Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. If you've trusted Jesus as your Savior, then your past, present, and future sin have been forgiven. The series continues with today's encouraging message from the cross. We believe that if He placed all the sin of all mankind upon Jesus, then He intended to offer forgiveness to all men. Amen? And if He offered forgiveness to all men, would not all men then be able or free to receive or reject that?
Amen? Therefore, if a man rejects the offer of salvation, he cannot hold God responsible for his rejection. When we reject the Lord Jesus Christ, we reject salvation, we reject forgiveness. But when I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, what have I done but I have accepted His forgiveness? That is, He's dealing with my sin. So I think for a moment, 2,000 years ago, what did He do? He took care of your sin before you were ever born.
Now watch this now. Therefore, God cannot punish you for sin because He has already punished him. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God's children are punished for their sin. Punishment is for unbelievers.
Punishment is God's justice being wrought out in the life of the person. For example, let's say that you were guilty of a crime and so your father steps up beside you and says, Judge, I know my son's guilty. He knows he's guilty.
Everybody knows he's guilty. And I know that he deserves to suffer the punishment. But if you will allow me and he will allow me, I would be willing to suffer the penalty of his sin or his crime.
I'm willing to take whatever's coming to him in his place. The judge says the penalty for your crime is execution by hanging. Then they take the father out and hang him for your crime. If that father is hanged for your crime, under no condition at any time could that court ever bring you back and cause you to have to suffer or to be punished for a crime for which your father had been executed. That is, he was your substitute. He paid the ultimate price for your crime and you are free even though you were guilty.
Now watch this. If Almighty God 2,000 years ago placed all of the guilt of all of your sin, past, present, future, and it was all future then, upon his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no way for Almighty God to punish you today having received Jesus Christ as your savior, having accepted God's substitute and God's atonement, having accepted him as your savior, God the Father having put all of the punishment and all of the penalty on him, there is no way for God to come back to you and say, well, I'm going to punish you for this sin because he's already born it. That's why in the scriptures he says here in 1 Peter that he bore all our sins in himself in his body on the tree. Now stay with me.
You're going to miss it. That means God does not punish his children. And so you see sometimes when we say, well, God's punishing me. If you're a child of God, he's not punishing you.
All right, you say, well, but I'm having difficulty and I'm having all kinds of problems here. And here's the thing we forget that there is a difference between chastisement and punishment. Chastisement is what a father does to his son.
That is correction in love. We have become sons and daughters of God through the cross of Jesus Christ. Now we're the children of God. Therefore, how does God work in your life and my life?
Not with vengeance and punishment, executing judgment. What is he doing in your life and my life? He is correcting us in love.
Chastisement, he says in Chapter 12 of Hebrews, is correction in love for the children of God. All right, you say, but now wait a minute. There's some things I've done in my life. And, man, I'm here to tell you that I've suffered. And I'm going to tell you, my friend, if you were saved before you committed those sins, God did not punish you. What we forget is the very nature of sin itself is that it extracts from us suffering because of a disobedience.
Now watch this. Almighty God, because he's just and holy and righteous, has warned us of the penalty of sin. He says ultimately the penalty of sin is death. Having received the life of his son within us, having been translated into the kingdom of his dear son, we are now living with Christ's life within us so that we can never ultimately die. But if we violate the laws of God, listen, it doesn't mean that God is punishing me. He will correct me in love.
I'm living under the canopy of his forgiveness. But the nature of sin is such as nature is like a rattlesnake. You play with one and you're going to get bit. If we play with sin, we are going to be bitten. We can't blame that on God. God says, you walk out in the middle of the street, 60 mile an hour traffic on the expressway, you're going to get hit. But I'm a Christian.
Bang, and down you're out. You can't blame that on God. That is exactly the way we operate sometimes. We think, well now, you know, after all I'm saved.
But now watch this. Because we suffer after we are saved and all of our sin has been placed upon him, God isn't punishing us. That's the nature of sin. It's like a rattlesnake. Play with it, you get bit.
Run out in front of the expressway traffic, you're going to get hit. You can't blame that on God. God only works in our lives as his children, correcting us in love. So when somebody says, why do I suffer?
That's the reason. Don't blame it on God. The second problem here is this, and that is how does God respond? What's the effect of my sin upon him? How does he respond to this? Well, first of all, God is very grieved when any of his children disobey him.
