The Technique of Confessing Sins, No. 1

Techniques of the Christian Life

TL02-01

We are now studying technique number one in the techniques of the Christian life. Technique number one is the technique of the confession sins. Our God, who is perfect, has removed everything that separates imperfect man from Himself. As a result, today it is possible for God to take a sinner of whatever caliber / degree, and take him into His perfect heaven with perfect justice when he does it. Satan attacks what God is, but through man, God shows how true he is to his essence because He takes a sinner, who deserves nothing but hell, and He makes it possible for this person to be treated fairly. He gives this person a chance to choose to go to heaven or to go to hell, and He does it in such a way that He in no way violates any of the elements of His justice. God is perfect. He has a perfect plan. He takes imperfect men and makes them fit to live a perfect life in heaven. Now that's the hardest thing that God had to do. Everything else beyond that is considerably easier. He has done that.

Man on earth today can function in joy and in peace and with stability in a world that's disoriented. The key to all this is the techniques of the Christian life. If anything is going to be changed, it's going to be changed by people who understand what God is doing, and who can instill some sanity into the trends of our day. The first technique we're going to study is this technique of the confession of sins. We now understand our doctrine of positional truth. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we have the summary statement: "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new." We have an outer circle and an inner circle; eternal fellowship / temporal fellowship.

At the point of salvation, over thirty specific things happened to you as a believer. One of them was the baptism of the Holy Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12:13. By this act of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, you who believed in Christ the Savior were thrust into a position of eternal fellowship with him, and also, at that moment, into this position of temporal fellowship. That is, you were perfectly coordinated in all the facets of your soul with everything that God thought, everything that God felt, and everything that God would choose. At that point in salvation, you were absolutely perfect in your walk and in your position. Now by this act of placing us in union with Christ, we have been put into a position that Romans 8:1 and Romans 8:35 describe as no condemnation and no separation. That's talking about being in this outer circle. Absolutely nothing can sever you from union with Christ.

Suppose you find a person who says, "Yes, I trusted in Christ. I don't believe that anymore." I once had a man here who was a very devoted Christian. His brother and father were very liberal, and the time came when he came to this church. His wife was interested in the things of the Lord, but he was not interested in the things of the Lord. He was completely out of it. I asked him, "How did that happen?" He said, "Well, in discussing these matters with my brother and my father, with their liberal points of view, their arguments were better than mine. I concluded that they were right, and I gave up all this stuff I used to believe in concerning Christ."

Now what was he telling me was his problem? Perhaps he was not a true believer. But, if he was a believer, then what? What was he telling me then? He was telling me that he had not grown because somebody had not taught him. That's why he could hear arguments that were better than what the Word had. He was not informed on the Word of God. Therefore, he was a sitting patsy for somebody that was a smooth talker. Well, the result was, as it proved, he was a believer. Well, he moved off to Colorado, and years went by. Then, one day, I got a Christmas letter, and in this letter, he said, in effect, "For many years I had been convinced that my faith in Christ, in the authority of the Bible, and in the promises of the Word were all fantasies, on the basis of arguments brought to me by others. I have gone through some experiences recently and I have returned to the study of the word. I have come to realize that my original position was indeed the truth and all of these things I once held to were indeed the truth. I'm happy, at this Christmas time, to share with you who are my friends and who knew of my departure from the faith, that I have returned."

Now this was a very expensive thing to him. It was very costly. For eternity, it was costly for him because everything stops there relative to your future reward. That is why you must understand, and why we're studying these techniques: that you as a believer can come right in here and be at the center of the Lord's will, and a significant contributor to the spiritual life of this ministry and its service, and the time can come when you can slip out of it and move off, and start knocking around here, and you will be so disoriented and so confused you'll talk just exactly the way our national leaders are talking relative to our mortal enemy. You may know that our congressmen and our President are not determined to have your brains blown out. They're obviously not determined to see your children slaughtered. They're the most sincere dedicated men you'll find on the face of the earth. They just have trouble up here in the head when it comes to thinking the way God thinks. Therefore, they're going off on a tangent. That's what happens to you as a believer, and you better believe it: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall."

