Now we're saved! We're a new person in Christ! Now we're ready to serve God. We're enthused about fulfilling the Great Commission, telling the world about Jesus. We're armed with the sword of God and protected by his full armor. We're enthused and joyful. Finally we're free of guilt shame.
Romans 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
By the shed blood of Jesus our past sins are remitted, "pardoned" by God because Jesus died for you! In fact Jesus died for "all sin":
1 John 1:7 " But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
It's obvious that at the time of salvation all our sins up to that time are pardoned. Jesus died for all sins: past, present and future. As a person sins, each one, as they are convicted by the spirit, continues in communion with God by admitting those sins, feeling contrition for them and asking for forgiveness which is available because the payment has already been made in full. The gift is there for the asking, so to speak.
Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
As forgiven Christians, with all sins covered by the blood of Jesus, peace is made between the sinner and the Lord. Whereas rebellion (war) existed before ,the pardoned sinner now finds peace. No sin can be held against the person!
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."
Acts 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
As can be seen from the previous two verses our confession "cleanses" the sinner and baptism is symbolic in that it physically cleans the body which previously had the spirit cleansed!
Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."
After a person is saved and the sins pardoned God chooses to forget those sins. They are "blotted out". Nothing is on the slate to be held against the Christian! Isn't God's grace perfect and good?
In summary, a Christian is a person who sins, is pardoned, with all past sins washed away, is a new person, and with a clean slate starts afresh! What a promise!
Then man enters the picture and contaminates forgiveness with The Law! Yes, after God cleans the slate and peace is obtained, pharisees continually revive the old person for all to see. As an example let's consider divorce.
First off, all sins are rebellion. Everyone has been disobedient. You and I are not alone in our sins because we're no better or worse than others. (Thank you Lord!).
1 John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
There is much conjecture about whether all sins are equal or not, so I won't go there. However, it is wise to note that regardless of the sin, punishment is equal for all sin. We know that if one commandment is violated it's as if all were. Therefore, I contend that divorce is a pardonable sin and if one has been married and divorced that sin is covered by the blood. No sincere Christian scholar would dispute that. The liar is as guilty as the infidel because divorce may be infidelity.
Paul set the requirements for the government of the church:
Titus 1:5 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;"
To be an elder a man must BE blameless (sins forgiven as per the argument above), have ONE wife, HAVE faithful children, not (PRESENTLY) accused of riotousness and unruliness. For a bishop a man MUST BE blameless, not (PRESENTLY) self-willed, not (PRESENTLY) eager to be angry, not (PRESENTLY) a consumer or alcohol, not (PRESENTLY) violent and not (PRESENTLY) a filthy talker.
Note that all qualifications are for the immediate condition. What a person did in the past is not part of the portfolio. However, church leaders, in their mindset of the law, ignores all the past sins in a man as noted above, but holds the sin of divorce over the head of the believer who wishes to minister! It appears that although God wiped the slate clean, the church officials do not!
Many modern churches refuse to allow a divorced man to be an elder or deacon. That is one particular sin that seems to be above all others although any sin is lawlessness as has been shown. Some contend that all sins are equal, but yet disqualify church officers from serving based on divorce alone!
Paul said what he meant, inspired by God, yet man, as always, reinterpreted what was said to fit the desired doctrine. Scripture does not say that a man cannot be divorced, it says that he is to be " a husband of one wife". We know from history that polygamy was common in the pagan world of ancient times. God's decree is that if a man now has multiple wives, he is unqualified to be a church officer because by doing so, that man is living with PRESENT sin in rebellion to God.
It would be logical to assume that if a Christian does have multiple wives, that it is expedient that the man be in obedience to correct that situation. Outside of natural death, divorce is the only other option! A truly repenitent Christian would put away extra wives and be obedient and qualifed for church office. There's a great example in the Old Testament about this subject:
Divorce is recognized by God:
Ezra 10:10 (NIV) " Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11 Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” 12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say." "
To make themselves more righteous Ezra told the unfaithful to divorce (separate) from their pagan wives. Although divorce isn't desirable, it is recognized. Even Abraham put away his wife Kuturah for the same reason (Genesis 25). Hence, when one divorces they no longer have a wife! Therefore a divorced person who marries another woman has one wife. After Kuturah separated Abraham had ONE wife, Sarah. The theologian must admit that divorce ends a marriage. The same must admit that ALL past sins are forgiven including divorce. The same must admit that all the sins listed in the qualifications for office are PRESENT sins, not past sins and that if any of those sins are forgiven, they no longer disqualify! The forgiven man who is divorced and forgiven, and is presently living a righteous life is a saint and is not disqualified from the Lord's work whatever it be! If honest, a theologian, must admit that the misinterpretation of a divorced man from serving the Lord is a man-made rule and is Pharisitical in nature!
There are other such man-made laws in the modern church. Unfortunately, even saintly men who love the Lord are forbidden to serve the Lord because the wife divorced the man! The man may be truly sinless, but because he has committed the past sin of marrying again, he is disqualified from serving the Lord he loves! God erased the slate! He cleansed it by his own blood! However, man continues to hold those sins already forgotten by God over a man's head who is at peace with God. The divorced Christian man is still at war with man-made rules! Our past shame yet haunts, but that applies for some reason to the divorced man only! God forgive us man-made rules!