Christ’s Finished Work on The Cross

Rest in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
Follow along with bible verses below.

Play 1 John 1:9 - Bob George
Download

1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive
us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

An Obsession with Confession

1 John 1:9 is the verse we use to negate the good news of Christ’s finished work on the cross. The following questions will help you probe our obsession with confession and conclude with Jesus, “It is finished”

A. Confession cannot obtain forgiveness:

What must be done in order to receive forgiveness of sins according to Hebrews 9:22?

Hebrews 9:22
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

What then are you asking God to do?

Is Christ going to come back and die again according to these verses? 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:24-28; Hebrews 10:10-14

I Peter 3:18
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,…”

Hebrews 9:24-28
“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

Hebrews 10:10-14
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of  Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool, because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

If you are in Christ, what do you have according to Ephesians 1:7-8?

Ephesians 1:7-8
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

Does it make sense, then, to continually ask for something you already have?

Where is the forgiveness of sins found?

Are you in him?

Since you have forgiveness, is there a need for another sacrifice for the sins you commit today or in the future according to Hebrews 10:17-18?

Hebrews 10:17-18
“Then He adds; ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”

Who alone has the power to forgive sins?

Mark 2:7
“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Can your confession bring about forgiveness?

What have we been given as a result of Christ’s death according to the following verse?

2 Corinthians 5:21
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Where is righteousness found?

Are you in Him?

Do we make ourselves righteous or does God provide righteousness according to Romans 5:17?

Romans 5:17
“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

How much unrighteousness does 1 John 1:9 say we are cleansed of?

If we are cleansed of all unrighteousness, do we need more cleansing?

B. Confession cannot restore fellowship:

With this mentality, what is it that breaks your fellowship with God?

If your sins caused you to be out of fellowship with God, what then keeps you in fellowship with God?

How much of your life can you live without sinning?

So, how much of your life would you be in fellowship with God?

What does God say is the wages of sin in Romans 6:23

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you think sin breaks your fellowship with God, what are you saying is the wages of sin?

Which one is right – the wages of sin is being out of fellowship or the wages of sin is death?

If God were going to deal with you according to your sins, what would He have to do when you sinned?

Do you know of any place in the Bible that discusses being in and out of fellowship?

According to 1 Corinthians 1:8-9, who has called you into fellowship and who is able to keep you in fellowship?

1 Corinthians 1:8-9
“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

The Bible is very clear. The wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. It is a black and white issue with no in-between. Somewhere, however, the issue has been clouded through the concept of being in and out of fellowship. Instead of the wages of sin being death, it is now being out of fellowship. Instead of the gift of God being eternal life, it is now being in fellowship. This has watered down the gospel and has robbed literally thousands of Christians the ability to experience the abundant life Jesus promised.

When Jesus said “It is finished,’ what do you think that means?

Colossians 2:13-14
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us, He took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

Acts 26:17-18
“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
(Click here to learn more about light & darkness )

Psalm 103:10-12
“… He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him,- as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 38:17
“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In Your love You kept me from the pit of destruction; You have put all my sins behind Your back.”

Colossians 1:13-14
“For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 10:43
“All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

Matthew 26:27-28
“Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, now drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Luke 23:34
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up His clothes by casting lots.”

Hebrews 9:12
“He [Christ] did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Revelation 1:5b-6
“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”

When Christ went to the cross, He died for our sins “once for all.” He paid the penalty of death, which is what the law demanded, so that we could experience His life. Don’t complicate the simplicity of the gospel through the fellowship issue. Recognize that you are in the fellowship, that the blood of Christ purifies you from all sin and rejoice in God’s free gift of eternal life.

What About 1 John 1:9?

1 John 1:9One of the most asked questions on the radio that Bob George answered was, “What about 1 John 1:9?” The 1 John 1:9 question is still being asked today. So, how are we to understand 1 John 1:9 in light of the New Covenant?

Play 1 John
Download

We invite you to feel free to follow along with Bob with it is finished bible verses.

1 John 1:9

When we read the Bible, we need to look at the context in which each book was written. If we don’t do that, it’s easy to misinterpret what a particular book or chapter is really saying. When that happens, we can easily come to wrong conclusions, which can then cause a lot of misunderstanding about the work of Christ on our behalf.

