We have seen above that believers are capable of committing sin as receiving Christ into our lives does not automatically take us out of our corrupt mortal bodies. Now, should believers repent when they do sin? Yes! There are those that preach that when we sin, it is of no consequence and if we ask God for forgiveness, we are being “sin conscious”. They claim that God has forgiven all our future sins and only sees His righteousness when He looks at us. This is not true. True believers are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We are also hid in Christ. However, NOTHING is hidden from God (Heb 4:11-13). Our sins are forgiven, only if we confess (acknowledge) and repent of them. 1John 1:9 which says that IF we confess our sins, He will forgive us, wasn’t addressing unbelievers. Even the Lord’s Prayer indicates that we are to ask for forgiveness of sins. Jesus himself instructed Peter to repent in Luke 22:32 and Peter asks Simon, a professing believer, to ask for forgiveness in Acts 8:22. Several other verses of scripture direct believers to repent of known sins, confess them and ask for God’s forgiveness. Why would there be so much talk in the New Testament about repentance, confession and forgiveness of sin if God had already forgiven the future sins of these early believers? Surely, there would have been no mention of their sins if it were so!
We must be careful not to let wrong teaching cause problems for us. A heart that cannot recognise or isn’t sorrowful over sin is in trouble because God won’t forgive a sin for which forgiveness is never asked! This means that those who have let pride make them feel they no longer need to ask for forgiveness are in a dangerous place. Many of us professing Christians are already at this point and we don’t even know it!
In teaching about God’s grace, we must never downplay the dangers of sin. God loves us even when we make mistakes but He yearns for us to have tender consciences and hearts which have not been seared by sin and which are humble enough to run to Him when we miss it. When we begin to justify or ignore sin, there’s a problem. True believers may sin but are quick to repent. They recognize and hate sin. We must never ever be indifferent to sin. One may ask, “What about sin that we committed without realizing we had sinned? How do we ask for forgiveness for those?” Well, I believe that when we walk in obedience, the Holy Spirit sometimes points out our faults to us. Beyond that, 1John 1:9 says He will cleanse of ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS if we confess our sins! That’s all the reassurance we need to not live in the fear or guilt that we have some un-confessed sin lurking in the shadows somewhere.
Thank God for our merciful and ever loving father who has made provision for our forgiveness through the precious blood of Christ.