For a good part of my Christian life I prayed asking God for forgiveness after committing sin. I don’t do that anymore. Here’s why.
My conscience was plagued by guilt and shame over my sin. I felt unaccepted by God, that He was holding my sin against me. In grief and sorrow, I would cautiously and fearfully approach God, begging for forgiveness. I had sinned against Him—again, He who paid the ultimate price for me, a price that brought the ultimate reward: eternal life.
Perhaps the worst part was wondering whether God would forgive me. I was pretty sure He would, at least that was what I had been taught. Nevertheless, my thoughts haunted me. What if He didn’t forgive me? Was I truly saved? Had I committed the unpardonable sin?
I had self-condemning thoughts like these because somewhere in the back of my mind was the belief that if I had to ask for forgiveness, maybe God had a legitimate reason to withhold it. The result? I lived in continual spiritual defeat. How could I ever be good enough for God?
When Jesus died for my sins, how many did He die for? All of them, past, present, and future. At the time He died, how many of my sins had I committed? None—I wasn’t born yet. This means I am already forgiven for all the sins of my life. So, why ask for forgiveness? You don’t. You confess.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. Notice it doesn’t say “If we ask for forgiveness”. It says, “If we confess“. But wait! It then says He will forgive our sins, so what’s up with that?
The answer lies in the fact that the Bible teaches that there are two kinds of forgiveness. In my next post, I’ll explain what they are and what they mean.