And to answer “Does God see our sin?”
Yes, for the purposes of sanctification, not for the purpose of judgement.
Has God forgiven us already of our future sins? Yes, there’s a provision for them but are they forgiven now?
I have not yet come to a conclusion about this question. I tend to think He has, but the benefit, application, and present affect of that forgiveness does not come to us without repentance. I think we must distinguish between forgiveness in regard to the eternal consequences of sin vs. the present consequences of sin here and now. I am certain that we cannot receive the present benefits of His forgiveness without present repentance. The ongoing affects of sin in our lives and in this world do not evaporate just because He has forgiven them for the purposes of our eternal salvation.
Here’s my issue with this. If he had already forgiven the 7 churches in Revelation of their sin why was he pointing them out and commanding them to repent? Also to the early issue of Judgment. He did say that if they didn’t repent they’d be judged. Your thoughts on that?
First, to the issue of God judging the sins of the Revelation Churches: I do not have the passage open before me right now so I am going from memory. If I remember correctly the judgment He proposed was “removing them from their lampstand”. I interpret this to mean that He is saying that if they do not repent He will remove their prominence, influence and usefulness in His Kingdom. I also think that the expression “spew you out of my mouth” has much the same meaning. At the very least its meaning is sufficiently unclear as to suggest no using it as a proof text for eternal damnation. I doubt that in either case He was threatening a final judgment in which all of the members of that community would be sentenced to Hell. I think God judges us often, in the sense of reaching a conclusion about our failures to obey. Our failures to obey have real world and Kingdom of God consequences. Sin is destructive even if it has been forgiven in advance. It is still sin even if it has been forgiven. I think we are talking about the difference between the eternal consequence of sin and the here, now, time and space, physical world consequences of sin. It is possible for a friend to forgive you, in advance, for what he believes you will do against him [because he knows you and knows your sin and weaknesses] and then, when you sin against him, point out your failure and ask you to repent. He knows you need to repent for your own mental and emotional and spiritual health. Also, he wants you to change for the sake of the relationship. This is true within marriages. We may be the most forgiving spouse ever but for the sake of a pure, unencumbered, transparent, healthy relationship we both want to repent and ask for repentance when either of us has hurt the other and the relationship. I can forgive and still be hurt. Repentance can address not just the sin issue but the pain issue as well. Our repentance is not just to “remove sin”, it is to restore health in all its fullness; emotional, mental, relational and spiritual [even physical]. I think we focus too much on repentance to solve the legal issue of sin and not enough on the relational reasons for repentance. By saying this, I am not trying to down play the seriousness of sin – just trying to say that there is more to sin than just the legal issue of guilt. Or, maybe, I am saying there is more to the destructiveness of sin than only the breaking of God’s Law. Sin has ramifications well beyond the legal.
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