Are Our Future Sins Forgiven? What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? (John 19:30).
In John 19:29-30, after He had a drink of sour wine, Jesus said, “It is finished,” and this is thought by many to mean that a Christian's past, present and future sins are all finished with, all forgiven.
But what was Jesus referring to when He said, “It is finished”?
When Jesus drank the sour wine, He was fulfilling the prophecy about Himself in Psa. 69:21. It was immediately after fulfilling this prophecy that He said, “It is finished,” and He said this because His earthly sufferings and agonies were over at last; while on the earth, He had fulfilled all that was written about Himself in the Law and the Prophets. To finalise His work of redemption, all that was left for Him to do was to give up His Spirit and die, which He did immediately, and then later present His blood in the heavenly Holy Place (Heb. 9:11-12). After this, having died for the sins of the world, forgiveness of sins was available to all mankind through repenting and believing in Him.
So, when Jesus said, “It is finished,”
He was not saying that our past, present and future sins were forgiven.
He was not saying that our future sins were not relevant to our salvation.
He was not saying that sin was no longer an issue in a Christian's life.
In fact, He was not saying anything about the forgiveness of any individual's sins.
What He was saying was that His personal, earthly work was finished. Then, after dying and presenting His blood in heaven, His full work of redemption was completed. This work of redemption, by itself, does not bring forgiveness of anyone's sins but makes provision for forgiveness through repentance.
Jesus' death on the cross is a past, finished act while our salvation is a present, ongoing act. 2 Pet. 1:9 and Rom. 3:25 say that our past sins are forgiven but no verse says that our present or future sins are forgiven. Rather, 1 John 1:9 tells us that only if we confess our sins will we be forgiven … note the word “if”. If we confess our sins, we receive forgiveness because Jesus acts as our Advocate and pleads our case (1 John 2:1). However, if we rebelliously refuse to repent then we will not have an Advocate in Jesus and will not be forgiven but will face condemnation.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone [which includes you and I] who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:34-36). Jesus assures us that we can be set free from sin and no longer be like a slave who has no permanent place in the family; we can be sons who belong to it forever. 2 Pet. 1:3-4 tell us that we have no excuse for continuing in sin but can be set free because we have Divine Power, through the Holy Spirit, to live a godly life and escape the corruption of the world.
This does not mean that we will be sinlessly perfect; we may sin from time to time but we will not be in slavery to an ongoing, sinful lifestyle. Put another way, weakness or circumstances may cause us to sin occasionally but we will not set out with sin in mind, nor jump into sin feet first.
So, when Jesus said “It is finished,” He was not saying that a Christian's present or future sins were automatically forgiven. To receive forgiveness, we need to confess and repent whenever the Holy Spirit convicts us (John 16:8). When we are led by the Spirit, we will have God's peace as Rom. 8:6 tells us: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Where there is sin there is no peace so, if you lack God's peace, I encourage you to seek it by following the Spirit's leading and confess as necessary. Amen.
Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (Matt. 24:4)
Many Christians believe that Jesus is going to return twice. They say that the first time is in 1 Thess. 4-5 when He comes secretly to take all Christians to heaven before the Great Tribulation and the second time is in Matt. 24:30, after the Tribulation. Because they believe that they won't be on the earth during the Tribulation period which is spoken about in Matt. 24, they say that Matt. 24 is not relevant to Christians but only relevant to Jews. However, when we examine 1 Thess. 4-5 and Matt. 24 we find that they are parallel passages, that is, they are both talking about the same thing - the one and only return of Jesus.
The following list shows ten similarities between the two passages:
1) Both passages speak about Jesus coming from heaven - 1 Thess. 4:16 & Matt. 24:30. 2) Both say that there are angels present - 1 Th. 4:16, 3:13 & Matt. 24:31. 3) Both speak about a trumpet call - 1 Thess. 4:16 & Matt. 24:31. 4) Both say believers will be gathered to Jesus - 1 Thess. 4:17 & Matt. 24:31, 40-41. 5) Both mention clouds - 1 Thess. 4:17 & Matt. 24:30. 6) Both say that the time is unknown - 1 Thess. 5:1-2 & Matt. 24:36. 7) Both say that Jesus will come like a thief - 1 Thess. 5:2, 4 & Matt. 24:43. 8) Both say unbelievers will be caught unaware - 1 Thess. 5:3 & Matt. 24:37-39. 9) Both say that believers are to watch - 1 Thess. 5:6 & Matt. 24:42, 25. 10) Both warn against drunkenness - 1 Thess. 5:7 & Matt. 24:49.
These ten similarities are more than enough to show that Matt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4-5 are parallel passages. In 1 Thess. 4-5, Paul described, in his own words, the same events that Jesus spoke about in Matt. 24. There are not two returns of Jesus; there is no secret rapture; just one glorious, earth-shaking return when He gathers (raptures) all Christians to safety before God's wrath is poured out on sinners (Matt. 24:27-31).
There is also a clear, sequential parallel between Matt. 24 and Rev. 6-8 as the following shows:
1) First, both passages talk about wars and famines - Matt. 24:6-7 & Rev. 6:3-6. 2) Next, they mention the Great Tribulation - Matt. 24:9, 21-22 & Rev. 6:7-11. 3) Next, they talk about a cosmic sign in the heavens - Matt. 24:29 & Rev. 6:12-17. 4) Next, Christians are being saved out of the Tribulation - Matt. 24:22, 31 & Rev. 7:9-14. 5) Next, the wrath of God comes - Matt. 24:30, 37-39 & Rev. 8:1-7.
This sequence of similarities shows that Matt. 24 and Rev. 6-8 are also parallel passages. This of course means that all three passages, Matt. 24, Rev. 6-8 and 1 Thess. 4-5, are describing the same events which include the one and only return of Jesus. His return will not be a secret event by any means, but quite the opposite and relevant to both Jews and Christians.
When Jesus returns, and sends His angels to gather Christians out of the Tribulation, it will be announced with a trumpet call, a shout, and with the voice of the archangel and He will appear in the sky like lightning, with power and great glory. All the world will know about it. Rev 1:7 says, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.” The nations will mourn and wail because they know that the Day Of The Lord has arrived and that God's wrath is about to come down on them.
So, “Watch out that no one deceives you” (Matt. 24:4). The church is not “gunna be outta here” but is going to suffer terrible persecution by the satanically empowered Antichrist until Jesus returns to gather His people. In Matt. 24:10-13, Jesus warns us that many Christians will fall away and be lost during that time and only those who overcome to the end will be saved. So, if the Great Tribulation occurs during our time then, more than ever, we must make sure that Jesus is our Lord to strengthen us so that we don't fall away and be left behind to face God's wrath. Amen.