Do not be tempted to say, "I have become a new creature, and I'm no longer as offensive as I once was." You have become a new creature, dear friend, because God has put you into a no-condemnation and a no-separation position by baptizing you at the point of salvation into the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's represented by that outer circle. Now your daily practices will improve. We are all for that. As you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord, your conduct and your habits are going to improve. They will become more compatible with that which is reflective of the Christian life, and that which is in keeping with the specific laws that deal with our concern for ourselves, for others, for the Lord's testimony, and so on, that guide us in the things we will do and that we won't do.

A Christian is a new creature because of what Christ did for him, not because of what you did for him or what you did for yourself. You cannot bring about this change in position by doing anything to get saved. You cannot do it by giving money. You cannot do it by joining a church. You cannot do it by water baptism. You cannot do it by behaving yourself in some way that you have not been behaving yourself in the past. You can't do it by cutting your hair or anything else that you think would be an advance or an improvement to get you in that position. It is not what you have done. It is absolutely by grace, accepting what the Lord has done.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we have all of this position truth summarized when we read, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new." "In Christ" is this position of union in the two-circle diagram. We enter that union with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "A new creation" means to be born again spiritually; that is, you receive the gift of a living human spirit with which you are enabled to have fellowship with God. "Old things are passed away" has to do with spiritual death, the removal of the wall between God and man. "All things are become new" refers to the fact that you now have spiritual life. You have a living human spirit.

Positional Truth

There are several features that are included in being in Christ. It's part of the package deal, and we call this positional truth. When we talk about our position here in Christ, we are referring to positional truth. You can be a good Christian, or you can be a very bad Christian in this position, but this is how God looks at you as being in His Son. So, no matter how bad you are as a Christian, you are good in God's sight--just as good as His Son. Among the things that are included in this position package is regeneration which means the new birth of a living human spirit. We read about this in Titus 3:5 and Ephesians 2:1, 5. It means the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is the basis for our spirituality (1 Corinthians 6:19). It includes the sealing of the Holy Spirit, which means eternal security (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30). Positional truth includes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). And, it includes the spiritual gifts which determine our position of service in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:11).

So, positional truth, with all of these things, happens to everybody at the point of salvation. Everybody is regenerated. Everybody is indwelt. Everybody is sealed. Everybody is given spiritual gifts. Everybody is baptized into Christ. What we call this is positional sanctification, being set aside in Christ. It applies to every Christian, whether you are an obedient Christian or a sinning Christian (1 Corinthians 1:2, 30). Now, the way enter this position, of course, is through faith in Christ (Acts 16:31): "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" That is salvation. The fact of positional truth is what guarantees our salvation. You are not going to go to heaven because you continue to behave yourself. You're not going to go to heaven for anything you do. You didn't start that way in the first place, because of something you did. It is because of what Christ did for you, and that was He gave you eternal life, and He gave you his righteousness. Because of that, you have eternal security. This is taught in Romans 8:38-39.

This positional truth moves in three directions. We may call it retroactive positional truth and that goes back to the cross. I have a relationship to the death of Christ. It is current positional truth, which we may call this outer circle. Current positional truth is my position in Christ now. Then we have experiential positional truth, which is this inner circle which depends on my walk with the Lord. That's my experience, my handling of personal sin. There is something, however, that we all have to understand: When we come into this position, and here you are at the center of the will of God, there is something within you that comes right in to that life. What is it? The old sin nature.

It looks something like this: You as an unbeliever have certain things. You have, of course, a body. You also have a soul. As far as your human spirit is concerned you have a dead spirit. You are spiritually dead. Within that being is an old sin nature. All of this is structured upon a position which the Bible calls "in Adam." So, there you are as an unbeliever. You have an old sin nature that's dominating your life. Out of this old sin nature come sins on the one hand; and, on the other hand, come your human good production. All of that is rejected by God. Now along comes faith, from the unbeliever, faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and His death upon the cross, and a transformation takes place.