One example of this is that many people believe that although their sins have been forgiven prior to salvation, after salvation it is up to them to obtain forgiveness through their confession. Others believe that all their sins have been forgiven at the cross, however, they cannot experience forgiveness unless they confess each time they sin. The verse both parties use to defend their belief is I John 1:9. Let’s read the first chapter of 1 John, and keep in mind two important questions: “Who was John’s audience?” and ‘What was he trying to accomplish in this letter?”

The audience was a confused church in Asia. The pastor there asked John to write a letter to help clear up some major doctrinal heresy called “Gnosticism.” Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis”, which means knowledge. The Gnostics were a group of people who believed they possessed superior spiritual knowledge. They believed that all flesh is evil and that only spirit is good. Because they believed that, they didn’t believe that Jesus really came in the flesh – they believed He was an illusion. They also believed that because sin had to do with our flesh, there really wasn’t sin – sin was also just an Illusion. (That’s similar to people today who believe sickness is an illusion.) The church in Ephesus was filled with people who not only didn’t believe Christ came in the flesh, they didn’t believe sin was real.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life” (I John 1:1). In other words, John is establishing that he was an eyewitness to the fact that Jesus truly did come in the flesh. He did this to convince the Gnostics that Jesus was not an illusion.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (verse 3). This verse says two things. First, John repeats the fact that he, the rest of the apostles and other people saw Christ in the flesh. He wanted the Gnostics to realize that there were many people who could testify to the reality of Christ. Second, he is saying that there are some people in the audience who were not in the fellowship with Christ.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (verse 5). John’s message in this verse is clear: God is light and in Him there is no darkness. We are either in the light (saved) or in darkness (lost). Scriptures are full of this comparison between light (saved) vs. darkness (lost). On our next posting we look more in-depth to learn more about light and darkness in the scriptures.

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (verse 6). In other words, if someone says he has fellowship with Christ, but is walking in darkness (lost), he is lying and not practicing the truth. The Gnostics claimed to be in fellowship with Christ (saved), and yet were actually living a lie and therefore weren’t practicing the truth.

“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (verse 7). In other words, if we walk in the light (are saved) we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. To put it another way, once we are saved, we are permanently in the fellowship because the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin. Therefore, we aren’t forgiven because we confess our sins. We are forgiven because of what Christ did for us on the cross.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (verse 8). John is now addressing the belief the Gnostics had regarding sin because they didn’t believe it was real and therefore believed they had no sin. The “we” John is using here doesn’t refer to believers. He is referring to the Gnostics, who believed they were without sin. Because they claimed to be without sin, then they were only deceiving themselves and the truth (Jesus) was not in them.

However, verse 9 says that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In other words, if the Gnostics were to confess they had sins, then God, Who is faithful and righteous, would forgive and cleanse them from their unrighteousness. In the Greek language, the words “forgive” and “cleanse” mean past actions that have results today and will continue to have results in the future. Also, the word “all” used in these verses means all. It doesn’t mean that we are cleansed of our past sins and our past unrighteousness, it means we were cleansed of all our unrighteousness. And if God cleanses us from all unrighteousness, then we are cleansed forever!

“If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives” (verse 10). Basically this verse is a repeat of verse 8. To put it simply, it means that the Gnostics can’t claim to be without sin and yet be saved. John is saying that because the Gnostics claimed they had no sin, they were actually calling God a liar and therefore didn’t know the truth.

The purpose of the first chapter of 1 John was to compare the truth of God to the error of gnosticism. John was addressing the Gnostics, who were deceived by their own teaching. He wanted the Gnostics to understand that what they believed conflicted with what God said. He was not, however, addressing believers.

Today, there are people who believe that Christians must confess their sins in order to be forgiven. They believe that it is possible for us to be “in and out” of fellowship with God and that we must “keep short accounts” (or stay “fessed up”). The Bible doesn’t teach that we are “in and out” of fellowship with God. A person who is saved is in fellowship with God – eternally. “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9). A person who is lost is not in fellowship with God. There is no bouncing back and forth. You are either in fellowship with God (saved, walking in the light) or you are not in fellowship with God (lost, walking in darkness).

