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Positional Forgiveness in Christ (Colossians 1:13-14)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 24 February 2013 00:00

This past Sunday we considered the positional forgiveness that is ours “in Christ.”

Question: Is there any sense in which a Christian can be said to have a perfect forgiveness – past, present and future? Is there any sense in which a Christian’s forgiveness may be described as “perfect?”
Answer: Yes, there is such a sense. Such a forgiveness is available and becomes ours at the moment in which we are baptized with the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. It is ours as a believer, as a person who now has the spiritual position of being “in Christ.”

If that is our spiritual position, if we have actually in God’s sight been buried and raised with Christ Jesus (Romans 6:5-6), if are actually seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), then there can be no possibility of a barrier between ourselves and God, because there is no possibility of a barrier between God the Father and God the Son, our Savior, “in whom” we are now placed.

Paul speaks of this in Colossians 1:13-14 ~ 13He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14in whom (and that is the key phrase, “in whom”) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
This means that as a believer we are now “in Christ.” That is our new position in God’s eyes. This means that I have been united with Him, it means I am totally identified with Him in the eyes of my heavenly Father. It means I have been joined to Him and as such, what is true of Him has become true of me ~ and therefore I am buried, arisen, ascended and seated “in Him.”

And in light of that permanent position “in Christ,” it means we have this perfect forgiveness ~ and nothing can ever mar that relationship. There can be no barrier between ourselves and God and therefore that forgiveness is perfect and eternal.
But listen! That is positional forgiveness.
What we have been talking about in Acts is experiential forgiveness.

I’ve heard an illustration that I found to be helpful in thinking about what this means to us on a practical daily basis:
Suppose I had a rich uncle who kicks the proverbial bucket and leaves behind a legacy designated for me worth $50 Million! (It’s fun to dream!)
I don’t know about your financial situation, but that would take care of all my financial needs, past, present and future!
But now, let’s suppose that my uncle believed that a man should not be entrusted with large amounts of money until he is very mature, and consequently he puts this legacy into a trust fund which I cannot touch until I am 50 years of age. (Now I used to think that 50 was a lot older than I do now!)

So I cannot touch that money until I am 50. There it is. It is mine. But I do not experience it.
What do I experience? The money I experience is the paycheck I get. BUT ~ My paycheck is more useful to me now at this moment than that huge trust fund would be because I need the money right now for daily living expenses and that paycheck is something that I can experience.
But even though I don’t experience that trust fund, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect my life! My future is indeed secure! As a matter of fact, as I neared 50 years of age, the chances are very good that I would not worry much about saving any of my paycheck for retirement!
Maybe as the year of my 50th birthday drew nearer, I would even make some big purchases, knowing that I could pay them off soon. But still, this is still just an anticipation. What I really experience right now is that regular paycheck that I get from my employer.

Let’s put it this way: The forgiveness I have “in Christ” is like a trust fund.
I realize that this is not a perfect illustration, but what I am saying is that while this trust fund is a blessed reality, it is not something that I experience yet on a day to day basis.
It is something that is absolutely true about who I am, because as a believer in Jesus Christ, I am now “in Him.”

This tremendous resource is now mine, although as yet I do not experience it in all its aspects. Yet, I am so identified with Him that what is true of Him is now indeed true about me! That is the reality of positional truth. It is something God says is true of me so I know that it is true. As the children’s song says, “The Bible tells me so!”

For example, I don’t experience being seated with Christ in the heavenly places, but I know it’s true. And similarly, I don’t experience the permanent forgiveness of sins that I have positionally, but I know it’s true, and it can profoundly affect my life and change my attitude toward God and my attitude in relationship to the things of Christ.
But what I experience on a daily basis is the forgiveness of sins that I get here and now – like cashing that regular paycheck.

The first time I ever experienced the forgiveness of sins is when I first became a believer, and at that point, God gave me the forgiveness of all the sins of my past life – right away at that very moment!
But then as I moved along in my Christian life I realized that I needed forgiveness and cleansing every day (1 John 1:9).
Every time I commit a sin, I am called upon to confess that sin, and when I do, God extends to me the experience of forgiveness that I need.

Shall we say that it is like the paycheck that I need to meet my regular daily needs?
And that’s regular. I experience His forgiveness every day! Jesus taught us to think of forgiveness of sins daily, as something we need day by day, every day, just like we need our daily food. As Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 ~
9In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread, 12And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
13And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

So, yes! A Christian has a perfect forgiveness “in Christ.” We don’t experience that however.
What we do experience is the experience of forgiveness as we regularly need it on a daily basis, that experience of forgiveness Jesus taught His disciples to seek and give in Matthew 6:9-13.

And therefore day by day I maintain my fellowship with God my Father by daily getting the forgiveness which I need, and continuing to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7, 9).

 

 

 

 

 

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