How many times do we have to ask God for forgiveness for our sins?
This may stir the pot for some, but I hope this will be a positive stirring. Here’s what I believe – we have to ask God for forgiveness ONCE.
When the Bible talks about forgiveness, it’s pretty clear that ALL our sins – past, present, and future -have been (past tense) forgiven. The verse that says when we ask for forgiveness, God is faithful and just to forgive us, does NOT indicate this has to be done over and over again. In fact, look at how this verse ends – “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9 ESV
What we do continue to do is “repent” of our ongoing sin. “Repent” simply means to change our minds. In other words, we recognize that our sin hurts us and the people around us. We see our sin is really self-centeredness. So, we think differently – we put others first. We repent. But, we are already fully forgiven even before we repent.
Today’s Good News is that the forgiveness we need is already done! It is finished! And now nothing can separate us from the love of God – according to His love letter to us.
What this truth allows me to do is live in the understanding that God has me covered. My sins are forgiven. Some think this thinking leads to uncontrolled lives – if I’m already forgiven, then let’s just sin all the more. But I have not found that to be true in my life, nor those around me who really understand the enormous gift of being fully forgiven. In fact, the opposite is true – my desire to NOT sin increases the more I grasp the reality of total forgiveness. I am so thankful for the One who has forgiven me that I want to serve Him even more. My appetite for sin decreases and my desire to put others’ interests above my own increases.
Yes, every day I still have my off moments (far more than I want), but even these just remind me of the extraordinary gift of complete forgiveness – and that’s Good News.
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