Can I be forgiven of things that couldn't be forgiven under the Old Testament law?

Readers Question / Comment - Can I be forgiven of things that couldn't be forgiven under the Old Testament law?


I would like ask a question. I was saved at 36 years of age and prior to my conversion I lived a very immoral lifestyle. Which included abortion, adultery and a bisexual lifestyle. There is not a single commandment that I did not break in thought or deed. It was brought to my attention that the sacrifices offered in the OT were a shadow of what Christ would come to do, right? Ok.

Except... there are no sacrifices offered for the things that I did. Without exception they were simply punishable by immediate death, no redeeming yourself with a sacrifice.

It was also said that there are those that are saved in the NT that committed these crimes, and we're obviously saved, but I need scripture now to back this up. I'm in a bit of a tailspin over it.

So I guess my question is if the old sacrificial system was a shadow and Christ is now our perfect lamb how are certain sins covered or forgiven if they were not before?

Also for the past 5 years have attended a very legalistic IFB church , why ? Out of obedience to my husband who will not attend anywhere else. Its not all bad but , its an awful lot of external holiness, like skirt length, hair length , no this no that sort of thing. So thank you for your web site and the studies I'm really enjoying them. Just can't find anything to answer my question. Hoping you can .

Thank you.

JPN Reply:


thanks for the email and your honesty. The good news is YES! The Bible does provide an answer to your question. Before getting there, let me say that you are right... under the law there were many sins that resulted straight in death and there was no sacrifice for them. Also, the sacrifices were for 'unintentional' sins. Numbers 15:22-36 speaks about the sacrifice required for 'unintentional' sins but not for 'defiant' sins. And it gives an example of a Sabbath breaker that must have been 'defiantly' breaking that commandment and had to be put to death. Make no mistake... the law is perfect and right and just... but it is death. It condemns each and every one of us for something or many things. That is why the Apostle Paul called the Ten Commands 'the ministry of death' and the 'ministry of condemnation':

2 Corinthians 3:7-9 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, (8) how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? (9) For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.

Of course, that was the very purpose of the law. It was to hold all under a statement condemnation so that EVERY mouth would be closed and NO ONE could say that they were acceptable to God by their own efforts.

Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; (20) because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

So what of your question? Does Jesus' death deal with the sins that the Old Testament sacrifices couldn't? You bet! Read Paul's great message to the Jews (who knew the law) in Acts 13:15-39 and note the climax of the 'good news' of the gospel in 38-39:

Acts 13:38-39 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, (39) and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Another version speaks of being justified:

Act 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

So it says that because of Jesus' death, the forgiveness of sins is now proclaimed and EVERYONE who believes is freed or justified FROM ALL THINGS done, including those things (or sins) that the law could not free, forgive, justify a person from. It is very good news! Especially to someone that sees their guilt in those things that the law couldn't touch!

That is why, when the writer of Hebrews writes his letter to the Hebrews (Jews who understood the law), he uses one word over and over - 'better'. For example:

Heb 1:4 Jesus is better than the angels
Heb 7:19 Jesus' sacrifice gives a better hope than the law
Heb 7:22 Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant
Heb 8:6 Jesus' ministry is based on better promises
Heb 9:23 Jesus death was a better sacrifice than that under the law

Quite frankly, there is no comparison. Yes, the Old Testament was a 'shadow' of what was to come with Jesus' death, but it wasn't the real thing. Jesus' death provided so much more.

Hebrews 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The blessing of the New Testament and the better covenant we live under is that justification (being declared righteous in the sight of God) is no longer on the basis of works (the law) at all. This is a RADICAL concept but a true one.

The law came through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17)

And now, because of Jesus' death, God is free and PERFECTLY JUST to JUSTIFY SINNERS on a whole different principle totally independent of the law. It is one based on GRACE and FAITH,

Romans 3:21-26 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (25) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- (26) he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

So even to those that previously lived in immoral lifestyles (some similar to what you have listed), Paul could say:

1 Corinthians 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

I hope this helps!

God Bless,

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