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Online Bible Commentary

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Chapter: 4 | Verse: 8


Note 11 on Romans 4:8

The Greek words that are translated “will not” in this verse are what is called “a double negative, strongly expressing a negation” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). This is the strongest language possible stating that those who receive forgiveness will not ever have their sins held against them. He didn’t just say “did not” or “does not” but “will not,” implying that even future-tense sins have been dealt with through the sacrificial offering of Jesus, once for all (Hebrews 10:10 and 14).

Most Christians have the concept that the sins they committed before they professed faith in Christ were forgiven at salvation, but any sins that are committed after that time are not forgiven until they are repented of and forgiveness is asked. That is not the case.

All our sins–past, present, and future–were forgiven through the one offering of Jesus. If God can’t forgive future-tense sins, then none of us can be saved, because Jesus only died once, nearly 2,000 years ago, before we had committed any sins. All our sins have been forgiven.

Why, then, 1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is not speaking of the eternal salvation of our spirits but rather the salvation of our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). It’s our spirits that become born again at salvation, and sin will never be imputed to our born-again spirits. They have been sanctified and perfected forever (Hebrews 10:10, 14; and 12:23) and cannot sin (1 John 3:9).

However, we are still in the process of saving our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). When we sin, the devil has a legal right to bring his forms of death into our soulish area (Romans 6:16). How do we get the devil out once he has gotten in? We confess it, and God brings out into the soulish realm that forgiveness that is already a reality in our born-again spirits, and the devil has no right to stay.

If we had to confess every sin committed after our born-again experience in order to maintain our salvation, no one would ever make it. What if we forgot to confess some sin? That puts the burden of salvation back on us.

We must remember that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), and we must worship Him through our new born-again spirits. Therefore, we truly are blessed because God will not hold any sin against our spirits. Our spirits are clean and pure (Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:23, and 1 John 4:17) and will not change due to our performance.