Oh boy do I have a stupid question! You couldn’t find it in your heart to just humour me could you! -Did Jesus die for MY PERSONAL SINS, past present AND FUTURE? Future also meaning all those things from the past that I can’t put right, like on going family relationship ‘mess ups’! -Also, if jesus died for my personal sins, did he do it out of love, or did he do it in a kind of angry way, thinking that he has to put right all the mess ups that I’ve made, and he’s not going to look too kindly on any future ‘stepping out of line’! These questions come from my ‘raw’ emotions, that’s probably why it all seems infantile!
Now why do you think this would be such a ‘stupid’ question? To be honest, in view of the prevalent teachings in most Christian circles, this question is begging to be asked. That’s because contemporary evangelism focuses on “personal” sins, which is going to make people constantly wonder whether or not their personal sins were taken care of.
Maybe our attempts to make Christ more personal only seem more personal. And maybe they only end up causing far more confusion. And maybe this is why we end up with more and more personal sounding answers that seem to pacify the endless ‘new’ questions that demand ‘new’ answers. However, the new questions end up being pretty much the same as the old ones; and the new answers usually lack any real life because they’re only focused on the situations and circumstances.
God did not deal with sins in the manner we keep insisting he did, for though we might look at the symptoms (the individual sins), God sees it as it really is. For sins are merely the manifestation of the source, which is sin. God dealt with the source, and in doing so, he dealt with everything that comes out of it. The typical confusion over “past, present and future sins” — along with the logical sounding pat answers (pro or con) — should make it rather obvious as to how symptom conscious our viewpoints are.
When I was a child, there was new housing development going in at the end of the street, and though we were rather upset at the destruction of our wooded playground, we found new opportunities in the wake of the construction. Since it was a wooded area there were numerous piles of burning trees at the beginning from clearing out new roadways. One holiday during the fall (probably Thanksgiving, as some relatives were down) my cousin joined my brother, my sister and myself in wandering the construction area. Well, he and my brother decided to make torches from some sticks and start little fires in the undercover of leaves in the forest, while my sister and I ran behind stomping them out. They finally convinced us to let them burn just a little bit, and when we did it quickly got out of hand. All of us went into panic mode, taking off our jackets in order to extinguish the spreading flames. We were lucky to have gotten it out, and without any harm to ourselves.
It seems we’re too often stuck in the mentality of running around behind the guy with the torch stomping out the little fires before they get too big. Even if we talk as if we’re not trying to stomp them out we still might be projecting Jesus as being the one who follows behind to do the extinguishing. And even when we get it figured out that the doing away of sins was a done-deal on the cross we too often think in terms of Jesus having had to go running behind the guy with the burning stick in order to have done so. I’m suggesting that we end up with the same kind of confusion no matter how we figure it. For only in BECOMING the guy with the burning stick and condemning HIM, along with the very creation that burns in his path, did Jesus do away with sin. It was a package deal.
Jesus was removed from the old creation by virtue of death and then transferred into the new creation by resurrection. We will always be confused if and when we attempt to figure out how sins are removed from the old creation (which is what so much of our “Christian” doctrine attempts to do). Sins were not removed from the old creation (which is how we keep demanding to view ourselves), rather we were removed from them in Christ. In this way only can it be said that sins were removed from us: from separation by death and resurrection. Sanctification is the result of this reality of no longer being touched by sin because of being separated from it through the death and resurrection of he who is our life.
Don’t let anybody push you into seeing yourself in terms of the guy with the stick, nor of the burning piles of so-called future sins. Your sins have been sooooo done away with in Christ so that future sins are merely a deception of the legal mentality brought on by law. No doubt that while caught up in the insanity of this deception we will manifest the works of the flesh, and those flesh-doings will insist to us that this is part of the real us, and the insistence of the mind of law will force us to consider the same old remedies that never worked in the first place. Don’t let the symptoms (the works of the flesh) force you into a symptomatic approach, because a symptom cannot throw itself out, but will merely adapt so as not to be recognized. Put off this whole lie as being your life, or any part of your life; instead put on the truth, which is Christ, for he IS your life.