While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He did not wait for us to say, “I’m sorry.” He just did it without demanding justice first to restore and satisfy God’s honor and dignity thus appeasing his wrath. It was not a transaction where one needs to ask for God’s forgiveness first before God will pardon. He just did it without asking for our permission.
At the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus took on himself all of our sins. He became sin for us. He became a sin offering for us (2 Cor. 5:21 ). He died instead of us, in our place. “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” (NLT Colossians 2:14). It’s all fully paid even before we have asked for forgiveness.
But why did God do it? Because that’s who God is — He is love (1 John 4:8). That’s just the way God is. He is full on grace and mercy for us all. That’s the God of the Bible as revealed to us in Jesus Christ.
From God’s Point of View—Objective Reality
It is important to know who Jesus Christ is as we try to understand whether all our sins have already been fully forgiven and fully paid — past, present and future — or not. We must not forget that there is no longer any debt to pay. Jesus, being God in the flesh, the Son of God, the Creator of all the universe, is worth more than anyone of us and is able to pay for all the sins of all mankind past, present and future. It’s all covered. From God’s point of view, in so far as God is concerned all sins have been paid past, present and future. There’s no need to pay or do anything. Everything has been paid. Only one sacrifice was needed to pay for everything (Heb. 9:26). Everyone has been forgiven.
Subjective, Personal Experience
In saying this, we must not forget that it is God’s will and purpose to give us freedom of choice — the freedom to respond to his gift of grace. God in his wisdom has given us freedom whether to accept his forgiveness or not. While it is true that God has already forgiven and reconciled all of humanity to himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19), this does not mean that all will automatically experience and enjoy the fruit of reconciliation brought to us by Christ. One has to receive and accept God’s offer of forgiveness in order to experience and enjoy its benefits. One has to accept God’s offer of reconciliation in order to experience what reconciliation with God is all about. Therefore God says, “Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
If a person accepts God’s free gift, then he will enjoy the benefits of this gift and enjoy life and love in Jesus Christ. If the person rejects it then it’s like “going against the grain.” This person will have splinters and experience pain, suffering and misery. It’s as good as if this person has not been forgiven at all. For someone who rejects God, he will experience God’s love as wrath.
Paid in Full!
But from God’s point view, Christ has already paid for all our sins. We are free from sin. His blood is able to cover all our sins past, present and future. In so far as God is concerned, he has always loved us and he has already reconciled us back to himself. He did it without asking for our permission. He did not wait for us to ask for forgiveness first. He did it out of his own freewill — not ours.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a good illustration of just how our God the Father loves us so much — the “prodigal Father!” God is love (1 John 4:8). The father in this parable loved his lost son so much such that in his heart and mind he has already forgiven him even though his lost son has not yet asked the father for forgiveness (Luke 15:20-24). God the Father has always loved us and he will always forgive us seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22 ). In so far as God is concerned, all our sins have been fully paid by Christ and we have already been forgiven even before we asked or will ask for forgiveness.
Am I encouraging people to no longer repent, confess our sins or ask for forgiveness? Of course not! Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? “Of course not!” (Rom. 6:1-2) as Paul said. That is totally missing the point and a great misunderstanding of God’s great love for all of humanity and all of his creation. God loves you and me—you can either accept this love or reject it. It’s your choice.
Because God loves us so much and he has already forgiven all our sins—past, present and future—it is but right therefore that we should rethink, repent change our perception of who God is, ask God’s forgiveness, believe the good news and be reconciled to God.
God has already reconciled us to himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19), therefore be reconciled to God! (2 Cor. 5:20).