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Forgiven Forever Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2021 1:00 am

Forgiven Forever Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 19, 2021 1:00 am

Here’s some good news: the righteousness of God is bestowed on sinners who believe the gospel. We can’t ever be good enough to enter heaven, but our legal justification through Jesus Christ qualifies us for eternal life!

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Renewing Your Mind
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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, knowing that the righteousness of God is bestowed on sinners who believe the gospel is incredible news to anyone thinking he or she can never be good enough to enter heaven. That's what justification by faith is all about.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, some may say it's all well and good to be justified by faith, but how do I feel that for myself?

Well, Dave, when you ask the question, my mind goes to a true story about a man who was dying. Now he was a Christian leader. He had been the president of a seminary. And as he was approaching death, he was very fearful. People reminded him, you know, you've written books, you've preached to large crowds.

Nothing brought him peace. But when they reminded him that we are saved only by the blood of Jesus, he died in peace. How do we feel it? We really do feel it by faith. And then we go to the scripture that we have discussed elsewhere, where it says that God cleanses us from all unrighteousness. I've written a book entitled The Power of a Clear Conscience.

I believe very deeply that it can help all those who are listening as they make progress in their Christian life and deal with their internal souls. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us turn our attention to God's word and let us be blessed by the great doctrine of justification by faith. It is a free gift. And all of Luther's attempts to please God and his attempts to do all that he was doing only ended up with a ledger that was not in his favor. And he knew that he was headed to judgment. But Jesus gives us the righteousness of God. A second word or phrase is complete.

It is complete. Now I'm going to explain something to you that could be a means of deliverance for many of you. That's how deeply I feel about this message. And that is this, that when you receive Jesus Christ as your savior, your sins are legally forgiven, past, present, and future.

It has to be that way. And that's exactly what the Bible teaches. How many of your sins were future when Jesus Christ died?

Well, all of them. Because you and I certainly were not on the scene 2,000 years ago when Jesus died. So Jesus, anticipating sins, anticipating the sins that would be committed among those whom he would save, he took all those upon him in one offering. The Bible says in Hebrews chapter 10, for by one offering he perfected forever those who are sanctified. But now I do want you to turn to another passage just so that you make sure that I'm biblical here and I'm not making this up. This is Colossians chapter 2. Colossians chapter 2, and I'm going to begin sort of right here in verse 13.

It says that God made us alive together with Christ, Colossians 2 13, having forgiven all of our trespasses, all of our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside nailing it to the cross. You see, in those days, the sins that a person committed were always placed above the cross. Now Pilate had written Jesus the King of the Jews. That was his sin.

All of your sins, figuratively speaking, were nailed to the cross because there was this long list, and God says, I'm going to take care of the sins that Erwin Luther, who has not yet been born, will someday commit, and I'm going to take care of all of them. And it's a pretty good long list. It's not as long as Pastor Burch's. His goes on. His goes on to the next column. And there are some of you who are listening.

Your list is longer than the both of us put together, right? And God says, that's what Jesus is guilty of. That's why Luther, when he was finally able to see the gospel, said, my sins do not belong to me. My sins belong to Jesus. He's the one who was guilty of all my sin, whom God made sin for us that I might be made the righteousness of God in him. And so what we see is the fact that it takes care of all sin. Now I have to ask you a question. Was Luther converted there back in the monastery in Erfurt when he spent hours confessing his sins?

Of course not. There are millions of people who are going to be going to confession today who do not understand the gospel and who have never received the gift of eternal life. You see, if salvation was just taking care of the sins of the past, even if you remember them all and you confess them all, as I mentioned earlier, tomorrow is another day and there's no assurance that you really are right with God because that'll depend on how many sins you commit tomorrow and how many you have to confess. You see, when Luther began to understand the gospel and he began to understand that Jesus died in our behalf and that the merit of Jesus is ours, then he was free from the endless treadmill of good works and sacraments which could never bring peace to his soul. So when you receive Christ as Savior, you now understand that the decision that you're making affects your whole eternity, not just past sins. Twenty-four hours a day, God demands perfection if we're to walk in his presence. Twenty-four hours a day, Jesus Christ supplies what God demands and so he always is meeting our requirements. Well, do we still as Christians confess our sins?

Yes. Having received the good news of the gospel, having all of our sins taken care of legally from now until all the way to heaven's door and beyond, yes, we do. It's a discipline that God puts us through so that we might be able to walk in fellowship. You can take the message I preached last week and you can insert it right here as you learn to walk in the light. But we don't walk in the light through confession in order to be converted, in order to be saved. That happened when we received Christ as our Savior. That is secure.

Our position before God has not been altered as a result of our struggles and sins. So the second word that I have for you today is the word. Well, now, what is that word I gave you? Complete. Complete. Next word, number three, guarantee.

