I was listening to a minister and he said that when you sin, you should not ask for forgiveness because you were already forgiven when you gave your life to Christ, and he nailed your sins to the cross. God now judges your heart, not the sin.
ESV - 14 By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
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It seems to me that the circumstances described in the question are similar to the point that Paul raised in Romans 6. The fact that those who have placed their faith in Christ have had their sins forgiven by God for Christ's sake does not constitute a license for them to knowingly continue in conscious or deliberate sin that they are unwilling to confess. If they do so, they show that (regardless of what they may outwardly profess) they are still slaves to sin, and that it is still their master (Romans 7:15-25). As Paul said, those who have believed in Christ have died to sin as a result, and sin no longer has its former control of them. The Christian's baptism (which initiates into the faith) symbolizes that the old, sinful self has died, and been buried, and the Christian has now been resurrected into a new life of service and obedience to God. However, as Paul also said in the passage from Romans 7 cited above, that does not mean that the old sin nature has been completely done away with. Just as with Paul, each Christian must contend with it until freed from it by death. That is why even Christians who have been saved still need to repent of the sins that they do commit, and confess them to God. (The very first message that Jesus Himself preached when He began His public ministry was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17). And in the very first of the 95 theses that Martin Luther nailed to the church door in Wittenberg that started the Protestant Reformation, Luther said, "Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, when He said, "Repent ye," willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance.") Christians should want to actively pursue forgiveness for ongoing sin as a witness of a continuing desire on their part to remove anything that creates an impediment in their relationship to God. As the apostle John (who was writing to people who were already Christians) said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 8-9).
I would disagree with the message that repentance is not needed. As Tim points out quite well we must have an attitude of humbleness, a contrite spirit, acknowledging the conviction or chastisement of your heart by the Holy Spirit as it is proof of God in us. After salvation or first confession and baptism comes the work of sanctification. It is a life-long process of daily renewal and obedience to the word through the spirit. Further proof would be found in the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. I love this passage as it is God's take on an eye for an eye (rule of the law): If you want forgiveness you must be forgiving, what measure you mete will measured back to you. Instead of focusing on vengeance he tells us how mercy works, further proof that God loves us and has no desire that any should perish. The minister is correct in thinking the sacrifice Jesus paid is sufficient for past, present and future sin, and once offered Jesus sat down at the hand of the father, signifying the work was finished the price paid was perfect forever. The book of Hebrews teaches us this. The scripture also tells us He knows what we need before we ask, but scripture is full of examples such as the book of 1 Corinthians was written because of a church member's sin and the churches cold indifference to it. 2 Corinthian addressed receiving him back after he repented. In Revelation Jesus addresses the churches, and those who fell short he tells to repent and do their first works over. We must remember there is no forgiveness if we do not ask. Sin is to know to do good and not do it and it starts in your heart. As Tim has said sin is an intentional action; our perception of sin will changes as we grow in the spirit (sanctification). As we become aware, our conscience convicts us and we need to be cleansed by nailing it to that cross through repentance. Blessed be the name of Jesus forever, glory praise and honor to the father. Such a great love to offer himself in our place. What mercy, love, and kindness is given to us through His great grace. Maranatha
For the non-Christian confession of sins is required to receive God’s salvation. A person hears the gospel message and believes it is true. That person confesses their sin, repents (turns away from it), accepts Jesus as their personal saviour and invites him to be the Lord of their new spiritual life. For the person who has accepted God’s salvation, all their sins - past, present and future - are already forgiven, because of their faith in Jesus’s finished work on the cross. However, our sin still affects our relationship with God. Whenever we sin the Holy Spirit convicts us, so we feel guilt and shame for what we have done. When we confess our sins the guilt and shame is washed away. Sin also affects the quality of our new spiritual life, Sin we commit or that’s committed against us has a negative effect on our thoughts, words and actions. We may begin hurting ourselves or others, and sinful patterns of behaviour may start controlling us. When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness. This cleansing breaks the hold that sin is trying to exert in our lives, and strengthens our faith to resist these temptations, when they come upon us in the future. Our unconfessed sin also breaks our fellowship with God. We don’t feel the presence of God. The Spirit’s voice leading, guiding and instructing us becomes fainter. We don’t experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. When we confess our sins this fellowship is restored and we begin walking with the Holy Spirit again. Every time we confess our sins we open the door to receive all the blessings that God intends for our lives. Through our confession we demonstrate our willingess for God to complete the good work he began in us, so we will fully reflect the image of Jesus Christ in our lives.
