Baptism is a sign of not just repentance but entering into the life of Jesus. That’s what Romans 6 indicates. (See also 1 Peter 3:21.) Effectively, it’s a sign of our acceptance of Jesus as saviour, Lord, and our decision to become a disciple, to follow The Way, amidst some other things.

This is just something I’m developing and thinking about at the moment.

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One thought on “The Forgiveness of Sins: It’s for Everyone

  1. Dear Baptist/evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ,

    I ask you to consider these points:

    1. When God said that he would preserve his Word, what did he mean?
    Did he mean that he would preserve the original papyrus and parchment upon which his Word was written? If so, then his Word has disappeared as none of the original manuscripts remain.

    Did he mean that he would preserve his word in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek only? He would not preserve his Word when it was translated into all the other languages of the world?

    Or did God mean that he would preserve his Word…the message/the words…the Gospel: the free gift of salvation, and the true doctrines of the Christian Faith? Would God allow his Word/his message to mankind to be so polluted by translation errors that no translation, into any other language from the three original languages, continues to convey his true words?

    2. There IS no translation of the Bible, from the original ancient languages, into any language, anywhere on earth, that translates the Bible as the Baptists/evangelicals believe it should be translated.

    No Bible translation on earth translates Acts 2:38 as, “Repent and believe in Jesus Christ every one of you and you will receive the Holy Ghost. Then be baptized as a public profession of your faith.”

    There is no translation that translates, into any language, Acts 22:16 as, “ And now why tarriest thou? arise, believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Then be baptized.” Not a single translation in the entire world translates that verse in any way remotely resembling the manner in which Baptists believe it should be translated.

    Isn’t that a problem?

    And this verse, I Peter 3:21 as, “Asking Christ into your heart in a spiritual baptism, which water Baptism symbolizes, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    And Mark 16:16 as, “He that believes will be saved, and then baptized, but he that does not believe will be condemned.”

    Why would God allow EVERY English translation of the Bible throughout history to be mistranslated or use such confusing language as to suggest that God forgives sins in Baptism? And not only all English translations, ALL translations of the Bible have retained these “mistranslations or confusing wording”.

    Do you honestly believe that God would allow his Word to be so polluted with translation errors that EVERY Bible in the world, if read in its simple, plain interpretation, would tell all the people of the world that God forgives sins in water baptism??

    3. Why is there not one single piece of evidence from the early Christians that indicates that ANYONE in the 800-1,000 years after Christ believed that: Water baptism is ONLY a public profession of faith/act of obedience; sins are NOT forgiven in water baptism? Yes, you will find statements by these early Christians that salvation is by faith, but do Baptists and evangelicals really understand how a sinner obtains saving faith? THAT IS THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION, MY FRIENDS! Does the sinner produce faith by his own free will or does God provide faith and belief as a gift, and if God does provide faith and belief as a free gift, with no strings attached, when exactly does God give it?

    4. Is it possible that: Baptist-like believers, at some point near or after 1,000 AD, were reading the Bible and came across verses that read “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” and “Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved” and established their doctrine of Salvation/Justification first, based on these and similar verses alone, and then, looked at the issue of water baptism, and since the idea that God forgives sins in water baptism doesn’t seem to fit with the verses just mentioned, re-interpreted these verses to fit with their already established doctrine, instead of believing the “baptism verses” literally?

    Is it possible that BOTH groups of verses are literally correct?? If we believe God’s Word literally, he says that he saves/forgives sins when sinners believe/call AND when they are baptized? Why not believe that God can give the free gift of salvation in both situations: when a sinner hears the Gospel and believes and when a sinner is baptized?

    Should we re-interpret God’s plain, simple words just because they don’t seem to make sense to us?

    Dear Baptist/evangelical brothers and sisters, your doctrine is very well thought out and very reasonable…but it is wrong. Do you really believe that God would require an education in ancient Greek or a Greek lexicon to understand what he really wants to say to you? And do you really believe that Baptist “Greek” scholars understand Greek better than the Greeks themselves? If the Greek language, correctly translated, states in the Bible that Baptism is only a public profession of faith as Baptists say, then why do the Greek Orthodox believe that the Greek Bible plainly says, in Greek, that God forgives sins in water baptism? Somebody doesn’t know their Greek!

    Please investigate this critical doctrine further. Do you really want to appear before our Lord in heaven one day and find out that you have been following a false doctrine invented in the sixteenth century by Swiss Ana-baptists?

    God bless you!

    Gary
    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/06/the-early-church-fathers-believed-in.html

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