Forgiven All Trespasses
Forgiven All Trespasses; This takes place instantly and spontaniously at Salvation.
1. In the sense that there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, believers are forgiven all trespasses. The declaration of Colossians 2:13—“having forgiven you all trespasses”—covers all trespasses, past, present, and future (cf. Eph. 1:7; 4:32; Col. 1:14; 3:13).
2. In no other way than to be wholly absolved before God, could a Christian be on an abiding peace footing with God or could he be, as he is, justified forever. (Rom. 5:1)
3. The divine dealing with sin is doubtless difficult for the human mind to grasp, especially such sins as have not yet been committed. However, it will be remembered that all sin of this age was yet future when Christ died. Its power to condemn is disannulled forever. In this connection the Holy Spirit inquires, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” and, “Who is he that condemneth?” The inspired answers are conclusive: God justifies rather than charges with sin; and condemnation has been laid upon Another, who died, who is risen, who is at the right hand of God for us, and who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:33–34).
4. Romans which begins with “no condemnation” ends with “no separation”; but such complete forgiveness is possible only on the ground of Christ’s work in bearing sin and in releasing His merit to those who are saved through His mediation and are in Him.
5. Men either stand in their own merit or in the merit of Christ. If they stand in their own merit—the only conception that is within the range of reason and that which is advocated by the Arminian (works) system —there is only condemnation for each individual before God; but if they stand in the merit of Christ, being in Him—whether all its righteous ground is comprehended or not—there remains naught but continued union with God and therefore no condemnation and no separation.
6. At this point a distinction is called for between this abiding judicial forgiveness and the oft-repeated forgiveness within the family of God. The seeming paradox that one is forgiven and yet must be forgiven, is explained on the ground of the truth that there are two wholly and unrelated spheres of relationship between the believer and God.
a. Regarding his standing, which like his Sonship is immutable since it is secured by his place in Christ, he is not subject to condemnation and will never be unjustified or separated from God.
b. Regarding his state, which like the daily conduct of a son is mutable and is wholly within the family relationship, he must be both forgiven and cleansed (1 John 1:9). The writer to the Hebrews declares that, had the old order of sacrifices been as efficacious as the sacrifice of Christ, those presenting an animal sacrifice for their sin would “have had no more conscience of sins” (10:2). On the other hand, it is the believer’s portion to be free from the sense of the condemnation of sin—he never thinks of himself as a lost soul,
7. The believer instructed in God’s Word; however, this is not to say that the Christian will not be conscious of the sins he commits. Sin, to the believer, is more abhorrent than ever it could have been before he was saved; but, when sinning, he will not have broken the abiding fact of his union with God though he has injured his communion with Him. Within the family relation—which relation cannot be broken—he may sin as a child (without ceasing to be a child) and be forgiven, and restored back into the Father’s fellowship on the basis of his own confession (1 John 1:9) of his sin and the deeper truth that Christ has borne the sin which otherwise would condemn.
8. None of the believer’s positions before God, when rightly apprehended, is more a blessing to the heart than the fact that all condemnation is removed forever, God for Christ’s sake having forgiven all trespasses. (Rom. 8:1; John 3:17-18)
Chafer, L. S. (1993). Systematic theology. Originally published: Dallas, Tex. : Dallas Seminary Press, 1947-1948. (3:238-239). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.