Do I have to wait, or can I ask for forgiveness right away?
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1 John 2:1 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous". First and foremost, The Lord Jesus Christ alone is our advocate/defense attorney and great high priest. Hebrews 3:1 " Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" I believe sin should be confessed as soon as the Spirit of God brings it to your attention. The human conscience (which is subjective) will kick in soon thereafter either excusing or justifying the thought or action. Unconfessed sin only calluses or hardens the heart which is already deceitful and wicked Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:10 "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings". Hebrews 3:13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Well, let me start by saying, I agree with JD's answer in that we should confess "as soon as possible" and with a true feeling of contrition and humility that is totally without self righteousness, etc. Jesus taught us by example how to be in an attitude to be as one with Him to deeply ask forgiveness. Many, many times, JESUS himself, went off to be alone in either a secluded place or simply just alone while praying to the Father' --and-- the bible tells us "to go to our secret place to pray and make supplication and pleas unto the Lord for forgiveness of our sins and to make the desires and concerns made known unto the Lord, for He is our God" and "will hear from Heaven" and all our request(s) made with contrite and earnest heartfelt intentions; because, He loves us more than we ever know or comprehend! Jesus hears our request and promises us he will plead our case "unto the Father" and "desires to meet all our needs and requests that are in right standing (according to His will) unto the Lord." --Andy--
One does not pray silently for forgiveness, instead he should confess his sins in order to receive forgiveness. In the Catholic tradition, the penitent confesses his sins to a priest. The underlying principle is this - the confession of sin must be heard. The priest then decides if it is truly a sin (or not) and if forgiveness can be proclaimed (or not) based on contrition shown by the penitent. This authority came from Christ himself when he said "If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:23)
Hello Darius! Please consider the following good news! 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" 2 Corinthians 5:19: "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Many confuse forgiveness and salvation as being one in the same, but forgiveness doesn't occur by asking for it, or even by our belief. It is salvation that occurs by our belief of the forgiveness that has already occurred, the gospel of Christ crucified. Believers believe that forgiveness happened at Calvary. This is why Christianity is a faith and not a man-centered works-based religion, such as asking for forgiveness. Our sins were forgiven nearly 2,000 years ago when God 'reconciled Himself to the world', whether someone believes this or not. It is by God's grace through our belief in this, faith in Christ and HIS finished cross work for us, that we accept His free gift offered for salvation. Forgiveness opened the door, now salvation comes by faith. Reconciliation is a two-sided process. God initiated the process by forgiving the world of its trespasses through the death of Jesus Christ at the cross. We complete our part in reconciliation by accepting His free unmerited gift. This is done through belief that forgiveness has occurred, that Christ took the punishment that we deserve. There is nothing we can do in the flesh to earn or add to it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We literally miss the point of the cross if we are asking for forgiveness, believing we are not yet forgiven unless we ourselves do something in order to make it happen. Not good! We must understand that we play no part in His forgiveness. Have you noticed that nowhere in Paul's thirteen epistles are we told how to get our sins forgiven? Wouldn't that be an important detail for the apostle of the Gentiles to share? Well, he doesn't say it because it had already occurred. What he DOES say however is to believe it. Have faith alone in Christ alone having made it so, and receive the free gift of salvation in doing so. Realizing the outpouring of God’s grace today, rather than struggling with the bondage of covenant law and worrying if we may have forgotten a sin to ask for forgiveness of, is when we can finally find true peace. We can then focus on serving Him, removing ourselves and our iniquities, and share today’s word of reconciliation. It is His righteousness that matters and nothing of ourselves. Our eternal lives are no longer dependent on our performance and failures with sin, but rather our faith in Christ and HIS performance and perfect work completed on the cross on our behalf.
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