Assurance: past, present, future
Recently I’ve had the privilege of leading a long-standing believer in discipleship. Though a follower of Christ for many years this saint had never entered into a one-on-one accountability and mentoring relationship with another believer. What a joy for us both as we reviewed the basics together. I wish you could have seen his face as a fuller understanding of God’s forgiveness dawned in his heart!
Until now this brother had rejoiced in past sins forgiven, yet struggled at times with the ever present reality of shortcomings in his daily walk. He knew and practiced the truth that confessed sin will be cleansed as we acknowledge it to Christ – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). But until this moment the all sufficiency of Christ’s atonement – that Christ’s sacrificial death is sufficient not only for sins past and those we may commit today, but also for all that we may commit in days ahead — had eluded him.
We see Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection as historical events along a timeline. But God sees them from before even the timeline, “the first day” (Gen. 1:5), was called into existence. It’s as though God sees all of human history, past, present and future, laid out as a mural before Him. Overlaying the whole of it is Christ’s sacrifice efficacious to all who will turn from sin and receive Him as Saviour and Lord. All His wrath against all the sins of repentant hearts has been poured out upon His Son in full.
Now, this fact is no license for the believer to sin. Paul discusses this clearly in Romans 6. But It does mean the struggling believer need not fear a future failing will cast him from God’s Presence forever. The promise cited above is true:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
Believers new and old can rest in this assurance.