He's not surprised, knowing all things, but he is grieved in his heart. Now you say, but how does God respond to my sin once I'm saved? Look, if you will, in chapter 15 of the Book of Luke, and you recall this is the chapter of lost things, a lost coin, a lost sheep and a lost son. And if you recall in Luke 15 now, beginning in verse 18, he says in the hog pen, and this is a Jewish fellow in the hog pen, smelling like hog slop at the end of the rope, his self-esteem and self-image about as low as you could get. He says in verse 18, he says a little earlier than that, he says he came to himself. And verse 18 says, I will rise and go to my father.
Now watch this. And will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants. So he arose and came to his father. They had his speech all prepared. Here's what I'm going to tell my dad.
So what happens? The Bible says he's coming up the road and the Bible says the father saw the son. The father ran to the son. The father throws his arms around the son. The father's hugging and kissing on the son.
The father is saying to his servants, servants, kill the fatted calf. Bring me shoes. Bring me a ring.
Bring me a robe. My son was lost and his family was dead and alive again. And here's his son trying to confess all this. And the father's not even paying any attention to it.
You know why? Because the father is so loving and forgiving to get him back. He just takes him in his arms and holds him tight and hugs him. And the only thing he's concerned about is rejoicing over his son who's come home.
Now watch. Listen, this is the only incident in the Bible where Almighty God is pictured running. And see, in the days in which this was written, no one with dignity ever ran in public. No one except Jesus Christ himself would ever have talked about God running in public. And the Bible says that God the Father, with open arms, soon as he saw that son, he went running down the road, grasped that son in his arms, held him tight, loved him, kissed him. And the only thing he could matter is they were going to have a big part of celebration.
The son's come home. And what I want you to see is this, that once you and I are saved by the grace of God, this isn't license for sin, it is motivation to devotion to God. That our loving Father who loved us enough to send his only begotten son to bleed and die on the cross has made it possible for you and me to live everlastingly under the umbrella and the canopy of his forgiveness.
We live under that every day. God doesn't look down into your life and my life with vengeance and justice and punishment. God isn't chalking up bad points against us. Almighty God is reaching out and loving you and me every single moment of our lives. He's loving us and loving us and loving us and reminding us that we're forgiven. You say, but what effect does this sin have upon me?
Well, it does several things. Look, if you will, in 1 John. In 1 John chapter 1, you'll recall in verse 6 what he says. He says, if we say that we have fellowship with him and we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. Now watch this very carefully. He says, if we say we have fellowship with him and we are walking in darkness, he says we lie and do not the truth.
Now let me explain something very carefully here. What does it mean to walk in the light? He says in verse 7, but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship. One with another in the blood of Jesus Christ, his son cleanses us from all sin.
Now watch this, I'm coming back to something. What does it mean to walk in the light? To walk in the light does not mean that we walk perfectly and sinless.
To walk in the light means that our heart is toward God, our desire is toward him, that we desire to obey him and honor him and love him and praise him and worship him. And when because I am human I do fall, and when I do fall and when I do sin, recognizing that he is my Lord, recognizing my forgiveness, I confess that to him and keep moving in the light. And what I want you to see is this, when you and I as believers sin against God, the effect upon us is two things are affected, our fellowship with him and our communion with him. Two things are not affected, our relationship to him is not affected nor our standing. Our relationship to God is what? What is our relationship to him? We are what? Sons of God, that never changes. Nothing can change my relationship because it was God who translated me from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. It was God who sent his only begotten son into my life to indwell me and it was God who sealed me as a child of God. He did all that on the basis of what he was. Listen, watch this. If he did that to you and me on the basis of what he was, has he changed?
No. Once you believe in him as you're saved and your life has been changed, you can't ever become an unbeliever. You may act like one, but you can't ever become one because your life has been changed, born again. I may disobey him, but what got me into the kingdom? Jesus' death. What keeps me in the kingdom? Jesus' death. So therefore, what I do or do not do does not make any difference. My standing before almighty God is that I am in Christ. My relationship to him is that I am a son of God and nothing can change that because nothing can change the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
So I'm in. You say, but you're getting away with sin. You've forgotten three things I said about the chastisement, the nature of sin and what we lose when we sin against God. No believer has ever gotten away with anything with God.
