Forgiveness of Sins

1 John 1, 2:1-11 


A few years ago when the little one was a few months old, I took the kids to a farmer's market in the town square. It was a way to entertain them and for me to get out of the house and see other grown ups go about their lives. A lady was distributing tracts and she came and started talking to me about salvation. I told her politely that I was a Christian (meaning then that I attend church regularly, believe in Christ's death and resurrection, and pray to God almost daily). She persisted in talking to me and asked me whether I asked for forgiveness of sins. 

Now even before I started this journey of trying to understand God deeper through reading the word of God, this was something I did regularly -- ask for forgiveness of sins. Not in a nitpicking way back then, but atleast generally such as "Lord Jesus please forgive me for all the times I went wrong yesterday/last couple of days". This woman started telling me it was wrong. That I wasn't really a Christian because I didn't believe He had forgiven all my sins past, present and future when He died on the cross if I kept asking for forgiveness. Hmm. By then the baby had started to squirm and fuss and his older brother was getting restless too, so I excused myself hastily. I have thought about the woman and her ideology (or her church's ideology) a few times since then. 

And today, I read this passage. Verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1 struck me as the answer to her questions/allegations(?). Yes, Jesus died to cleanse me from all my sins. Yes, He redeemed me by His blood. But does that mean that when I sin (as I do, literally each day), I need not do anything about it? When I become aware of my sin, what do I do? Verse 9 says I must confess.
Confession involves revealing everything I have done wrong. Not a generic statement like the me of old, but a detailed full blown account of a believer who knows she has gone astray from the path her Saviour would like her to follow. During the course of this confession, I generally say I am sorry, please forgive me. Is it so wrong to ask forgiveness explicitly each time (knowing I need that forgiveness), or is it wrong to not acknowledge my sins at all because I know He purchased my pardon on the cross? 

When, and if in doubt, let us turn our attention to the Lord's prayer: "Forgive us our sins". God looks for a contrite and humble heart and forgives us our sins when we confess them to him. 


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