Question #1: I know at salvation I am forgiven, but now I must confess my sin and repent…Right?!?
Confession and acknowledgement of our sin is an essential part of a believer’s conversion.
After we’ve been saved, is confession of every sin required to continue in that forgiveness?
Every action, thought, word, and attitude required a sacrifice in the Old Testament. If repentance is a requirement, the same standard of perfection holds true. We must specifically repent of each sinful action, word, thought, and attitude. Missing even one would break God’s standard; just as not sacrificing for even a single sin broke the covenant.
Catch that? You can’t miss even a single sinful thought! The requirement is perfection!
For us to utter a prayer such as, ”God, forgive me for all my sins”; just won’t cut it.
Let’s give some flesh to this idea. Imagine if every night I pray and ask God to forgive me for all my sins, and try to name them to the best of my ability. I go to sleep each night forgiven. The next day, I wake up, go to school, and in the course of the day, sin. On my way home, a bus runs me over, and I die. I have not confessed my sin for the day. Do I go to hell?
If repentance is a requirement, the answer would be yes. But that sounds absurd.
Listen to the words of Charles Spurgeon: “Repentance will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look to Christ for repentance.”
Is repentance a valuable part of our relationship with God? Yes.
A requirement for forgiveness? No.
If it is, we achieve heaven by Jesus + repenting of every sin. Any work, even a good one, added to Jesus changes the message of the gospel. (the apostle Paul’s words not mine – Gal.1:6)
Grace is bigger than our attempts to confess sin. Repentance is a healthy response when God convicts us of sin, one that shows our desire to change and be more like Him.
Think of our relationships in life. We are not required to apologize or say “I’m sorry” when we hurt someone. But, on the basis of love we desire to. Our apology comes with a desire to change and no longer hurt the one we love.
This does not give us an excuse to sin or do away with obedience. Our obedience never earned us the love of God, it has always been our response to a love that we already have.
God still desires us to make holiness our goal. It is the vision or target we set before us. In our Christian lives, we should move closer to this goal.
Our response of gratitude focuses our eyes on this standard of Christ-likeness. It becomes our goal to grow more like him as we love and serve him.
Repentance of every sin by name is not a requirement to enter heaven. Jesus settled that one.
Repentance flows from relationship and desiring to be more like the one we love. By all means, do it!
– If you want to explore grace as a small group or on your own, Death of the Modern SuperHero: How Grace Breaks our Rules comes with discussion questions and is read and studied in groups all over the world.
Take a Look and pass them on to others who would benefit!