The Definition of Asking Forgiveness According To God’s Word
A friend of mine was told by a church leader to google information about forgiveness of sin. When I read my friends text I was furious at the leader who told him to google the information. So we have replaced the Bible with google? The Bible will give you only one answer and it will be true. Searching google will give you everyone’s opinions and some will give Scripture but out of context. My friends question was concerning if a Christian needs to ask for forgiveness of sins if all sins were forgiven at the time of salvation. Someone in his men’s class said that you only have to admit your sins to be forgiven. That is partially right.
You’ve heard me say this many times but let me remind you one more time that salvation is a process. We have been justified, we are being sanctified and we will be glorified. Justification was when we were saved and all of our sins, past, present and future were forgiven. When we were justified we never have to worry about God condemning us to hell. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That is judicial forgiveness. Sanctification is our present state where God through the Holy Spirit is making us into the image of His Son Jesus. Our sins even though they have been forgiven judicially, retard the sanctification which is ongoing as long as we are alive on earth.
For a Christian to Admit their sin is a partial act of asking for forgiveness because confession means to admit. 1 John 1:9 which was given to Christians says, “If we confess (admit) our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In my opinion a Christian admitting, confessing and asking forgiveness is a package. If I said, “Father I have sinned” that is admitting but why not go all the way and ask for forgiveness? It’s not the words you speak from the mouth but from the heart. The model prayer sometimes called “The Lord’s Prayer says this: “And forgive us our sins: for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” That sounds to me like we are to ask for forgiveness. Of course the nay sayers will say that is Old Testament but that doesn’t change a thing.
Let me try to make a little clearer. There are two kinds of forgiveness...judicial forgiveness. The forgiveness that was purchased in full by the atonement that Jesus Christ rendered on our behalf. That kind of forgiveness frees us from the threat of eternal punishment, eternal condemnation and that's why those who are in Christ Jesus are not under condemnation, Romans 8:1. It is the forgiveness of justification.
But then there's not just the judicial, there's the paternal forgiveness. This is granted by God not as judge, but as father. He is still grieved when His children sin. Yes we are justified, but He also wants us to be sanctified, to be conformed to the image of Christ. He is pleased with that justification. He is displeased with the breach of sanctification. Forgiveness of justification takes care of judicial guilt, but it does not eliminate fatherly displeasure. We have been delivered from the penalty of sin by justification, but we haven't been delivered from the presence and the consequences of sin in this life. That is an on-going process and that's why we are always confessing and always being forgiven and being cleansed. Your justification is a fixed and settled reality. Your sanctification ebbs and flows, up and downs, back and forth dependent on how you deal with the sin in your life. You are covered with the righteousness of Christ that pleases God and settles the issue of your eternity. In terms of punishment, there never will be any. But the sin in your life, in your humanness, displeases the loving Father, retards your sanctification which also displeases Him and muddies up the image of Christ which you and I are to manifest. There are consequences for unforgiven sin. Just as an earthly father will correct his son, so will our heavenly Father correct His children.
I have heard of criminals confessing or admitting their crime without any sorrow or remorse for what they did. I was told by a judge many years ago that she not only wanted to hear a confession but also remorse from those who are guilty. Earthly fathers like to see remorse in their children after they have done wrong. Don’t you think our Heavenly Father wants to see and hear remorse to. So in conclusion, I see that we can admit or confess to something without any remorse but when we admit and confess with sorrow by asking forgiveness that is a package deal. When I got saved I admitted (confessed) that I was a sinner and then I asked God to forgive me. That was judicial forgiveness but I practice the same thing in the same way in paternal forgiveness. God Bless