Total Forgiveness, Now and Forever

“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” (The New Covenant, Hebrews 8:12) Ask the average Christian, “What do you have to do for God to forgive you?” and most will cite 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Their viewpoint of forgiveness is:

  • You are completely forgiven UNTIL you sin.
  • You have to confess every single one of your sins in order to be forgiven and cleansed.

I call this “transient” or “temporary” forgiveness, as it is only good enough until your next sin. That’s the first clue that something is amiss. Another clue is that despite the fact that there are a huge class of scriptures clearly speaking of God’s total and forever forgiveness, they still insist on pointing to only one verse, 1 John 1:9, to back up their “temporary forgiveness” theology. Poor and misleading is the theology that is built on only one verse. FORGAVEOf all the 66 books of the Bible, the Book of Hebrews is the book on the New Covenant and the depths of Christ’s finished work. There we see that the totality, completeness and eternality of our salvation — including forgiveness and remission (removal) of sin — is based on the perfection of Christ, His perfect priesthood, perfect life, perfect obedience, perfect suffering, perfect sacrifice with perfect blood at a perfect altar, His perfect death, perfect resurrection, perfect intercession and perfect reign at the Father’s right hand. How can you improve PERFECT? That’s the whole point of the Book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 10:5-10 (NKJV) we read:

[5] Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. [7] Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’” [8] Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), [9] then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. [10] By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

In Hebrews 10 we see that the sacrifices of mere animals by sinful priests were imperfect, producing imperfect and temporary results. That’s why those bloody sacrifices under the Old Covenant were endlessly repeated. Hebrews 10:1:

[10:1] For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Now, look at the logic of verse 2. A perfect sacrifice never needs to be repeated again. Why? Because you can’t improve perfect:

[2] For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Hebrews 10:10 triumphantly declares the incredible results of Christ’s perfect offering for us:

By that will we have been sanctified [made perfectly holy] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all“.

The “once for all” is a Greek construct which means “once for all time“. This great salvation, made possible by the finished work of our perfect High Priest, The Lord Jesus Christ, of course includes total forgiveness and remission of sins. That’s why God can declare in His New Covenant:

I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34, Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17).

For more on God’s total forgiveness, you can listen to the following “Daily in Christ” podcast episodes: