Why It’s Okay to Ask God to Forgive Your Sins
I confess to you, it’s been a long time since I asked God to forgive me of my sins. Why? Because I believe He has already forgiven me of all of them. And when did that happen? Two thousand years ago on the cross! That’s when Jesus died for all our sins and prayed on our behalf, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The day I believed on Jesus and received Him as my Savior and Lord, I received that forgiveness personally.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, (Colossians 2:13 NKJV)
So what do I do when I unfortunately disobey my loving Heavenly Father? I say I am sorry and thank Him for not imputing my trespasses against me. I rejoice in His unmerited grace of forgiveness and claim His power to walk in freedom over sin and guilt. I thank Him for His unconditional love. And I choose to walk in the peace that comes from knowing Jesus paid it all for me.
But does this mean I think that it’s never okay to ask God to forgive me? Am I a “grace Pharisee” that will criticize and condemn any believer who chooses to ask to be forgiven when he commits sin? No, because what ultimately matters is that we receive the grace of forgiveness, and not that we pray a certain way, or use a particular formula. We don’t need a new law to live under.
It is absolutely true that if a person is in Christ, his or her sins are totally forgiven. From God’s point of view, the sin issue has been settled once for all by the blood of Jesus. And because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, God has promised, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV) This is wonderful news, but this grace of forgiveness will not help anybody unless they receive it. So, if it will help you to receive the grace of forgiveness for you to specifically ask for it, you are free to do so with thanksgiving, and no one should condemn you over it.
Now, I am not saying that a believer needs to confess any sin as the condition for God to forgive him of that sin. That would suggest that Jesus’ blood did not atone for all our sins once for all, and that He deals with our sins one at a time; instead of, once for all time. If that were the case, His high priestly ministry is less efficacious than that of the Old Testament priesthood. But we are told otherwise in Scripture.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Hebrews 7:26-27 NKJV)
What I am saying, however, is that while confessing a sin is not a requirement of God for Him to forgive you of it (since He did so two thousand years ago when Jesus died for that sin), if you feel you need to do so for your own benefit–to rid yourself of the feelings of guilt and condemnation you may be experiencing because of sin, then do so. And then, immediately receive and start acknowledging God’s gift of forgiveness freely!
Child of God, you are totally forgiven in Christ of all sins. Now, do whatever you need to do to receive the grace of forgiveness so that you can start enjoying uninterrupted fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Don’t live another day under guilt and condemnation. Enjoy and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set you free.