Before I got saved I did many, many really bad things. It would serve no purpose to mention any of them here. The remarkable thing is that from the moment I got saved I never again felt the guilt for the things I had done. It was like someone had simply wiped the memory slate clean. I was set completely free from even the remembrance of them.
Early on in my salvation, I did not exactly know what had happened in order for me to be set so completely free. But later on I came to know that since the Bible says that the wages of sin is death, someone must have died for me; and I came to know that that Someone was none other than Jesus Christ Himself, whose sacrifice alone could atone for my sins.
That’s how realistic my relationship with Jesus is – and so it is with you. We stand saved today because Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. Probably because we keep hearing them so often, those words sound so mundane; yet, how powerful and exciting the reality of it is in our lives!
Now, we need to understand that when God forgives He forgives completely. He does not take you back to the crime scene so you can see the amount of damage you have done and hint at you to weigh how sorry you ought to be. In fact, I never at any one time felt that I needed to be sorry about anything. The feeling I had was that all that I had done before I got saved was now none of my affair; and that if it still was an affair at all, then it was all Someone else’s affair! It was as the Good Samaritan who told the innkeeper concerning the man he had rescued on the road to Jericho: “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee” (Luke 10:35). In other words, ‘Don’t let him pay a cent!’ Wow! How so liberating!
When you look at your redemption in such terms it might seem unfair: how about the people you hurt, how about the money you stole, how about this and that? And the sins that you can really point to one by one are the really big sins. The small ones run into the millions and are simply uncountable, although the Bible makes it thoroughly clear that with God there is no difference between a big and a small sin.
The fact I am pushing at here, however, is that I never did hear God question me concerning any of those things. If I were to describe it in the simplest terms possible, it is that I never received a reminder of them. If anyone ever asked me about them I was free to say, in all honesty, “I never did that!” Probably the other Mwita did them, but not me. That is how powerful the redemption Jesus purchased for me on the Cross is: total freedom!
This thought came to my mind recently after I heard a preacher say on a Christian radio station that even after you have been become a born-again believer, there are some sins which you cannot be forgiven until you confess them specifically to your pastor. He talked about sins like murder, adultery, etc. He said that if you did these sins before you got saved, you need to go to your pastor and “talk these things over”, after which the pastor should do “deliverance” over you. (For those of you still in the dark, ‘deliverance’ is amongst the new doctrines that have emerged within the Church in recent times).
I was reminded of a church which I attended many years ago where we were taught that in order for God to forgive you your sins you had to mention them one by one, aloud – and preferably with someone listening in, just to make it all the more painful for you. I admit I was too cowardly for that kind of exposure!
There are so many such ‘extra-judicial’ teachings in the Church today. It is obvious that with many preachers today, the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was not enough and before a sinner gets completely saved they need to undergo some extra forms of penance. People are held in shackles, in irons – and anything else that can be used to hold them down – until they pay to the full according to the pastor’s particular doctrine. It is incredulous – and a pity – that Christianity can be so suffocating!
If in Jesus’ time He could see the people uncared for as sheep without a shepherd, how can that not be possible in our day? Today, this state of affairs is an undeniable fact regarding the Church. At that time there were Pharisees, scribes and teachers of the Law. Today, we have pastors and other modern church leaders.
There is no doubt in my mind at all that all this confusion within the Church of Christ is a result of a lack of a revelation of the true gospel, which is Christ, and Him crucified. This revelation was what the Early Church was built on, and you can read throughout the Book of Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic Epistles and you will not find a whiff of the kind of gospels that you find making the rounds today. That Church was powerful, solid and united. They rested on the true grace that Jesus had come to reveal by His life and death on the Cross.
May the Lord help the Church today to realize that the Lord Jesus has fully bought eternal redemption for His people, and that we are called to walk in the fullness of that freedom!