You become a different kind of structure. Let's build a triangle here. Here you are as a believer. As a believer you are based now in Christ. You have a whole new position. You still have a soul and a body, of course, but now you have a living human spirit. You have come alive spiritually at the point of faith in Christ. But, what do you also transfer over to the believer status? The old sin nature. It comes right along with you.

If you ever lead someone to the Lord, after you have explained to them by teaching evangelism what God is like in his essence; what man is like in his essence; and that man can be immoral, he can be self-righteous, a nice man of the community, or he could be the religious man--whatever type--he is still an unbeliever; that God has removed the wall between them, and how he did that; and, that now you have to do is step across the line and receive what Christ has provided, and they believe it, be sure that the next thing you tell him is, "Now, I want to prepare you for something that you're going to discover, maybe tomorrow morning or maybe before you get home tonight. Though you have changed your position from "in Adam" to what the Bible calls "in Christ," you took something that's attached to your being with you into your new life, and that something is the old sin nature. It is your inclination, your propensity, to evil. And I want you to be prepared, you should tell your convert, to discover that you can do all the rotten things tomorrow as a believer that you could do this afternoon when you were an unbeliever. Now this will shock you when you discover this, and it will shock you even more, perhaps, when you discover it in people that you know of as Christians.

You're a believer, you come to a church, and the first time you walk into a church, it's the millennium. I don't care what church it is, the first time you walk in, it's the millennium. Everybody is smiling. Everybody is nice. Everybody is cordial. The language is clean. People are dressed nice, and everybody loves you and it's just wonderful. And after a while, when you're there long enough, you begin to discover that Christians are capable of all the nasty things you once did. That is a very great shock. Prepare a person for that. This is a basic fact of life. A believer in Christ transfers the old sin nature with him. And, the reason I tell you to tell them is to be prepared for the fact that it's there, and then to tell them how to handle it, which is, of course, where we're headed in this study. This change is made by God, not by anything you do, but we take it in intact. Roman 6 will tell you about that.

Let's look at 1 John 1:8, for example. That tells us about that coming in there too: "If we say that we have no sin," and notice it's singular. When we have the word "sin" in the Bible in the singular, generally what does it refer to? The old sin nature, because we do have an old sin nature.

The Old Sin Nature

What is the old sin nature? Let's take a look at that factor. Coming back to the diagram of the diamond: There is first an area of strength in our old sin nature. The reason we say that is because people do good things. We know that they do good things because verses like Titus 3:5 talk about our roots of righteousness which we have done, which is not the basis upon which we are saved: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done..." Who has done? Which we unbelievers have done. It is possible for us to do right good things, "but according to His mercy He saved us," and so on. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that also, that God takes our righteousness (plural), and he says, "They're dirty filthy rags in my sight." They are not acceptable. What did God do with the unbelievers' human good? He rejected it at the cross. What is he going to do with your human good as a believer? He's going to burn it up at the Judgment Seat of Chris. So, human God has been dealt with in either a case.

On the other side, we have an area of weakness here in the old sin nature, and this is where all of our sins, our individual acts of evil, come from. We have these sins spoken of in Romans 3:23: "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We have a list of sins in Mark 7:21-23. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us again what God has done with our sins. It says, "Who his own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree. In other words, all sin was born on the cross. Now, whose sin was born on the cross? Was it the sin of unbelievers, believers, or just certain people? It was a sin of everybody. It is very important that you understand that Christ died for everyone sins. That's why even told that some people reject the very Savior who died for them. Our sins have been completely taken care of. They come from the weak side of our old sin nature. So, this is what we are. I have good things in me and I do good things. I have an evil quality in me and I do evil things.

Now, there are certain trends. One side is toward asceticism, and that's a religious trend. We may read about this in Romans 2. This is the self-denier. He's the clean-cut type. He projects a good image. This person majors in religion and asceticism; he denies himself; and, he pleases God by his good works. His strength, his trend, is from the strong side of his old sin nature. It expresses itself in this good image. On the other hand there's also lasciviousness, which means a sensual indulgence quality. This is a guy that you read about in Romans 1, and who is openly and flagrantly a sinner, and he's the bad image type. This man is irreligious, and the reason he is because the weak side of his old sin nature is dominant.

