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Do you need to ask for forgiveness for each sin?

Quick Answer: Do Christians need to ask God for forgiveness? No, a believer does not need to ask for forgiveness for each sin they commit. The phrase “ask forgiveness” or “ask for forgiveness” is not found in any New Testament letter, and for good reason. Remember that Jesus announced from the cross: “It is finished.” Christians are not being forgiven progressively when we ask for it (after all, what if you forget a sin?). No, Christians are totally forgiven people for all time (Hebrews 10:14).

Diving Deeper: All of our sins – past, present, and future – were taken away once for all by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2). Scripture calls you perfect, because you have been made perfectly forgiven and cleansed of all sins for all time (Hebrews 10:14). 

Think about it: How many of your sins were in the future when Christ died? All of them, right? This highlights God’s perspective as He looked down the timeline of our sins and took them all away at once. In fact, Christ’s death is sufficient to take care of all sins committed by the entire world – both in the Old Testament times (Romans 3:25), and today (1 John 2:2, Hebrews 10:14).

Scripture is clear that Jesus died once, because His death was sufficient for all sins, for all time, with no repeat needed (Hebrews 7:27; 1 Peter 3:18). And Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).

Why is it important to realize Jesus is seated? Hebrews tells us that the high priests of the Old Testament could never sit down on the job. The work of making sacrifices for sin was never done, and sins were never really taken away (Hebrews 10:11). However, Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to take away all of our sins once, so He sat down (Hebrews 10:12).

This means you, as a believer, don’t need to ask for forgiveness for each sin you commit, one by one. Instead, you can thank God for the total forgiveness you have in Jesus Christ. Yes, of course, it’s healthy to recognize our wrongdoing. And yes, there are plenty of reasons to turn away from sin and reject it (Romans 6:12; 21). But getting more forgiveness from God is not one of those reasons!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. What have you typically done after you sin? (ask for forgiveness, confess, repent, thank God for forgiveness, etc.) Why?
2. How does the finished work of Christ help us see the difference between simply turning (repentance) and thanking God versus asking for forgiveness (which we already have)?
3. Does not having to ask for forgiveness make you want to sin more? Why or why not?
4. If someone asked you how they should respond after sinning, what would you tell them?

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