First John 1:9 says, we are to confess our sins to stay in fellowship with our heavenly Father. Since all of our sins are paid for, we can no longer be condemned. John 3:18, But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by living in sin. Ephesians 4:30. The question comes, Did Jesus pay for all sin. First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. So Jesus did pay for every possible sin so that any one can be saved. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me, will come to me, and all that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. When we live in sin we are out of fellowship with our heavenly Father, but never our relationship. That never changes once we have received the free gift of salvation by grace. That is why Paul warned us not to use grace for a license to sin. But He also said that when we sin grace abounds, where sin abounds grace much more abounds. All of us go through periods of sinfulness. We still have our old nature and we do not always walk in the Spirit. I have personally witnessed several believers who lost their life early because they continued to live in a sinful lifestyle. I am sure they are in heaven, but may have all their rewards burned up, but they will be saved so as by fire. But God is faithful and those who have trusted Him as their savior, whether they live like it or not, are going to heaven. Once we have been sealed by the holy spirit we have eternal life. If how we live had anything to do with salvation, then we would be our own savior and Jesus died in vain. We can not save ourselves by what we do, and we can not lose our salvation by what we do. But we can be chastened by the Lord, and if we do not change, he may take our life. Some Believers are living like the devil, but they are saved. Others may be living very righteous lives in the eyes of the world but have never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation by grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of your selves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. We are saved unto good works that we should walk in them, Not by good works. Good works are for rewards in heaven after we are saved. Never for salvation which is a free gift when we believe. Romans 11:6 It is all grace. Man can not be given the glory for saving him self. Jesus is the savior and we are the sinners He came to save.
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 JOHN 1:9 AMP https://bible.com/bible/1588/1jn.1.9.AMP
I submit that we must confess our sins and repent (turn away) of them (James 5:16, 1John 1:9, and Romans 6:13). However the work of forgiveness was secured by Christ on the cross. Once we come to faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior all of our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14). We often confuse forgiveness, confession, and repentance. Forgiveness is an act of God secured by the work of Christ on the cross. Confession is our responsibility and is coming into agreement with God that our actions were outside His standard and will. Repentance is to turn away from those actions that are outside of God’s standard and will. Repentance is also our responsibility. As blood bought and blood washed saints of God we are to confess and repent of our sins, however the work of forgiveness has already been done by Jesus. Asking for forgiveness is neither confessing or repenting. It’s simply saying I’m sorry for the wrong I did.
First off, I’m a newby to the forum. Wanted to acknowledge Grant, Gregory and Tim, it is already worth the trip; great answers very well stated. It’s difficult to shed additional light; however I know that Christ alone performed the one and done, but for the rest of us it is an ongoing refinement. I do my best to grow spiritually by seeing the light, yet being in a fallen world, which includes self, I often have to feel the heat. Oh, how He loves us. If we take the simple fraction formula of mind over body and the body becomes a slave to the many temptations or self-medicating pathologies, and you are up to your chest, the fraction inverts; now the body overrules the mind. Same for the flesh: we are born with the fraction of flesh over spirit and the journey becomes conviction from the spirit to transform or renew us into spirit over flesh. Do you suppose there is a relation to being crucified upside-down like Peter? The inverted man. It seems appropriate to me to take an inventory each night to see where I offended and get humbled to once again receive His grace that abounds for our sin.
I think the answer is pretty obvious. If we read Matthew 6:7-14 (also in Luke) we find the Twelve asking Jesus for advice on how to pray, and Jesus instructs them. The proforma of prayer that Jesus gives was meant to be an example, but we took it as a literal prayer that we should pray, often parrot-fashion. Nevertheless, in verse 12 Jesus includes the phrase: "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." These are not, in this case monitory debts. The word translated as 'debts' is the Greek word 'opheilema' meaning 'morally a fault', and likewise the word translated as 'debtors' is translated from the Greek 'opheiletes' meaning 'a transgressor or sinner'. So Jesus seems to be saying quite clearly that whenever we pray we need to confess and repent, either generally or, even better, specifically, of our sins. Verses 14 & 15 are more specific, in that If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. As we all know we cannot come into God's presence laden with sin, so, through Jesus, we need to be forgiven before we come into His presence in prayer. I personally believe that God will not hear our prayer if we have not confessed and repented of our sin so that we can be forgiven through Christ. Maybe this is why we see such low rates of answered prayer today.
I'm a disciple. Have you ever felt dry and 'out of it'? I have, and it's usually a result of me not praying, not studying the word, not listening to the Holy Spirit, disobeying what He tells me or puts on my heart, and not communicating with Him. Or I have unforgiveness in my heart against someone. Even forsaking the assembling with other saints to worship God and fellowship with one another is sin. Why did I feel this way? Broken fellowship. And as stated more than once, sin breaks our fellowship with God. With regard to Jesus bearing the cross for our sin debt: past, present and future, this passage is saying simply that the debt has been paid. It does not say the debt has been paid so we don't have to repent after we first repented and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As another writer here correctly stated, Jesus came preaching repentance. He was telling us that repentance is necessary to receive the kingdom of God, because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3) And another writer cites Romans 6 where Apostle Paul tells us "1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" And we need to remind each other saints, that the devil roams about like a roaring lion seeking to stoke our senses to his schemes to separate us from God, His promises, and pollute our effectiveness as witnesses for Christ. So stand (Ephesians 6).
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