Forgiveness: There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Ask

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. – Romans 3:21-24

When you confess your sin to God, he does not rub it in; he wipes it out!

But, there’s a right way and a wrong way to ask for forgiveness. Let me tell you the wrong way.

First, don’t beg. God wants to forgive you more than you want to ask for it. You’re not waiting on God; he’s waiting on you.

Second, don’t bargain. Bargaining is saying, “God, if you will forgive me, I will never do this again!” If that’s your area of weakness, you will be back in that area of sin in a matter of hours or days. Don’t bargain with God and say, “I’ll never do it again,” because you will.

Third, don’t bribe. Bribing is saying, “God, if you’ll just forgive me for this, I will …” You’ll go to church every week. You will read your Bible every day. You will tithe 15 … 20 percent! But God doesn’t want or need your bribe.

So what do you do?

You don’t beg, bargain, or bribe. You just believe.

You believe the many promises of God that tell you if you confess your sins, he will forgive your sins. Period.

Another great verse of promise is Romans 3:24: “Yet now God declares us ‘not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sin” (LB).

I know what some of you are thinking: “Rick, you don’t know what I’ve done.” And you’re right. I don’t know what you’ve done. I don’t need to know what you’ve done. But I can tell you this: It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.

Your forgiveness is not based on how little or how much you’ve sinned. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. What matters is what Jesus has done for you. That’s what the cross is all about! When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant it. It’s done. The price has been paid. You can be forgiven today.

Talk It Over

  • Why do you think God wants you to confess your sin when he already knows everything you’ve done?

– Rick Warren, Daily Hope

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