For example, all of us are left- and right-handed. If you're right handed that means that the left side of your brain is dominant. It rules the brain structure. Therefore, you're right-hand. If you're left-handed, which most people are not, it means that the right side of your brain is dominant in your brain structure, so you're left-handed. Everybody has a dominant side. Some of us are dominant in the areas of strength in the old sin nature, and you look very religious and very ascetic. Some of us are dominant in the weak side, and it's projected as a bad image and you are the sensual lascivious type.

The Bible also tells us that there is a pattern of lusts in the old sin nature. Romans 13:14 speaks of the same thing: "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh (another word for the old sin nature) to fulfill its lusts. If this old sin nature has a pattern of lusts within it, as a motivating factor, you see why we function from the old sin nature. For example, what are some of the lusts that you would have here? Well, we would have the lust for praise. Some people are driven by desire to be praised. There are some people who would be very good church workers providing that someone around here is patting them on the back and praising them for what they've done--getting up and commending them before the congregation. There are people who love to have power. Therefore, they themselves, want to be viewed as authorities to contend with because they are in the power structure. This is exercised in various ways. Of course, there's nobody who's the brunt of the power aspirations of a church member than the pastor himself. If there is anything that would be a satisfaction, that is apparently it. There is the lust for the sensual, for illicit sex--that motivates. There is a materialism lust. That drives many believers.

There is the status lust--keeping up with the Joneses--and many people impose this upon the church. For example, they want their church properties to carry a certain status so that they can be looking like the liberals. Here's a little church down the street that meets once a week on Sundays. It doesn't do anything; has no ministries; and, has no outreach. The folks gather together; they sing a little; they share a little bit; they listen to the Bible a little bit; and, then they get out and cut the lawns and run the edgers and paint the buildings and it looks really nice and trim. Then, next week they all come together; they sit and share their emptiness with one another; and, then they come and cut the lawn again. It's a status, outwardly. And, somebody comes along and says, "Oh, I wish we could look like that," which is not to say that we don't want to look nice or we don't want to do these things that certainly reflect a good image of the Lord. But it is secondary to the ministry. Status often drives believers to make a very wrong move relative to the will of God

Then, there are certain things that you like. You like to play golf. You like to ride horses. You like to go to the lake. You used to get out there on Saturday afternoons and you went out to the lake. It's wonderful to go to the lake, and so we go out there, we come back early, and are back here for Sunday school. And, then it does seem a little strange to be exhausting ourselves, so we say, "Well, let's stay over once in a while." And, pretty soon we're staying over Sunday. Then, pretty soon, the old sin nature with its lust for materialism and its likes to do certain things, which in themselves are legitimate, distorts and twists us and drives us away from the Lord. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, who are going to be pleased to see how fruitful their ministry has been. Then they're going to get the shock, and they're going to see a certain point come in the Lord's outlay of their rewards, and they're going to say, "My God, what happened to me?" There came a point where all of a sudden the door slammed down, and I was no more a profitable significant Christian. They were remember it as the day when their likes were justified by their old sin nature because they got disoriented in their thinking, and they pursued contribution to false causes. Remember what we learned about apostasy. An apostate is characterized by hating and disliking true objects of divine affection. The things that God rejects, he's attached to. The things that God condemns, he's attached to. The things that God is for, he is against. An apostate doesn't realize that he's had a whole reversion.

