In One Package
One of the worst misconceptions of the gospel is the claim that our sins are forgiven when we become Christians.
This kind of merging of atonement and salvation is contrary to the gospel Apostle Paul preached. For him, it was self-evident that all sins were forgiven on Calvary. And it was equally clear to him that forgiveness of sins had not saved him. It was the encounter with the living Jesus that changed his life.
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'." (Romans 10: 9-13)
If we preach God's forgiveness only to those who believe in Jesus, we steal the gift of forgiveness from the world. As a result, we do not let people come to Jesus unconditionally, just as they are.
This is how we Christians hide the gospel from the ungodly world. And now we reap what we have sown.
(Excerpt from RETURNING TO GRACE by Markku Sarento)