Forgiveness

This entry is part 145 of 323 in the series Inquiring Minds

Is there something a Christian must do after God forgives them?

When God forgives us, there are a few things that we do as Christians. But I must note the attitude with which we do them. We don’t do these things to gain his acceptance forgiveness. We already have it.

Asking for God’s forgiveness is a way to draw close to him. If we sin against God separation sets in. We feel the silence of that separation. To restore complete relationship with God, we ask forgiveness for our sin.

This is not a futile exercise. Just as we needed God’s forgiveness the very first time we became Christians, we need it any time that we sin against him. The spiritual principle of the separation of sin in a relationship does not change.

But we also don’t lose our status as his children. Sin separates in the relationship but the relationship still exists. So asking forgiveness is all about regaining the closeness and drawing near to God rather than trying to gain something we already have.

When we ask for forgiveness, God readily gives it. First John 1:6-10 teaches us that sin for the Christian must be momentary instead of continuous. We can’t walk in sin and have fellowship with God (1 John 1:6). John uses the image of light and darkness to explain the difference between momentary and continuous sin (1 John 1:7).

Walking in the light, and fellowship with God give us the constant protection of the blood of Jesus. John does not mean that we have sin all the time (1 John 1:8). The truth is that we may sin from time to time. But it must not be a regular occurrence or a continuous lifestyle.

First John 1:9 gives us the promise that when we confess our sins Jesus always forgives us. But when we sin and do not confess, saying that we don’t have any sin when we do, God’s truth is not in us (1 John 1:10).

After we confess our sins, Jesus forgives us. And this leaves us with three things to do. First, we trust the promise that Jesus forgives us whether we feel it or not. In some cases Christians trust their feelings instead of the Word of God. You are forgiven when you confess. Trust the truth of God’s word and his promise and rest in the peace of his forgiveness.

Next, after stumbling in momentary sin, get up and walk with Jesus. Run the race that he has laid out for you. Continue to walk in his piece and forgiveness. Advance in your relationship with him through prayer, reading the Bible, and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Last, obey the Holy Spirit every time he speaks to you. Only through obedience can we grow in our faith and our character can be challenged and changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit. When we obey him, we continue to walk in holiness with Jesus and enjoy relationship with him in his presence. These are the things Christians can do when God forgives them.

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