Scripture also doesn’t teach the idea of “keeping short accounts” (being “fessed up”). Teaching that we are to “keep short accounts” with God causes very real and damaging problems because we miss the point of what confession really is. Such popular teaching makes confession a mindless cure-all, a “bar of soap” we use daily to clean up our flesh. A common scenario would be of a person privately confessing to God a bitter attitude towards another and then asking for forgiveness. Afterwards, he doesn’t think about it, feeling that he has adequately met the “spiritual” requirement.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13) The fact is that while the sin issue is dead between you and God, it isn’t between the people with whom we come in contact daily. When we realize we’ve wronged another, we need to go to that person and take steps toward reconciling the relationship with that person.

It is easy to “confess” our sins and continue on, thinking we have met a spiritual” requirement. But has there really been a change in our attitude, and not just our action? That would be like the little boy whose father angrily tells him to sit down and be quiet in church. The little boy does so, but tells his father that “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!” God is much more concerned with changed attitudes. As our attitudes change – through the truth of God’s Word – our actions will eventually change.

Teaching we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven doesn’t produce changed hearts. Why? Because we have placed ourselves under a “law” which demands that we confess every sin in order to be forgiven and stay in fellowship with God. However, there are no laws, Mosaic or man-made, that can free us from sin. The law was never meant to free us from sin because “the power of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Therefore, we usually end up repeating the same sin before the week (or even the day) is over and feel guilt and frustration over our inability to change.

This obsession with confession keeps us under the power of sin because we are consumed with thoughts of ourselves in a sincere desire to please God. As a result, though, we become so concerned about whether we are “in or out of fellowship” with God that we don’t have time for our relationships down here. We are too busy keeping “short accounts” to be able to serve our brothers in love. Compare and see how many times the Scriptures exhort us to love one another versus confessing our sins. The emphasis is overwhelmingly in favor of loving our brothers.

We need to focus on the fact that God has forever settled the sin issue. Before Christ, men’s sins separated them from God. Christ was the only solution to this dilemma. Then He hung on the cross and said “It is finished!”, He meant it is finished! God has bridged the gap between Himself and man through His Son. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them… God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19,21).

Since the Bible tells us that all of our sins are forgiven because of the grace of God, then what do we do when we do sin? Ignore it and say “I’m under grace, so it doesn’t make any difference if I sin?” Many believe that teaching the forgiveness of Christ will cause people to go out and sin more. Paul dealt with this argument over 2,000 years ago. He responded, “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2). He continues to tell us that “we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. . . For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:6,7,11,14).

The more we understand our identification with Christ, the more we understand that we have been freed from the power of sin. We are freed from sin because of the work of Christ Jesus on our behalf, not because of our law keeping. Teaching the forgiveness we have in Christ is not a license to sin – we don’t need a license to sin. The only reason people often believe this is true is because they lack an understanding of God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance. They do not understand the motivating power of Christ’s love for them.

The Bible tells us “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23,24). Concerning lying, for instance, we are told “to put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (verse 25). Or, concerning stealing, Ephesians 4:28 says that “he who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” In other words, stop lying and start telling the truth. Quit stealing and go to work so you can share with others. These are not laws we are to keep. Because we are children of God, it doesn’t make sense for us to continue lying or stealing.

These are just a few verses that tell us what to do when we do sin. Not one verse says to confess our sins before we can go on with life. The motivation, instead, is found in Ephesians 4:32, which says we are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” The only way we can ever love, forgive and accept others is because Christ has first loved, forgiven and accepted us. It is true that we will treat others the way we feel God is treating us. If we feel we have to perform for God and ask His forgiveness each time we sin, we expect the same performance from everyone else. If we believe God loves us only when we do the right things, then we tend to also love others when they, too, do the right things.

The opposite is also true. Only when we understand the unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance of God will we ever be able to share that same love with those around us. It is impossible for us to love and forgive one another if we are constantly worrying about our own acceptance to God. The simple truth is that “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

If we believe we must continually confess our sins in order to be loved and forgiven by God, we are actually mocking God and telling Him that Christ’s work on our behalf was not sufficient. The damage caused by this belief is extensive. There are many who are in bondage to this “law” that was created and perpetuated by man. That’s why it is so important to understand what the bible says about Christ’s finished work on the cross and our identity in Him. As we understand these truths and keep our eyes on the Lord instead of ourselves, we will see our lives change.

Enter God’s rest today.