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Why Christians Don’t ‘Need’ to Ask For Forgiveness

When Christians ask for forgiveness of sins to initiate forgiveness it really is no different than sacrificing bulls & goats for the removal of sin.

I’m not suggesting that confessing sins to God is bad. Heck, I do it all the time. It’s also not necessarily wrong to ask for forgiveness, but it is wrong if you ask because you don’t think you already have it.  I’m all about confessing my sins to God, but not so I can be forgiven. I’m already forgiven, and confession is just part of the normal Christian life. But those that teach that it’s a requirement or a commandment to ‘ask for forgiveness’ in order to get forgiven or restore fellowship with God are way off base and it’s not biblical, and nor does it make anyone more godly and/or close to God.

It’s perfectly normal to hate sin. It’s perfectly normal to be disappointed when we struggle with sin. It’s perfectly normal avoid sin. But, it’s not perfectly normal to think believers must ‘ask for forgiveness’ over and over before we are forgiven of sins.

Ponder this. The book of Hebrews writes to Jewish people who heard about Jesus and His work on the cross for the propitiation of sins. But when those same Jewish people sinned many of them would keep running back to the temple to sacrifice animals for God’s forgiveness. It was their ‘just in case’ safety net. The reality is they didn’t actually believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross and so they would go back to a human system that they trusted was the real solution.

So when believers, out of necessity, ‘ask God for forgiveness’ we are really saying we are not already forgiven and our human effort, or in this case, our words are what initiate our continued forgiveness.  If you teach the theology that you must ‘ask for forgiveness’ to activate it, then how is it any different than the Hebrews running back to the temple for animal sacrifices? You clearly would be saying that hearing and believing with faith is not enough, and you need to sort of help God out and re-activate His forgiveness over and over.

The real question is where do we get our forgiveness from? The blood of Jesus, or words? Maybe you say we need both. 2,000 years ago the debate was are we forgiven by the blood of Christ or the temple sacrifices. Fast forward to today and the debate is ‘do we receive forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus or by our words’. If by our words, then what would happen if you didn’t confess a sin? This ‘confess and ask for forgiveness’ theology would suggest that hell would be our destination for unconfessed sin.  So what happens if you forget to confess a sin? You can’t teach that confessing and asking for forgiveness are required for cleansing of sins and then turn around and say you won’t go the hell if you forget to confess a sin. Sorry, that’s double-minded thinking, and what you’re really doing is exactly what the religious leaders did 2,000 years ago did – and that’s adding rules around rules.

This confusion comes from a single verse in the bible – 1 John 1:9. Interestingly enough there are no other verses that teach a man-assisted system of believers asking God for forgiveness in order to activate His promise. If 1 John 1:9 meant what many people think it does then we have to ask why didn’t Paul, James or anyone else write about it? Wouldn’t that be a really big deal? Of course, it would. The truth is that 1 John 1:9 has been severely distorted by religion and has caused all kinds of man-made theologies to be built from it. Let look:

[1 John 1:9] If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just and will FORGIVE us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Left alone that verse can be applied to Christians or unbelievers, but in context, he is addressing just the unbeliever, and verse 9 simply sharing the gospel and telling them if they confess their sins then God will forgive them. Note: verse 9 says God cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness, not just some. 1 John 1 is only 10 verses long, and the author starts off by trying to prove Jesus really was raised from the dead. He uses several sensory words like we ‘heard’ Him, ‘touched’ Him, ‘saw’ Him. In other words, he is saying “believe us, we are witnesses”. And to best understand verse 9 we merely need to look at verses 8 & 10.

Verse 8: “If we say that we have NO SIN, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is NOT in us.”

Who is the truth not in? The truth is Jesus, and He’s not in unbelievers. In fact, in the very next chapter speaking to believers he says ‘the truth abides in you’.

Then verse 9 offers the solution to unbelievers as it shares the gospel. And if anyone rejects verse 9, then verse 10 is the result.

Verse 10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is NOT in us.

Who says they have NOT sinned? Unbelievers. Who is His word not in? Unbelievers. 1 Cor 3:16 tells us the “Spirit of God lives in us”.   So which is it? The fact is the truth is in believers, and 1 John 1:8,10 describes people without the truth in them.

There’s a huge difference is remorse/repentance and this idea of having to ask before we are forgiven. I’m sure some godly people ask because of their remorse, and not because they are trying to activate what they know they already have. But if anyone teaches that ‘asking’ is a prerequisite for a Christian receiving forgiveness then they truly are not teaching anything greater than animal sacrifices. The gospel message leaves no room for human effort or human boasting. It’s 100% free, by faith, and it doesn’t change after we get saved.

Yes, do repent from sins. Yes, do feel sorry about them and share your remorse with God. But more than anything know that when Jesus died on that cross it was everything the believer will ever need. Past, present, and future sins are completely forgiven. Big and small sins are remembered no more. Few and many sins were removed from the record books. Why? Because what the law could not do, God did!