Guarantee. Think this through. When you receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ and you receive him as your Savior, that means that from now until all of eternity, your end result is guaranteed. After all, the Bible does say, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, nakedness, peril, sword?

No. Jesus talked about the fact that when you were one of his sheep, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life and no one shall pluck them out of my hands. My Father who gave them to me is greater than all and no man can pluck them out of my Father's hands. I've been at Moody Church now for 35 years and I've always wanted to preach a message entitled Hands in Harmony, where you have the hand of the Son and the hand of the Father together.

Maybe someday I'll do that. But notice this, one of the first doctrines that Luther gave up once he understood the righteousness of God is credited to us is the doctrine of purgatory because you see, purgatory was based on the idea that nobody really dies righteous enough to go to heaven. Oh, there are a few people and we call them saints and they go directly to heaven, but the common person is not righteous enough to go into heaven. So what he has to do is he has to go to purgatory where he will be purged and nobody knows how long it is. And then after he's been purged, God will say, well, now that you've paid for all of your sins that weren't taken care of on earth, now you're ready to enter heaven. I've talked to people who say, as long as I can get to purgatory, I know that I'll eventually make it into heaven, but I don't want to die with a mortal sin. Well, the simple fact is if the righteousness of God is credited to you when you believe in Jesus as it is, then you arrive in heaven on the basis of Jesus Christ's merit and you are welcomed into heaven as if you are Jesus because you're based there on his merit.

That's why the Bible says, Jesus said, if you believe on me, you'll never see death. Oh, you'll see it for a second maybe, but you go from this life to the next without a hassle at the border. Many of you may know that for most of my life I was a Canadian citizen. Now, thank God I am an American along with all the rest of you, but when I was a Canadian citizen and I kind of still am, it's a little fuzzy, Canada couldn't keep me out. I had a passport, so I go there.

Oh, you're a Canadian citizen. You're coming home. Yeah, I'm coming home. You know that the Bible says that in Jesus we're in heaven already. It says in Ephesians 2 that we are raised with Jesus Christ. We are seated with him already in heavenly places.

It is a done deal and we can have the assurance that when we die, there will be no hassle at the border because Jesus died for sinners. You know, my mother died a number of years ago. She died at 103.

As many of you know, my father died at 106. I always called my mother every Saturday night and she thought that maybe God misplaced her address, but one day just to tease her because I knew her so well and how she loved Jesus and had been gloriously converted, I said, Mom, are you sure that when you die, you're going to go to heaven? And she said, I am as sure as if I already were there. Not because she was a righteous woman, though she was, but it wasn't her works that did it. It is totally, completely the merit of Jesus. And if you come to heaven and say, and God says, why should I let you into heaven? And you say, well, you know, I tried to live a good life to balance the scales. God will turn away from you and you will be lost forever. Nobody gets to heaven because they've been able to balance the scales. No merit of my own, but thanks be to God, the merit completely of Jesus.

There's another phrase I want to give you and that is personal assurance, personal assurance. You see, what happens is this, and I noticed that Pastor Colin Smith referred to this in a message recently that I heard over the radio. He said that even after you are acquitted by God, you can still have guilt feelings.

Let's go back to that illustration I gave you earlier. You know, the one where the kid has violated the law, the judge pays for him. When he leaves the courtroom, he could still feel guilty because the boy could say, you know, I was actually guilty of going beyond the speed limit. If you commit a crime and God declares you innocent, and of course there's a difference between God doing it and human beings doing it because we have to have consequences and the judicial system. But if that happens in your life and your experience, you may say, well, God, God has forgiven me, but I still feel guilty because I did do a very evil thing. What you need to do now is to educate your conscience because your conscience now is lying to you. Your conscience is telling you you are guilty of something that God has acquitted you for. So before others, you may have to live out the consequences of your guilt and your sin, but before God, the slate is entirely clear, but you and I may still suffer consequences and guilt feelings, and guilt feelings lie. And what you have to do is to retrain your conscience at this point.

You can't go by feelings. They scream lies at us. One illustration, and I could give many of a similar nature, I was supposed to be speaking in a church in Michigan, and for some reason I was very angry and discombobulated.

I don't know if that word is still used, but you can kind of figure out what the meaning is. And I was parking the car, and in 10 or 15 minutes I had to speak at this conference, and I felt guilty. I felt like a failure. I felt all kinds of weight of sin, and I began to think, what am I going to do? Can I stand and preach and talk about all the beauties of the gospel? Getting into the pulpit like that? So in the car, I was alone.

I suggest you do this when you're alone. I spoke out loud to the devil, and I said, be gone, Satan, for it is written, who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?

