Are Unbelievers Forgiven?
Adapted from a teaching by Arthur Meintjes
The forgiveness of sin is a subject so many struggle with!
While pastoring, I had more people ask me about forgiveness than almost any other subject.
Forgiveness is a big gray area for most. It’s difficult for them to have peace because it’s difficult to believe God is good and can forgive without any action from us. That’s why the gospel is good news to all people.
When people aren’t convinced of God’s forgiveness, they’ll struggle in life and relationship with God. They will struggle to trust God, and their faith will not work.
Is forgiveness in Christ temporal and only for Christians, or is it eternal, including all—even sinners?
The former leads to questions and doubts regarding sin and forgiveness. The latter leads to confidence that builds trust and faith in relationship with God, producing lasting peace.
If we are able to establish from Scripture that the forgiveness of God is eternal and includes all sin for all men, it will answer most people’s questions and once and for all lead to a rest and assurance that their sin is forgiven.
Forgiveness Secured in the New Testament
In the New Testament book of Hebrews, we see that God has secured our forgiveness through Christ.
“… He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].” —Hebrews 9:26 (AMPC)
Even in Hebrews 10:16-18, it says Jesus did away with all sin—past, present and future. All the prophetic predictions were fulfilled in His finished work. Jesus died for all sin, for all time, for all men.
This is what John the Baptist saw when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized in the Jordan, “Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”
So the question is, whose sin is forgiven? The sin of the whole world! The whole issue of sin has been dealt with once and for all time!
God Is No Longer Holding Men’s Sins Against Them
This is what people find difficult to believe. Sin will kill you, but it’s no longer an issue between God and man. Although unbelievers aren’t saved, their sin is forgiven. It’s now up to them.
When Were We Forgiven and Delivered?
We were forgiven and delivered while we were still dead in our trespasses and sin, before we repented, before we confessed or sought after God, even before we were born. That means our forgiveness is not predicated on anything we do or did. It’s totally dependent on the finished work of Jesus. That’s why it is called the good news of God’s grace!
God’s not scrutinizing your life. Your sin is forgiven, eternally removed and abolished—never to be counted against you again. Because of Jesus, you are totally forgiven and every blessing in heavenly places is yours.
You are accepted, righteous and holy!