You say, but if you just have to ask him to forgive you and he forgives you without having to do anything, you're forgetting. You see, what I want you to see is this. The atoning death of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in history, past, present and future. That God died on the cross in the substitution or death of his own son.
And my friend, I want to tell you something. If you see what almighty God has done for you, you're going to want to live for him. And when you don't, you're going to be smitten with conviction so that the very reverse is true. Because we're saved and eternally kept, because we're saved and forgiven and eternally forgiven, that doesn't motivate a fellow to go out and live like the devil. That motivates him to recognize how great God is, how loving God is, how widespread the love of God is, and how gracious he is to reach that and pick you up when there was not one single thing in you worthy of it. And you have sinned all during these years since you've been saved. And what's God been doing? He's just been forgiving you and loving you and shaping you and molding you and pruning you and conforming you to the likeness of his son because he sees an image of what you're going to be one of these days. And when he sees his only begotten son on the cross, he could look down and know that one of these days, that saint is going to radiate my reflection and my countenance forever in glory. He didn't save you because of it, but he could foresee all of us who were going to be saved. But there's one other problem here that you're not going to settle. Somebody says, but now wait a minute, what about 1 John 1-9?
So turn there for a moment. When you and I sin against the Lord Jesus Christ after we're saved, what we have to remember is this. Who is affected when you and I sin against him?
We are affected. We said we lose our fellowship, not our standing. We lose our communion, but not our relationship. We lose our joy and our peace and our power to serve him.
So we are the losers. All right, does that mean that I'm not going to be forgiven? Not going to be forgiven unless I confess it.
Let me tell you why that can't mean that. Because all of my sin has already been paid for. What he is saying in this passage is this. My fellowship and my communion with him won't be right. He says if we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And you see, we read in that that God isn't going to forgive unless we confess.
He's already taken care of it. What that means is this, that God cannot remove that which broke my fellowship and my communion with him until I am willing to face up to it. The moment the believer says, Lord, I've sinned against you. That's confession. However, how you want to speak your confession, whatever you say. The moment you do that, fellowship and communion is restored.
You know why? Because you and I, listen, you and I are living in the household, in the household of forgiveness. Because we're the children of God. We're walking around under the household, the canopy of God's forgiveness.
So he's not out there eking out justice upon us. We are forgiven children. And fellowship and communion are broken by sin restored by confession. And that which tarnished us is immediately in a white play because, you see, he says, forgiveness means to remit. That is to take away.
So what does he do? He takes away the barrier that broke our fellowship and communion. He likewise takes away that which contaminated us as his children. Listen, what confession does, confession is God's method of allowing me to experience renewed communion and renewed fellowship. It does not get me forgiveness that I just lost. It removes that which broke my communion and fellowship and renews my communion and fellowship. And I keep moving under the grace and the love and the forgiveness of Almighty God.
I want to tell you something, my friend. God has forgiven you of your sin. If you accept it, you walk under it. If you reject it, you'll die and go to hell because you rejected God's only begotten son, the greatest gift of forgiveness and the only means of forgiveness that man will ever have. If you are saved, you lose your fellowship and your communion, but you'll never lose your standing and never lose your relationship to Him as a child of God.
You disobey God, waste your life, God has to put you on the shelf, grieve the heart of God, lose your joy, lose your fellowship, lose your communion, lose your power with Him. But the very moment you're willing to confess that, and that confession is on the basis of what He did, not what you promised to do, fellowship and communion are restored. Now listen, the believer must recognize this. Once we confess it to Him, I no longer have to bear. You see, my guilt is relieved and removed because my forgiveness has been there all along. But you see, what happens, what transpires in our hearts and minds? Why do we feel guilty? Because we violate the law of God. And the moment we confess it to Him, what happens? That all lifts.
Because what? Communion and fellowship are restored. And He cleanses us of that contamination of what we were involved in. So as God's people, listen, if you sin against God, confess it and keep moving. Don't begin to wallow and to fret and to see what you're going to be able to do to get accepted before God because I want to tell you, because of what He did at the cross, you are as accepted as you will ever be. Because you are accepted, He says, in the Beloved Jesus Christ the Lord. Thank you for listening to You Are Forgiven. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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