Do We Need to Continually Ask for Forgiveness?
When we give our lives to God we confess our rebellion, repent of it, fall on His mercy, ask His forgiveness, and commit to follow Him - we become born again.
After that should we ask forgiveness again?
This essay isn’t an attempt to strain at gnats. There are people who are genuinely concerned about the consequences of having to ask for forgiveness repeatedly.
Here’s an example:
Suppose a Christian asks for forgiveness for sins in the evening when she prays. The next morning she awakens and has a sinful thought of one kind or another or says an unkind word, etc. What if she dies on the way to work without having asked for forgiveness? Is she going to stand before God unforgiven? Should we live our lives in a constant fear that we may miss a final request for forgiveness?
We think not.
To paraphrase Jack Hayford - We have been saved from the punishment of sin; we are being saved from the power of sin; we will be saved from the presence of sin. Through His unfathomable grace and mercy He sees Jesus in us. We believers are in a perpetual state of forgiveness. (Someone say "amen"?)
We are told to confess sin and repent - to be sure. This is admitting that what we’ve done is in direct conflict with the Lord’s will, that we have wrongly chosen our way over His. What is the benefit of daily or hourly confession? It helps bring us to a place where pride is snuffed out by admitting that His will is better than ours, His ways higher than our ways. It is a positive response to the moving of the Holy Spirit. It brings peace. There is nothing but good in confession. And repentance sets our mind to changing, to exiting the road we’re choosing to rejoin Him on The Way.
Is it bad to ask for forgiveness? May it never be! For a lot of us, saying "Please forgive me" is equivalent to saying "I am sorry" which is good medicine always.
But we’d disagree with those who claim that, once we are saved, we don’t get forgiven until we ask for it. We believe that’s a man-imposed burden. We have enough burdens we pile on ourselves, we don’t need another.