This devotional was originally published on October 2, 2014.
We’ve all heard someone pray and ask for forgiveness of their sins or where they have failed God. I’m sure many reading this have done that exact thing. Why is that? Think about that for just a second. Why would someone who is a believer feel the need to ask for forgiveness for his or her sin? Why would someone pray congregationally or corporately and ask God to forgive us where we’ve failed him?
…to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.
— Ephesians 1:6–8
Our redemption was on the cross and is manifested in our salvation. Our sins were paid for at Calvary on the cross and were removed “as far as the east is from the west.” (see Psalm 103:12) So why do we need to ask for forgiveness? Our sins are already forgiven as believers through salvation — past, present and future.
I was taught at an early age to ask for forgiveness as basically a prerequisite to the forgiveness, as if God were in heaven, looking down with arms crossed, shaking his head saying, “Not until you ask!” That is just not the case for us Christians. Our sins are already forgiven, and they have no hold on you! Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath on sin, and no further payment is required. So is it important to acknowledge sin? Again, why would a Christian ask for forgiveness? What should be our response?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:9
As a Christian, there is no need to ask for forgiveness. Instead, our response should be confession to God of our sins and failures and seeking repentance. Again, God is not keeping score of sins vs. what we have asked forgiveness for. Confession is a vital part of Christianity and having a relationship with the Lord. Confession is almost always scary but is always healthy. It does not require institutionalized confession, such as confessing to a priest, but confessing to the Lord and to one another helps you grow spiritually and brings about accountability. Confession is humbling. Confession can be freeing in some ways. It allows it to be outward instead of having it burden you on the inside. You find encouragement in confession to God and believers when you see God that still loves you in spite of yourself.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
— Romans 8:1
We are free from the burden of sin through Christ Jesus. Yes, there will be hardship and consequences for our sin, but they do not keep us from a relationship with God or from being used to further his kingdom. As a believer, your sins are forgiven. They do not define you. Satan wants you to believe that they do, but it’s just not true, and we have scripture to prove it. Live boldly and confidently in Christ and his love for you today, and know that you are not condemned by your depravity.