Yes, it’s true: the sins of the entire world are missing…at least as far as God is concerned, anyway. Many people think that God keeps close track of everyone’s sins (the better to condemn you with, my dear) but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that SIN has been a dead issue for a long, long time! How can we be sure, you ask? Simple. The Bible explains it quite clearly:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.
Most Christians are unfamiliar with this passage of Scripture. To be fair, they’re unfamiliar with most passages of Scripture…but that’s a topic for another day. The point is that when Jesus died, He took away all of the sins of the world. That includes all of yours and all of mine. Every sin, for every person, for all time. He didn’t just deal with the sin of those who believed in Him, either…He died for everyone. He ‘became sin’ so that we would have the opportunity to ‘become the righteousness of God’. Notice: every sin you’ve ever committed happened AFTER Jesus died, right? That means that they’ve all been taken care of. Jesus isn’t going back onto the cross — His work is done! God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, and doesn’t count our sins against us. That’s good news!
However, some will undoubtedly ask: “Since all sins for all time have been forgiven, will everyone go to heaven?” Certainly not. If sin were the problem, sure…but it isn’t sin that keeps us from God…it’s our unwillingness to submit to His authority! When we submit to God, He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and immediately give us eternal life. It isn’t GOD that avoids the unsaved — it’s the other way around! The barrier of sin came down a long time ago, and the only barrier left between Man and God is PRIDE. If you’re not a Christian, I’ve got good news: God isn’t mad at you…in fact, God’s crazy about you!
Okay, so sin is a dead issue…are we free to disobey? Of course not! Is repentance from sin unnecessary? Certainly not! Repentance is turning away (literally “changing your mind”) from the sins that you commit. The fact that Jesus took the punishment for our sins doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want. Why would we slap God in the face after He gives us eternal life? Turning from sin is an important part of Christ-likeness and maturity. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, and it’s unlikely that such a life is possible when you’re insulting God by continuing to sin.
Religious people are often quick to point out the sins and weaknesses of others…a fact not missed by Jesus Himself. It’s interesting to note that He condemned the self-righteous religious elite of His day but didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery! While the Pharisees prided themselves on following the letter of the Law, the adulterous woman didn’t seem to care about what God expected from her. One might expect Jesus to praise the Pharisees for their hard work, and to chastise the woman for neglecting her spiritual duties…but the Pharisees caught the brunt of Jesus’ harshest words, and Jesus was kind and gentle toward the sinful woman. He did tell her to go and sin no more, but didn’t He condemn her like the others did. That’s two things we should all remember…first: that Jesus isn’t our accuser, and second: that God doesn’t think too highly of self-righteous condemnation.
So, let’s put the puzzle pieces together, shall we? Only those who submit to God and accept the salvation that He offers will receive eternal life. Those who do submit receive eternal life, and the abundant earthly life Jesus talked about can be theirs as well. What do those who don’t submit get? Hell…the Bible is clear in that regard. No eternal life…only eternal separation from God. That’s bad news! The passage above hints about how serious this is…Paul instructs Christians to appeal to (and even beg) our neighbors to be reconciled to God. That is our ministry. NOT to point out their sins and condemn them, but to act as ambassadors for God, speaking for Him. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8)…it’s our job to share the Gospel. The Gospel or “good news” is that Jesus gave us access to eternal life by dying the death that we deserve.
What separates us from God? Simply that we choose to ignore Him…to drown out His ‘still, small voice’. There are lots of voices shouting at us, trying to get our attention. The loudest isn’t always the best! Please: be reconciled to God…otherwise, the death that Jesus died for YOU will have been in vain.