Here's a guy who is all for Christian education. He knows, as well as anybody knows, what happens to a child's mind, what happens to our kids in the public school system. He is a great promoter. Then something happens in his life, and he gets a distorted twist, and his kids are out there in a public school. He says, "It's OK's. It's not so bad." Don't you realize that every breath you take has brought you one step closer to the last one you're going to take? Are you going to squander the precious few days that you have left in investing yourself in that which is a false object of attachment? Now, that's what this vicious thing--the old sin nature--does. That's the vicious thing it does. When you and I understand it, we're able to live with it, because God has given us techniques for handling it. God declares that everything that comes from the old sin nature is no good by his standards (Romans 7:18). None of it pleases Him (Romans 8:7-8). A Christian is positionally perfect. He's positionally perfect, and yet at the same time, he can be functioning on this all sin nature, because he took it with him into the Christian life. So, while being perfect, he can be sinning through the old sin nature itself.

What is the old sin nature then? It is the tendency to sin which is present in the soul of everyone. Psalm 51:5 speaks about our being conceived in sin; that is, made with a sin nature. In an unbeliever the old sin nature completely controls him. Everything he does is under the power of Satan, and, therefore, is condemned by God. All of his personal sins and all of his personal good works are under the condemnation of God and are rejected. In either case, whether it's your good or your bad, God declares that the sin nature is monumentally wicked. Jeremiah17:9 says that there is no good thing in it. God condemns everything that comes as a production from the old sin nature.

Losing the Old Sin Nature

That's step number one. Do you ever lose your sin nature? I'm happy to tell you that that is true. You do lose your old sin nature. It happens at the point that the Bible promises us that we will have a body which is just like unto Christ. This means that we will have a soul like Christ has, and his soul is free of an old sin nature, and ours will be then too. It will happen at two points: It happens, first of all, at the point of your death. You enter heaven clean. Or, it will happen, if you do not die, and are alive at the Rapture, it will happen in that moment, in a twinkling of an eye when you're caught up to meet the Lord in the air. You'll be clean then. It will happen at one of those two places, but it will happen. There is no sin nature in the resurrection body.

Today, we have to learn how to live with this old sin nature thing. We have to learn how to live with it because of what we see it is. The thing we have to learn how to control most of all are these lusts. What's another word for "lust?" "Desires." That's what the Greek word means. These are desires. There are desires that are good and desires that are bad. That's why it is perfectly right for us to call our likes "lusts," because they are just desires and they can be desired for legitimate things that are used in an illegitimate way. There is no way this man in his soul under this condition can think in any way except Satan's viewpoint. He cannot distinguish long-range wisdom from long-range madness, but the Christian can. The Christian has the capacity to control this thing; to put the screws on it; and, to hold it down. By using the techniques of the Christian life, it is possible for you to come to the point where you increasingly walk a life that is free of sin overtly, mentally, and in words.

Losing Temporal Fellowship

Part of the reason is because you become so sensitive to when you have sin, that you're able to snap with it immediately. Your falling out of fellowship is really not just because you have sinned. After you have sinned God stands and He the looks. And, when you walk off from it and shrug your shoulders, that's when fellowship snaps. You're still at the point of fellowship while you have sinned, and the father is waiting to hear you say, "I'm sorry that was wrong. That was a sin." In that moment, all the controls stay in. But, you jerk all the wires out of the panel when you walk off from the sin and leave it. So, the next time you blow your stack; the next time you sound off; or the next time you become a wailing banshee, do something about it then. But that's the time you are least inclined to do something about it. The old sin nature is insulting. Every one of you have been insulted in this study. And you could storm away, if you had a high estimate of yourself as a cultured refined educated person, you could storm away and say, "That's the last time I'm studying that," because you have been insulted by being described in this way. You can look at someone else and say, "Well, sure that's true of him, but not me." Consequently, it's difficult for preachers to get up and say, "I want you sinners to start admitting to God what you are." That's why I told you to learn to say, "That's me." "That's me." "That's me." When you can say that, you're on the right track. You're on your way.