[Romans 8:3] For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of  sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

Author: Mike Cynar

Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.

It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.


  • Talent Posted June 3, 2022 7:44 pm

    Powerful! Thank you for sharing the True Gospel.

  • Paul Posted January 20, 2023 3:10 pm

    How does this tie in to the Lord’s prayer regarding forgive us our debts…?

    • Mike Cynar Posted January 20, 2023 5:08 pm

      People REALLY miss the context of the Lord’s prayer.

      It’s a death sentence!

      He’s talking to JEWS, who are chasing after the law.

      This prayer would have offended the audience.

      “Forgive our debtor JUST as WE forgive others”

      That’s not the gospel. We have forgiveness.

      Under this prayer, you only get as much forgiveness as you dole out. If you fail to forgive someone, you get hell. Eternal punishment.

      How about vs 14?

      “For IF you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”.

      So, they get conditional forgiveness. And no Christian would EVER hear vs 15.

      “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will NOT forgive your sins.”

      That’s works-based salvation. We are saved by grace. A gift.

      It’s all part of the sermon on the mount. If you want, see this video I Created proving that this sermon is NOT FOR YOU. It’s for Jews who will soon kill Jesus. The sermon buries them under the true perfect and holy standard of the law. Here’s a link

      • Steve Posted November 28, 2023 10:37 pm

        I think you are incorrect on your views. The sermon on the mount was spoken to all of us. It is not for Jews only. There are many verses that attach behavior to salvation. Those who truly believe and are saved will have the behavior that exemplifies their true belief. The behavior is not the grounds of their salvation, but the effect of it. Heb 12:14 says without holiness no one will see the Lord. The holiness doesn’t save you, but is the behavior that shows you are saved. Same with Mt 6:12,14. Forgiving others doesn’t save us, but is a characteristic of those who are saved. Note that this same forgiveness requirement is repeated in Mark 11:25-26. Same with 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Walking in the light doesn’t save us, but is a characteristic of those who are saved. Rom 8:13 says For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Killing the deeds of the flesh doesn’t save us, but is an evidence we are saved. I can list many many more verses like these. They all show that the believer has a certain character that will be exhibited because he is born again and has Christ in him. These works don’t save him, but show he has true faith and has been born of God.

        • Mike C Posted November 29, 2023 10:12 am

          Re: The sermon on the mount was spoken to all of us.

          This statement reflects surprise and certainty about the composition of the audience Jesus was addressing, emphasizing the Jewish context of his teachings. It suggests that the references to laws, the Sanhedrin, and animal sacrifices are indicative of a Jewish audience. The letter seems to be clearly emphasizing that Jesus’ teachings were aimed at clarifying and elevating Jewish law to its true, perfect, and holy form.

          Generally, it’s understood that individuals who are saved often exhibit changes in their behavior. However, the notion that this transformation is universal and immediate is highly flawed. If such a change were automatic, there would be no need for scriptural admonitions against sin or calls for living a godly life. This idea overlooks the complexities of human nature and spiritual growth. For instance, the Apostle James acknowledges that we all stumble in many ways, and the Apostle Paul talks about struggling with his own actions, sometimes failing to do what he knows he should do, and doing what he knows he shouldn’t. This is further exemplified by the behaviors of the Corinthians mentioned in the scriptures.

          The fact is, unbelievers are quite capable of having a very impressive outward performance record, while at the same time, all we need to do is look at 1 Corinthians, and we can see the believers are quite capable of doing rather stupid things, including orgies, drunkenness, and abusing the Lord supper.

          The notion that Christians are immune to stumbling and making poor choices, including sinning, is simply not accurate. It’s important to remember that while we are indeed called to avoid sin and strive for good deeds, this doesn’t negate the reality of human imperfection (including Christians). We are still in the flesh, and the flesh is weak, and is often times, deceived by the evil one to lead us to making very bad choices. I am not disagreeing with what our Lord has called us to do, I’m disagreeing with your non-biblical description of salvation.

          Re: You wrote ‘Heb 12:14 says without holiness no one will see the Lord’.

          I would lovingly encourage you to be very careful with how you’re translating the word of God.

          Heb 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord”

          We are to pursue peace with all people, and we are also to pursue a holiness, which if we don’t have, we will not see the Lord. This holiness is not referring to your outward behavior. It is referring to our inward self. The word Holy means to be set apart. And while we should set our behavior apart, the context of Hebrews is talking about God setting us apart for Himself. So the context is referring to pursuing Jesus, through faith, which, when we do that, God will set us apart for himself. It is by grace he has saved us, not of ourselves, it is a gift.

