Once and for all?
Confession to trusted friends and to God is healthy. It’s normal and natural to talk about your struggles with people who care about you. The indispensable truth to grasp, however, is that confession does not initiate cleansing in your life. We’ve already been cleansed “once for all” through the onetime blood sacrifice that needs no repeating.
Let’s be honest about our struggles, but let’s also be clear about what the cross accomplished.
Protestants may claim they’re more biblical than their Catholic peers since the epistles contain no grounds for confessing sins to a priest in order to be forgiven. Some Protestants may even laugh at the idea of a confession booth or the ritual of going to Mass in order to obtain forgiveness. But these same Protestants may ritualistically apply 1 John 1:9 as their spiritual bar of soap. Is one view of forgiveness really any better than the other?
The Catholic goes to a priest, and the Protestant thinks he does better by appealing directly to God. But any system that doesn’t factor in once-for-all forgiveness is intrinsically flawed.
The first page of it is actually here:
I don’t always like Andrew Farley. He does get grace and freedom — but in such a tainted Evangelical way he mostly annoys me. However, this is so well written and so clear it’s completely worth posting — at least until the fourth from last sentence where, once again, he royally blows it. (But just ignore that.)
I spent so many sessions today dealing with the same theme: The shattered hearts of people still labouring under the lie that forgiveness is partial. The idea that, though we have been forgiven in some sort of heavenly legal sense, we still require daily forgiveness in a parental sense as though we are children constantly causing offence to our Father. Thus, they remain trapped in a sin/confess cycle that leaves them constantly drowning in guilt and shame — to say nothing of fear. Then they drown their spouses and children in it too — thus raising up sin-focused families unable to hear the voice of their Father or follow It.
It’s simply got to quit. If the Gospel does not have, “Once and for all,” forgiveness to offer, then Christianity is, without a doubt, the evilest and damaging philosophy to ever be foisted upon humanity for the perfection of the God it reflects is a yoke we simply can not bear and the “Relationship,” it offers is the cruellest bait-and-switch imaginable.
The stunning reality of grace is simply this: The next time you drag your basket of law violations into the presence of God as an explanation for why you have been avoiding Him for so long, don’t be too surprised if you hear the puzzled voice of God reply, “What sins???”