Here is a simple question: if you are a child of God, why do we need to ask for forgiveness?
The answer to this may seem simple, but the obvious answer might be wrong!
The answer would seem to be that we need to ask forgiveness every time we sin because sin separates us from God, and if the sin we have committed isn’t forgiven, we will lose our salvation. That seems quite right and reasonable, doesn’t it? Except it isn’t.
If you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ and you are his child, then there is no such thing as being in and out of salvation every time you stumble. The idea of a God who withdraws his salvation from his children every time they show the least bit of self-centredness is horrendous and against the Gospel.
If you are a child of God, why do we need to ask for forgiveness?
Imagine a godly woman who despite the hardship of her life, has a deep relationship with Jesus based on faith, and who lives a Christ-like life. But in the midst of the pressures of her life, she speaks a harsh word to her husband one morning before he goes to work. She doesn’t have a chance to ask God for forgiveness, because in a tragic accident soon after that morning, she dies. Can you love a God who would withhold salvation from her? No, and this is not who God is or how he acts with his children.
If you are a child of God then you remain saved as a child of God. The criteria for your salvation is not the level of sinlessness in your life, but rather your faith.
So, why then is it necessary for us to ask for forgiveness every time we sin? It is for the sake of our relationship with Christ. The reason is because sin, if it is not dealt with through the Cross, separates us from God. Sin is corrosive and toxic. If left unconfessed in our beings, it will slowly destroy our faith. We continually confess our sins in order to keep expressing our faith in Christ so that we don’t wander away from God.
We confess our sin and repent because we value our relationship with Jesus above all.
We confess our sins to God because our relationship with our God is to be based on openness, transparency, and honesty. We ask God to forgive us because we don’t want anything to stand between us and our Saviour. We continually surrender our lives to him, and lay our burdens at our Saviour’s feet.
When we have been saved, and we fall, we ask God to forgive us because we are aware of how serious our sin is, and what it cost God at Calvary. We ask God to forgive us so that we may never forget that he has already forgiven us at the Cross. We confess our sin and repent because we value our relationship with Jesus above all.
We are saved the moment we believe and as long as we believe. Our sins of the past, present and future are always forgiven. That is the meaning of righteousness through faith. It is the justification of our entire life.
Within our saving relationship with God, we are always a penitent, and so we always repent. At the same time, we are always right with God, and so we always rejoice:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4).
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez. Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question. Sign up to his free online course called Becoming a Follower of Jesus to learn about Jesus and His message.