The Forgiveness of Sins
There is only one purpose for seeking to have your sins forgiven, and that one purpose is so that you can receive the promise from God, of spending eternity in heaven, and avoid spending eternity in hell. If you don’t believe in heaven and hell, then there is no reason to seek to have your sins forgiven. As a matter of fact, a person who doesn’t believe in heaven and hell, probably doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as sin.
But sin is a reality, (“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23) and sin is what separates us from God, (“But you iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear” Isaiah 59:2) and sin is what prevents us from having any hope of heaven. (“You were at that time, separate from Christ.. strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” Ephesians 2:12)
Since there will obviously be no sin in heaven, we must get rid of our sins while we live this life. And God has made that possible, through the sacrifice of Jesus, who is the Christ. The “Christ” means.. “the chosen one”. He was chosen by God to become the sacrifice for sins. The sacrifice of Jesus was a “gift” to mankind. (“For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God..” Ephesians 2:8)
The sacrifice of Jesus is that gift. Jesus paid the “price” for our sins. (“For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” 1 Corinthians 6:20) But just because Jesus has paid the “price”, that doesn’t mean that everyone is forgiven of their sins. The price has been paid, and the gift has been offered, but there are things we must do, in order to “receive” the gift.
Jesus tells us several things which we must do, in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins, and to receive the promise of eternal life.
Jesus said in John 8:24; “For unless you believe that I am He (the Christ) you will die in your sins.” That’s the first thing we must do, believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He has paid the price for our sins, and that He can save us from our sins.
Here’s the next thing we must do; Jesus said in Mathew 10:32-33; “Everyone therefore who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” So then we must be willing to confess openly, our faith in Jesus, or He will deny us, and we will have rejected the gift of salvation.
Here’s the next step; Jesus said in Luke 13:3; “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Pretty plain and straightforward. We must repent of our sins, if we expect God to forgive those sins. Acts 17:30 tells us; “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance (before God revealed His will through Jesus Christ) God is now declaring that all men everywhere should repent.”
The definition of “repent”, is.. “to turn again”. We have already turned away from God and have sinned. (Remember Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned..”) And now, if we want to be forgiven of our sins, we must “turn again”. This time we’re turning back to God, and away from sin. We need to make up our minds that we’re not going to keep sinning. If we just go right back and sin again, then we really haven’t repented in the first place.
This is such an important part of becoming a Christian. We truly need to make the decision that we are NOT going to keep sinning, like we use to do. We’ve got to change our life. We’ve got to change our habits. We’ve got to follow the bible, because the bible is God’s word for us. It’s God’s instructions for us, telling us how to live. It tells us what’s moral, and what’s immoral. It tells us to be humble, not proud. It tells us to put other people before ourselves. It tells us to forgive others, or forfeit our own forgiveness.
One last step to take, after we have believed, and after we’re willing to confess Christ, and after we’ve truly repented of our sin. The final step that we need to take before God will forgive our sins, is to be baptized. Baptism is for the very purpose of having our sins washed away. We’re told in Acts 22:16; “And now, why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on Him.” (Calling on Jesus Christ)
We’re told in Acts 2:38; “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The “gift” spoken of, is the promise of eternal life in heaven. That’s what we’re told in 1 John 2:25; “And this is the promise that He Himself has promised us; Eternal Life.”
We receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, by believing in Jesus, and by confessing His name, and by repenting of our sins, and by being baptized for the forgiveness of those sins. Then, God adds us to His kingdom, which men call the church. Christ died for only one church. And that one church is the “body” of the saved. “He is also the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:18) Those who receive the gift of salvation, by obeying the words of Jesus Christ, are added, by God Himself, to His one church, which is also the kingdom of God. (Colossians 1:13)
May God bless you in your journey to eternity.