By Francis Frangipane
Holiness is attained only through an unfolding experience with the grace of God.
Removing the Barriers Caused By Sin
you ever had a close friend but talked critically about him to someone
else? The next time you were together, did you notice something almost
artificial about your relationship? You were not as open nor as honest
with him. Because of your sin, there was a small but measurable distance
between both of you. Though you may have been ashamed of what you did,
if you stayed unrepentant, you actually started to avoid the one you
hurt - if not socially, at least with your eyes and heart.
may have shared a world together beforehand, but now the
interpenetration of personalities, the sense of being "at home" in one
another's soul, is gone. Unless there is repentance, the distance
between you will probably widen until the relationship itself is over.
Although neither of you may understand why you drifted apart, the love
you possessed died because you sinned and failed to repent.
the same manner that human relationships are sustained by openness and
honesty, so it is also with our relationship with God. When we sin
against Him, we unconsciously erect a barrier between heaven and
ourselves. We may still go to church, but a sense of distance and
artificiality emerges in our hearts.
Each of those
defenses we have erected to keep God out ultimately walls us in,
spiritually imprisoning us in our sins. These barriers degenerate into
strongholds of demonic oppression. Eventually, our walls toward God
imprison us outside the Divine Presence, trapping the soul in outer
darkness. It is possible that our walls toward God are the very
substance of which hell is made.
Yet, the love of God is such that He loves us enough not only to release us from our sins but also from the negative effects
our sin has had upon our fellowship with Him. Mercifully, He promises,
"their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews
10:17). Every time we ask for forgiveness, our relationship with Him
becomes free and new again.
In one sweeping act of forgiveness - so complete that He promises to not even remember
what we did wrong - God has provided the eternal payment for each sin
we contritely ask Him to forgive. He loves us so much that, while He
continues to perfect our attitudes of heart, He also provides a means to
keep our relationship with Him genuine and without barriers.
Jesus Paid the Price
Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon
us" (Ephesians 1:7-8). What is redemption? Redemption is the "payment
of a debt or obligation." There were notes, warrants held against us. We
are all debtors to God, but Jesus satisfied the warrants held against
us by His death on the cross.
And when you were dead in your transgressions . . . He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 (Italics mine)
moment you accepted Jesus into your heart, all the things you ever did
wrong, every evil thought, every angry word and every wicked deed - each
of which deserved its own punishment - was stamped REDEEMED: PAID IN
FULL by our Father in heaven. Jesus paid for them all with His blood. He
is our Redeemer! He paid the price, not just for the sins we
previously committed but for every sin that we sincerely ask forgiveness
for now. All our sins are forever forgiven and forgotten.
10:14 tells us that "For by one offering He has perfected for all time
those who are sanctified." And again in Colossians we read,
it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace
through the blood of His cross . . . and although you were formerly
alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now
reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present
you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Colossians
As far as the sin issue is concerned, we must
grasp the completed work of Christ. "Having been justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). From
God's eternal perspective, we are freed from sin. It is here in the
realm of time, and specifically in our minds, where sin still has a
temporary hold. In His great love, however, God is removing even the
barriers our sins have created between Himself and us.
is important to state here that God has not lowered His standard of
holiness. However, He knows we will never become holy if we are afraid
to draw near to Him, for He alone is holy! Consequently, He has forgiven
and reconciled us to Himself through Jesus. The blood sacrifice
of Christ has satisfied the debts of every soul who, through repentance
and faith in Jesus, sincerely seeks fellowship with God.
"I Do Not Remember"
little we understand of eternal redemption! How many times will God
forgive you? If you have truly set your heart to follow Him, He will
cancel your sins as often as you ask. Will He forgive you of the worst
sin you can think of? Yes! You may have to live with the consequences of
your misdeed, but the redemptive power of God is such that, even in
your sin, there are many things of value to be reclaimed. As for the sin
itself, if you deeply and sincerely repent of it, not only will God
forgive you, He will blot it out of His memory.
share an experience. A certain man of God had been gifted with
revelatory insight into people's lives. During an evening service he
ministered to a Presbyterian pastor and his wife. By the gift of the
Spirit, he revealed the couple's past, uncovered their present situation
and then disclosed to them what was to come. This work of God greatly
impressed the couple, and as the prophecies were fulfilled, one month
later the Presbyterian minister brought two other pastors, each with
their wives, to another service for personal ministry.
word of knowledge was exceptionally sure that night, and the second
minister and his wife marveled at the accuracy and truth in the
prophetic word. The third couple stepped forward for ministry and again
the word of knowledge was present. The prophet spoke to the husband,
revealing his past, present and insight into his future. Then the man of
God turned to this third minister's wife. As he began to speak of her
past, suddenly he stopped. "There was a very serious sin in your past."
The woman, with her worst fear seemingly upon her, turned pale and
closed her eyes. The congregation hushed and moved to the edge of their
The prophet continued, "And I asked the Lord, 'What was this sin that she committed?' And the Lord answered, 'I do not remember!'"
Lord had been faithful to His promise: "I will not remember your sins"
(Isaiah 43:25). Although many times this minister's wife had asked for
cleansing, still she could not believe the depth of God's forgiveness.
Christ had placed her sin in the sea of His forgetfulness. He removed it
"as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). From everywhere
but the prison of her own mind, her sin had been paid for and removed.
And now, in His great mercy, He removed it from there as well!
what burdens we carry, what guilt and limitations surround us because
we do not accept God's total and perfect forgiveness. In Isaiah we read,
"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own
sake; and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25).
great is the God we serve. How wonderful is His love toward us. He is
our Redeemer! Our Savior! If you are willing to forgive others and will
but ask Him to forgive you, He will pardon your debts as often as you
contritely turn to Him. He promises He will remember your sins no more.
He who calls us into His perfections, has also provided perfectly for us
to approach Him. Holiness is an unfolding relationship with the grace