If God sent his only begotten son to the world to forgive us, and all our transgressions have been cast as far as the east is from the west, it isn’t unreasonable to ask why we need ask forgiveness any longer. If we accepted Jesus and go to church, isn’t that good enough? Or maybe we don’t even need to go to church, because after all, we’ve been forgiven, right?
It isn’t immediately obvious why, if we have been forgiven, we must continue to ask God for forgiveness. I view such matters as having two perspectives to them, or two focuses that make them important. The first is on how our asking forgiveness affects God and his response to us. The second is simply how the act affects us.
First, we know that we are to confess our sins in order to be forgiven. It is not enough to have been “saved” in some past instance, but we must continue to repent when we sin. If we have transgressed against God, we need to ask his forgiveness, which he will continue to extend to us. The key is repentance. To repent means literally to change, and it is important that we change if we are to be forgiven. If we refuse to change, or to confess, or to ask forgiveness, God will simply not hear us.
Yes, God forgives us. He forgave us over two thousand years ago through the acts of Jesus, and what I find even more amazing, he continues to forgive the sins we commit after we become Christian. Years after we accept Jesus into our lives, if we sin, he forgives even that. But we must continue to pick up our cross daily, to continue to ask his forgiveness when we continue to sin, and to repent.
On the other side of the discussion is how the request for forgiveness affects us. I feel that such confession and request is a very humbling act, and that such humility before God is certainly not a bad thing. It reminds us to submit to God, to place ourselves in an appropriate posture before his throne, and that we are dependent on his love, provision, patience, sovereignty, and forgiveness. A contrite heart is what God desires, and the act of asking forgiveness helps create that heart in us.
Next week, I might focus on the five dependencies I mentioned in the last paragraph. Until then, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me.