Living the Christian Life – Chapter 8: To Repent and to Be Forgiven

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries6 Minutes

“Well, that sounds nice and religious,” you might say, “but I still sin.” You may feel like the person the apostle Paul described again later in Romans 7:24 “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”

But Paul answers his own question in the very next verse: “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25 NLT).

Yes, every Christian sins from time to time, but that doesn’t change our position with God. Sin can hinder our relationship with our Heavenly Father, but if you have faith in Christ, it cannot break that bond permanently.

Again, this is very Good News.

Now, that’s not to say that sin isn’t harmful to us. There are consequences to every action in this life. We don’t want to continue too long in our sin. In order to keep close and intimate fellowship with God, we need to repent of our sin and ask God for forgiveness. To repent is to turn from sin. In the original Biblical language, the word repent means “to change your mind” and it implies regret or remorse for your deeds.

This concept is so important that Jesus began his public ministry with a call to “repent.” (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15) Scripture gives a truly remarkable promise regarding the act of repentance.

“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT).

This is a double blessing. First, if we humbly confess our sins to God, He promises to forgive those sins. Then He gives us the blanket forgiveness of any sin we have knowingly or unknowingly committed, but may have forgotten. God extends this grace and mercy both because of His great love and also because of the power of the blood of Jesus.

You may feel guilty after committing a sin, but when you confess that sin and turn away from it, the Bible promises that you are once again clean in the eyes of the Lord. Here is another amazing promise from Scripture: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NLT).

If you confess your sin you are forgiven for all sin—and there is now no condemnation from God. As long as it is “now,” there is no condemnation. And it is always “now”!

You may be thinking, “But what if I forget to confess my sin, and I die in an accident. Am I going to hell because of that sin?”

The answer is no. While man may look on the exterior, God looks on the heart. Our salvation is based on our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross—not on whether every sin we ever did has been confessed.

If you have faith in Jesus as your Lord, then He is your Savior—forever!

God Forgives and Forgets

“But you don’t know the bad things that I’ve done,” you may say with a guilty conscience. If you have confessed those sins and placed your trust in Christ to forgive and save you, then you are free from the mistakes of the past in God’s eyes. This is His promise to you:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has
passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).

Any time you start to feel guilty or condemned for past sins, you need to say this promise out loud. Make it a declaration for yourself: “I am a new creation in Christ. The old has passed away, and the new has come!”

Are you still having difficulty comprehending the love and mercy of our God? Check out this promise from the Bible:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies
never come to an end; they are new every morning; great
is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).

Every morning when you wake, no matter how you may be feeling, this is another promise to declare over yourself. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ends in my life. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness to me!”