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 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 a 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 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 teaches a man assisted system of believers asking God for forgiveness in order to active 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 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 Christians or unbelievers, but in context he is addressing the just the unbeliever, and verse 9 and simply sharing the gospel and telling them if they confess their sins the 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 of 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 any one 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’ as a prerequisite for a Christians receiving of 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 completely forgiven. Big and small sins remembered no more. Few or many sins 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 grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.