          If you read the first 10 chapters of Hebrews, you will not find a single instance or mention of outward sin. The ONLY type of sin mentioned is inward. And it is specifically the sin of unbelief. Now, we see the context in the very next verse,

          Hebrews 12:15 ‘See to it that no one comes short of the GRACE of God’

          This grace is not something we earn through avoiding sin. God’s grace is a gift. If that were the case, that would be works based to Grace. It is not run by works. God’s grace is gift, so nobody can boast. Are we called to avoid sexual immorality, lying cheating, and stealing? Absolutely. If we stupidly commit those acts well God remove his grace from us? Absolutely not. And to teach otherwise is a massive misunderstanding of the gospel. My friend, I guess I’m saying you’re not ready for me, it should remain on milk and just focus on the cross before you start teaching.

          Re: Mt 6:12,14. Forgiving others doesn’t save us, but is a characteristic of those who are saved.

          You are citing a sermon presented for Jewish people who are chasing after the law for salvation. Indeed, under the law, if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven. But I challenge you to find a single verse after the cross that teaches that unforgiveness will result in God not forgiving us. In fact, it is the exact opposite than what we read going forward is forgive others, JUST AS we have been forgiven – Eph 4:32, Col 3;13. In other words, you have been lavished with Grace, Sins taken away, Remembered no more. And the teaching is for us to pass on to others what has been given to us.

          As for John 1:7 you should pay close attention to the word ALL. Jesus does not cleanse us of some sin. Not just the ones we repent of. Not just the ones we asked to be forgiven. Not just a little ones. He cleanses us of ALL sin.

          Re: Rom 8:13 says For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

          Again, you have missed the context. 100% of Christians live in the Spirit. ‘Living in the flesh’ is not referring to behavior. This verse is referring to our identity. Christ lives in us, and we live in him. This identity doesn’t change when a Christian starts making stupid choices (sinning). You are either living in the spirit (a Christian,), or you are living in the flesh (dead in Adam). But you’re not bouncing back-and-forth.

          I’m beginning to wonder if you truly trust Jesus for your salvation. Your view of the Scriptures seems to strongly suggest that you believe salvation is acquired through human effort. You seem to have a massive focus on human performance, and yet I see very little affection for Jesus. I would point out, that, using your own words, you did not even mention Jesus’s name one time. Yes, his name came up one time in a verse that you shared, but you did not even mention his name in your own commentary. But you had a lot to say about your performance.

          And let’s cut to the chase. If you’re saying that a Christians do not sin (as proof of their salvation) what you are saying is the proof of our salvation is that we keep the law. I.e., not lying, not stealing, not committing adultery. This is not semantics. You are 100% abandoning faith in Jesus for salvation, and grabbing onto the mosaic law as the evidence that a Christian has inherited the spirit of Jesus and eternal life.

          I want to leave you with a couple verses that I think you should really start to pay attention to:

          I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through THE LAW, Christ died for nothing! [Galatians 2:21]

          Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does NOT WORK but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. [Romans 4:4]

          For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT of yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT of works, lest anyone should boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]

  • Melissa Posted June 5, 2023 1:49 pm

    If you read 1 John 2:12-14 you will see that it was written to churches, believers. It was not written to unbelievers at all.

    • Mike C Posted June 5, 2023 3:43 pm

      Indeed, 1 John 2:12-14 is written to believers. That is not the verses we would be debating.

      Hopefully we can agree that writers address both believers and unbelievers. No doubt they have a heart for the lost.

      In other words, as people hear this message, they need to consider the expression “if the shoe fits wear it”.

      I don’t think you have to commit intellectual suicide to agree that chapter 1 is addressing the group who may or may not believe.

      There would be absolutely no reason for me to tell a Christian that the truth is not in them. I do not believe there is a single Christian who claims they are without sin. There may be people that claim that, but they are liars, and the truth is not in them. So again, this portion of the letter is talking to the entire group. And later will go on to address a specific group. Believers.

      Lastly, if the method of receiving forgiveness or to confess sin by sin, then, not only would you see it littered through the Scriptures, which we do not, but that would also mean if we failed to ‘confess’ a certain sin then we would then become unforgiven.

      This is where are your argument will fall apart. Because otherwise what you would be suggesting, is that salvation is partially a result of our words, and if we fail to use them correctly, one day, our salvation is revoked. You now would be promoting a workspace salvation.

      Now, I know some people want to say, we don’t remember them all, so we just ask God to remind us or something like that that we don’t read in the Scriptures. The truth is, if you teach salvation, any other way than faith, you begin destroying the gospel, and it gets really muddy from there. And that is exactly what you’re doing when you say, if you commit a sin, you’re not forgiven until you confess it. I think it’s double talk to suggest that the blood of Christ cannot be activated until you confess it in every individual sin. And again, if that were actually how the process worked, you wouldn’t be stuck with one verse in one chapter to make the case.

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