It is sad. Just think of all these floods of people who don't know this, and who are Sunday school teachers. I want you to know that you with your own sin nature, you can be a great servant of the Lord. You could be a great wonderful Sunday school teacher, cranking out human good nothing. You can be a great church administrator, cranking out human good nothing. You can be a great pastor-teacher, cranking out human good nothing. This happens if the old sin nature dominates in the soul. Just think of all the people who are going to get up in the Heavens say, "Father I didn't even know about this. Nobody even told me about this. I spent my life in what I thought was the Lord's work. And what do I have here? A little shovel full of reward." That is frightening and it's sad. We have people who will undermine that kind of teaching ministry to answer that question, "Why haven't I heard this?" It would be so shocking because right away a person says, "That's too good to believe, and they're suspicious that something must be wrong. What Satan does is he gets people to undermine the instructor, the place, or the material, so that the person says, "Oh I see it's just some kook outfit. It's just some false promises. "It's just some pie in the sky." Then they settle back to their own misery. This is a fantastic thing. I see this so regularly. People ask that revelatory question, "Why haven't I heard this before?" Then the first thing Satan does is come along and try to cancel out the concept, "I have come into a revelation." It isn't that the information hasn't been given, but it's the terminology maybe or the way it has been couched to present it.

I could say to you, "Brethren, please grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus." All of you will say, "Yes, I'm going to sit right here and grow right now. I'll grow as hard as I can in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus." The next thing you'll do is go out and give yourself some little legalisms and taboos as to how you will do that. But, when we say that spiritual maturity is shutting your big fat mouth about things you don't like about other Christians, "Hmmm, that's something else Then it gets even worse when we say that it means snapping shut your mental sins. And, by the way, God lists seven sins he hates with a vengeance in the Old Testament (and we'll go over them), and most of them are up here in your mind, not out here overtly where everyone can see. And, one of them is this--what you think, and you tell a person, "That cuts you off. You go bad mouthing spiritual leadership in your local assembly and you're out with God."

That's spiritual maturity. Now that got home. The reason they hate the term is because they and everybody else understands what it is to have a relaxed mental attitude. You have some guy who is a hustling character who is putting screws down over finances and not waiting upon the Lord. in the way the Lord provides, and you go making talks about having an emotional attachment to money that will pierce you through with sorrows; that will destroy your children; and, that will lead you away from productivity and the things of the Lord, either he has to get away from his emotional attachment to money or he has to start hating having a mastery of the details of life. He doesn't like the expression. He doesn't like what it implies in spiritual maturity.

The Wall of Separation Between God and Man

Remember that this is background for why we need to function on a techniques. The problem that exists for man by nature is that there's a wall between God and ourselves. This wall may be represented by certain basic stones--five stones probably covers it pretty well. On one side of this wall is God, who is light (1 John 1:5). The divine essence, that we were drawn up, constitutes what God is and, consequently, why He is light. On the other hand, we have the essence of man. Man is sinful (Galatians 3:22). Each man (and woman) has sinned--they're all of various types, but they're all equally guilty. The reason that man, in his natural essences is, separated from God and His natural essence is because of a certain wall that exists between them. God who is light is separated from man who is in darkness (John 8:12, 12:26, Isaiah 59:2).

Sin

Here is a brief review of the stones in the wall of separation: First of all: sin. The reason we are separated from God is because we are born into a slave market of sin. We do not belong to God--we belong to Satan. We are under Satan's control. We are indentured to him.

The Penalty for Sin

There is also another block, and that is the penalty which is required for our sins. What does God intend to make you pay for your sins? A sinner has to pay spiritual death. If you want to come into good standing with God, you have to remove this block of the penalty for sin. The penalty is spiritual death. So, what are you going to do? You say, "Well, I'll die spiritually." Now you won't. You're already dead spiritually. This is what you have to explain to people. This is how you teach them facts of evangelism. They have to understand that they are already spiritually dead. All that God wants from them in payment for their sins (and they can understand that part) is spiritual death. But you don't have that. You're born spiritually dead.

Our Contact with God

Another problem of our contact with God is that since we are spiritually dead, there is no way for us to have any touch with God--no communication. So, what is required is the act of regeneration, and that removes spiritual death. God gives us a living human spirit, and that one is taken out.

