How many times will God forgive you? What if you keep making the same mistake over and over? Will He keep forgiving a repeated sin? What if you do it intentionally and deliberately? How many times can we ask forgiveness? The answers to these questions might surprise you.
How many times will God forgive you? Once. God has forgiven you ONE time, for ALL your sin. God forgave the sin of the entire world one time through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. All your sin- past, present, and future has been totally forgiven and removed.
But what if you keep sinning? Keep making the same mistake? It doesn’t matter. You are forgiven.
There is no need to wonder whether or not He will forgive you because He already has, before you ever asked. This is such good news. Sin is no longer an issue when it comes to your relationship with God. It has been completely obliterated at the cross. Your sin has been totally removed, as if you had never committed it.
How Do You Ask God For Forgiveness?
When you first realize who Jesus Christ is and what He has done, acknowledging that you are in need of forgiveness is important. 1 John 1:9 tells us:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
This verse is talking to people who have never acknowledged their need of forgiveness before. When you first understand that Jesus was God in the flesh who gave his life for you, acknowledging that you have messed up and need forgiveness is appropriate.
He is faithful to the work of His Son to forgive you and cleanse you. Once you are cleansed, there is no longer a need to keep confessing that you are a sinner. In fact, once you have been cleansed and forgiven, you are no longer a sinner- you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
…But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
After your initial born again experience, begging God to forgive you doesn’t really make sense because He’s already done it. Simply acknowledging that you messed up in your actions and receiving His forgiveness is sufficient. Your sins are forgiven- just receive this truth. There’s no need to keep asking. When I mess up, my conversation with God looks something like this:
“Oh my goodness, I really messed up. Thank you Father that you have forgiven me. Thank you that Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin and I am totally forgiven. I am the righteousness of God in Christ because of the blood of Jesus. Thank You Jesus!”
Jesus Was the Final Sacrifice for Sin
Millions of people around the world continue to make sacrifices to false gods. Entire religions and people groups are unaware that the final sacrifice for sin has been made and they can be free from the guilt and condemnation of their sin.
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, Hebrews 10:12
An even larger number of people believe that the sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t enough, that they must also suffer for their sins. People are doing grotesque things to harm themselves and do penance including whipping themselves, crawling on broken glass, even crucifying themselves.
To a lesser degree, many people think that when they mess up, they must do penance in the form of feeling guilty for a few days, spend an extra hour praying or reading their Bible, or give extra in the offering. The motive is the same- believing that the sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t enough and we must atone for our own sin. This is insulting to the work that Jesus did.
Jesus has borne your punishment and suffering once for all. There remains no more sacrifice for sin. There is no need to punish yourself. There is no need to continue in guilt and shame. Jesus has taken the punishment, guilt and shame for you. Now that is serious love.
What If We Sin Willfully? Does God Forgive Deliberate Sin?
Many people are confused by Hebrews 10:26 which says
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Does this mean that if we sin intentionally that we won’t be forgiven? Absolutely not. The majority of sinful actions we commit are willfully. This interpretation would not be in line with the rest of scripture. The gospel is good news. If it’s not good news- it’s not the gospel.
“For if we sin willfully” in this verse is talking about rejecting Jesus as the final sacrifice for sin. If we reject the salvation that Jesus offers after receiving knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice for sins. He is the only way to receive forgiveness and right standing with God.
What Are The Sins God Will Not Forgive You For?
Were you taught that there are certain sins God won’t forgive? Suicide? Homosexuality? Adultery? Frankly, this is such an insult to the work and blood of Jesus Christ. ALL sin has been forgiven. Including those listed above.
So am I saying we can just go out and live our lives in sin because we are already forgiven ? This is the same question they asked Paul in Galatians.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6:1
His response was:
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:2
What he’s saying is that it’s impossible to continue in sin if you’re truly born again because you have a new nature that doesn’t want to sin. As you continue in the Word and revelation of your new identity, those sins will fall off like dead leaves. You no longer have a sin nature to feed those behaviors. They will dry up, guaranteed.
All sin has been forgiven. God will never abandon you when you mess up. In fact, He will remind you that you are still righteous in His eyes regardless of your actions. It seems counter intuitive, but reminding you of who you really are is the power that will overcome bad behaviors. You will act like what you believe you are.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7
If you have an unhealthy behavior that you want rid of, keep focusing on the fact that you are forgiven and righteous at your core. This righteousness is a gift, and will never be taken away. It is your identity forever.
What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?
You may have heard of the “unpardonable sin” or “unforgivable sin”. This term comes from Jesus’s words in Matthew 12.
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32
You may wonder if you’ve somehow committed this. Let me put your worries to rest. If you are a born again believer, you have NOT committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus and convicts the world of their need of Him. Continually rejecting the Holy Spirit’s witness of Jesus is what is referred to as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It cannot be forgiven, because believing on Jesus is the only way to receive forgiveness of sin.
Do not allow the devil to torment you with lies that say you have somehow blasphemed the Holy Spirit. If you have accepted Jesus and been born again, it is impossible for you to commit this sin. You are the very righteousness of God in Christ!
For more about who you are in Christ, read What Does it Mean to be a New Creation?