It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that has risen again and is even now on the right hand of the throne of God, who makes intercession for us. And I'll tell you within a matter of minutes, my conscience was brought in line to the truth of scripture, and I was able to go there and to preach a message something like this one, and a missionary presence said, if I had heard this message 20 years ago, I'd have been delivered from all of the guilt and all of the struggles that I've had on the mission field for the last 20 years. You see, what we need to do is we need to educate our conscience in accordance with the word of God, because there are times, now you don't stifle your conscience, you don't go into drugs and alcohol to stifle the conscience, but what you say is, conscience, you form an important function in my life, but right now you're lying to me. There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. You folks who are listening to this message, may I urge you to believe this to the very center of your being, that you stand righteous before God because of the work of Jesus Christ. And you stand on that.

Now you say, well I have issues though with other people, I've wronged other people, and I'm going to be preaching a message about that still in this series, so please stay tuned. Finally, I want to zero in on the word elect. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? So who are the elect?

They are the ones whom God marked out from before the foundation of the world that he would overcome their darkness, overcome their unbelief, and savingly believe on Jesus. Well, you say, I don't like that at all. I mean, you motor boaters.

Yeah, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but. Well, let me tell you something. Don't complain too much because you can find out whether or not you are a member of the elect.

Is that fair enough? What you need to do if God has worked in your heart is to believe on Jesus, stop trusting your goodness, trust holy in the work of Christ, transfer your trust to Jesus alone, and then you will know that you are elect. That's the only way you can know is by coming to Christ in humble repentance and receiving by faith the gift of eternal life. And then you can know, and you will know it by the work of the spirit, by the assurance of the word of God. And if you struggle with assurance that can be very normal. All of us do from time to time. And that's why here at the Moody church, we have prayer partners after the service.

We want to help you in those areas. But the fact is this, that you and I must be aware of the fact that when we come to Christ, he will receive us. He will not cast anybody out who comes. So if the spirit is working in your heart, you come and you'll be a member of the elect. Then you'll know that you are a member of the elect.

Maybe I could illustrate justification this way. I have a book up here. It's actually a hymnal. Let us suppose, and I'm thinking of a man that I interviewed years ago who eventually died of AIDS. And I think of him because his life was a mess, but he came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I'll use him as an example though I could use myself.

I could use anyone as an example, but this is the illustration I gave him. I said, now, Roger, let's think of two books. This is your book. It says the life and times of Roger. Well, you open it up.

It's pretty ugly. All kinds of sin, all kinds of betrayal. Over here though is another book called the life and times of Jesus Christ. You open it up. Nothing but beauty, perfection, meeting God's standards in everything, paying for a penalty.

Wow. It's a beautiful book. In salvation, what God in effect says is I'm going to tear out all the insides of your book. I'm going to take the insides of my book and I'm going to shove it in between your covers.

Oh, the life and times of Roger. Nothing but beauty, nothing about holiness. The book is so beautiful that even God adores it. That is the gospel.

I love this poem. The terrors of God and of hell for me can have nothing to do. My savior's obedience and blood hides all of my sins from view. My name on the palm of his hands, eternity cannot erase.

Forever there it stands a mark of indelible grace. Has God talked to you today? Those of you who have never received Christ, you don't have the assurance of eternal life because you've been basing it on works.

You've been basing it on your confession and you have never personally said, Jesus, this moment I believe on you. Father, I'm asking in the name of Jesus right now, work throughout this audience here at the Moody Church for those who are watching on the internet or listening by radio and all of the different means by which this message will be listened to. We pray that your Holy Spirit will show people the beauty and the completeness of the gospel. May they believe on you right now and thank you for your amazing love. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Well, my dear friend, this is Pastor Lutzer.

I want to ask you a question today. Have you believed on Christ? Do you have the assurance that if you died, you'd be in fellowship with him because of your dependence upon all that Jesus has done? I'm talking to those of you who have lived very difficult lives, in fact, very sinful lives. You've wandered away from God but you've listened to this message and the Holy Spirit is saying to you, come. Come to receive forgiveness. Come to receive restoration. Come to receive all that Jesus provided for those who believe.

Let me ask you another question. Have you been blessed as a result of these messages entitled The Power of a Clear Conscience? We are making these messages available to you as a resource. You can then listen to them again and again, share them with your friends. You might want to go over some of these messages to remind yourself of the truth.

I know one man who says that he listens to some of these messages three or four times. Well, if you are interested in receiving them, here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. We are making them available to those who send a gift of any amount and thanks in advance for your generosity in helping us get the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands upon thousands of people. You are holding our hands in ministry. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and as I have already mentioned, we thank you in advance for your generosity. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Bitterness is like a cancer that spreads everywhere in the body. It destroys your joy. Next time, how bitterness can be uprooted from your life for good. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-23 18:19:41 / 2023-12-23 18:28:16 / 9

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