The Holiness of God

Then we have a fact of the holiness of God. The holiness of God has two factors to it. One is the fact that God is absolutely righteous. Therefore, he requires that people be just as good as He is to enter His heaven. But his justice, which is part of His Holiness demands payment for sins. How are you going to pay for sins? You have no way of paying for those sins. You're already spiritually dead.

Our Position in Adam

Finally, there was a position that you had. You were in Adam, which in the sight of God is the old position of death in the old creation. While you are in that position, there is no way that you can have fellowship with God. Now, the wall, which in no way would allow for man to come from one side to the other, has been removed. It's a thing of the past. It's finished and it's done with. Now, the only question is what we will do about it. Sin has been removed. I'm telling you that God has taken you out of the slave market of sin. In Colossians 1:14, we read, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." He has redeemed us, and consequently we are forgiven. This covers everybody. We call that "unlimited atonement" (2 Peter 2:1). Everyone is covered. Then the penalty is covered. The penalty is spiritual death. That's Roman 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death (spiritual death)." Now, how are we going to solve that? Well, Colossians 2:14 tells us the answer: "Blotting out of hand-writing of ordinances, that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross." The penalty of sin was removed by expiation; that is, our bill of guilt and of sins was wiped out by God. That's called expiation. That's how the penalty was paid--the spirit death of Christ.

Spiritual Death

We also have the problem that we're spiritually dead. This is removed by regeneration. Ephesians 2:1 says, "And you, who were made alive (not physically, but spiritually) who were dead in trespasses and sins. God gives us a living human spirit to replace what happened to us when we are born with an old sin nature, and we died spiritually.

The Righteousness of God

The holiness of God has faced the problem of God's righteousness. He has removed this problem by imputing the righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he has made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Gospel Tracts

By the way, you should read gospel tracts before you hand them out. Sometimes organizations that are very prominent in evangelism have a fantastic way of missing this particular part of the holiness of God. You will often read in writings of such organizations and in many tracks that one of the things that God does for you is forgive you your sins. That is the negative factor of what God does for a sinner. Yes, you should tell people that God is going to forgive you your sins. There won't be any guilt held against you. But, it is equally important that you explain to the person that while He forgives you your sin, He is also going to give you His own righteousness. That's what justification is. Justification means that we have the righteousness of God. I'm amazed how often in gospel tracts this point will be skipped. Forgiveness will be there, but no clear-cut emphasis upon the fact that it is not just a negative thing, but that it is something positive: I am good enough to go to heaven because I am just as good in the sight of God as His Son Jesus Christ. This is because I have Christ's righteousness. Now, that makes sense to the unbeliever, and that gives him a great sense of security. The sinner is declared justified. There's no record of sin against Him (Romans 3:24).

Propitiation

Now, the problem of justice has also been resolved, and that has been removed by what is summed up in the word propitiation, or the satisfaction of God against the sinner. 1 John 2:2 says, "And He (Christ) is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, for also for the sins of the whole world."

Position in Christ

Finally, regarding our position in Adam, you can point out to the person from the Word of God that his position in death has been changed by the act of God. In 1 Corinthians 15:22, says "For as in Adam all died (a position of death), so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I stress positional truth because it is a very important factor. It is the factor which we have been representing by the two-circle diagram which seems to be kind of an effective way of helping people to see what is at issue here. The issue now is no longer sins. We make simply take this wall and put through it the cross of Jesus Christ. That finished it off. This is no issue for anybody--even the people who are in Hades right now, awaiting transfer to the lake of fire--the unbelievers who have gone out of this life. This is no issue between them and God. This covered everybody. The issue is one thing, and that is the Person of Christ. It is what you have done with the one who has died on the cross.

So this wall can be removed in our personal experience when we are receive Christ as Savior. God deals with the sinner, in grace, and He asks you only to believe this that He has performed. He wants you to believe what He has done in removing this wall. So, becoming a Christian is a matter of believing the Gospel. It is a matter of changing your mind toward God. That's what repentance is: changing your mind from a position of loyalty to Satan to a position of acceptance of what Christ has done and of loyalty to God.

Dr. John E. Danish, 1973

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