+–Mark 11:26 says that if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. Does this mean that if people have problems to forgive they are in danger of losing their salvation?
Some people get big problems with this scripture, as the abuses they have suffered are so terrible that they say they are not able to forgive even if they want to. Does God put another burden on their shoulders, telling that He will not forgive them if they do not forgive first? The truth is that this is the pattern of the old covenant, saying that you need to forgive first. In the old covenant we had to do our part first in order for God to do His part, but in the new covenant God has already done His part! That is the good news!
Let’s look at what the new covenant says about forgiveness:
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:13)
Here we can see that forgiveness is still important, but the order has changed! God has forgiven us first, and that enables us to now forgive others.
God has forgiven us first, and that enables us to now forgive others.
Make no mistake, forgiveness is very important, even in order for us to set ourselves free and to allow God’s healing to completely restore us. And this will often be a process. You see, there are some people who have not forgiven others, but there are also many people who have not forgiven themselves for what they have done wrong! And it may eat them up on the inside. How relieving it is to know that God has already forgiven us first! As we understand more of this truth, it becomes easier for us to forgive others and even forgive ourselves.
+–Can I grow in righteousness?
No, you cannot grow in the God kind of righteousness. However, you can grow in the understanding of this rightouesness, and that is what Hebrews 5:13 says makes us mature as Christians.
+–Will I be more righteous in heaven than I am right here and now?
No, you are just as righteous now as you will be in heaven. You are already perfectly righteous. When you die you just move from your body to heaven, and later you will receive a new heavenly body. However, your spirit and your right standing with God is already new and perfect, and will remain the same in heaven.
+–Can a person lose his righteousness?
We never received righteousness by our works or lifestyle, but only through grace by faith in Jesus. In the same way we can never lose our righteousness based on our works or lifestyle. Because we have Jesus we are completely righteous to God. This important truth helps to bring people into assurance of salvation.
I understand that righteousness is a gift from God, and that a person will not lose his righteousness if he sins. However, if a person sins, will the righteousness get some “dark spots?”
Does Jesus ever get some “dark spots” on His righteousness? Since He is your righteousness, your righteousness will never get any “dark spots”, even if you commit a sin. (1 Corinthians 1:30, Romans 8:33-34)
+–I understand that righteousness is a gift from God, and that a person will not lose his righteousness if he sins. However, if a person sins, will the righteousness get some "dark spots?"
Does Jesus ever get some "dark spots" on His righteousness? Since He is your righteousness, your righteousness will never get any "dark spots", even if you commit a sin. (1 Corinthians 1:30, Romans 8:33-34)
+–Will not teaching with a strong focus on grace and righteousness lead people to sin more?
No, these truths will not set people free to sin but rather set people free from a lifestyle of sin. (Romans 5:17, 2 Corinthians 3:9) It will not lead people to sin more but to sin less. More about this question is found in the teaching articles.
+–As Christians, are we forgiven sinners?
No. This may be a surprising answer to some, so let’s look at it a bit more. According to Romans 5:19 we all became sinners because of one man’s sin (Adam), and we become righteous through one man’s obedience (Jesus). When we got born again the old man (the sinner) died and the new man (the righteous new creation) was born. We are now called saints and righteous, and not sinners.
Who are then forgiven sinners, since it is not the Church? It is all the people in the world, not yet being born again. What a wonderful message we have to them: “YOU ARE ALREADY FORGIVEN BY GOD! Jesus has already paid the full price for your sins too, no matter what you have done! Will you now receive Him as your Savior and receive the gift of righteousness and a brand new life from Him?”