Photo courtesy of Ian Espinosa
False Grace – Errors in the Current Message of Grace, Part 2
By Thomas Taylor
Error #2 You Don’t Need To Ask For Forgiveness
Another major error in the false grace camp is the idea that when a Christian sins he doesn’t need to ask for forgiveness. This one is rooted in the first error mentioned in Part 1 ,”You Cannot Sin.” However, I’d like to cover it separately because it too is the opposite of what the Bible teaches and needs to be addressed. The idea false grace teaches is that we are already forgiven 2,000 years ago at the cross. It was a once and forever thing so there is no need to ask for forgiveness when you sin. To do so would be considered a “work” that you would be adding to your salvation, which is anathema to the grace camp.
We all know the scripture that counters this false doctrine, 1 John 1:9:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 is talking to Christians telling them to confess their sins, meaning to say the same thing as God about their wrong action, which is that it is sin. So Christians clearly can sin. Also, Christians need to confess (say the same thing as God about) their sin, as opposed to denying that it was sin. If we know it is sin, we know it is wrong. It goes against God’s Word to do it, and it goes against our nature to continue in it. Therefore, our very spiritual nature will be to agree that it was wrong and repent if we really are born again.
The false grace teaching does not come right out and say, “You don’t need to confess,” or “You’d don’t need to repent.” There are too many scriptures against them, like 1 John 1:9 and Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” To say it that directly will cause a backlash against them. So how do they handle 1 John 1:9? They don’t. Mostly, they skip it. On the rare occasion they teach on it, they will say unconfessed sin doesn’t affect our relationship with God at all. That is simply not true.
The idea is that it becomes works to confess your sin, they say. They then emphasize we are saved by Jesus’ work on the cross, not our confessing of sins. Then they say, “What if you forget to confess one? Are you going to hell for that?” What most people miss with this argument is that they have changed subjects on you. It is not about confessing your sin to be saved or even to stay saved. And it certainly is not a work if the Bible instructs us to do it. Jesus’ work on the cross alone saved us. It is just as the verse says; we confess our sins to be forgiven and cleansed. But the forgiveness is not to save us or even re-save us. We never lose our salvation if we have unconfessed sins. Two verses after 1 John 1:9 the author says this:
1Jn 2:1 KJV My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
First notice again that a Christian can sin. Also, from this verse we conclude when we sin we need an Advocate, legal council. We need legal forgiveness – this is what legally closes the door to the devil so he can no longer attack us. The sins spoken in 1 John 1:9 and 2:1 are external sins, not heart sins; and because so, we do not lose salvation for committing them.
1Jn 5:16-17 KJV If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
External sins, not from the heart, are sins “not unto death.” We will lose fellowship with the Father to some degree for we have chosen to walk away from His perfect will in that area we sinned. We also open a door to the devil but we never lose salvation for these sins. We need our Advocate to legally plead our case when we sin because the Accuser of the brethren shows up to declare we are guilty. Jesus Advocates on our behalf so that the devil has no legal right to attack us.
So we do need to ask for forgiveness and confess, agree with God, concerning our sins. It closes the door to the devil. It restores our confidence in approaching God. It also brings us back into full fellowship with God. He never left us but we leave Him in that area we sin. However, if someone takes the path of not confessing and not repenting from sin, they will eventually find themselves continuing in sin. At the point sin becomes their lifestyle, they are backslidden. Should one die in that state without repentance, they would be lost. So confession is extremely important to keep our relationship with God going. It is not a work. Confession is our response by faith to His Word which promises forgiveness and cleansing.