I heard a sermon by Louie Giglio that has stuck with me called “Prayer: Remix“. It was about a handful of common prayers that people pray that are, well, pointless in his opinion. One of them was the prayer of Christians asking for forgiveness after they have already been forgiven.
I hear this all the time. It’s almost always 1 John 1:9 quoted. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
But if we are already forgiven, why do we need to ask for forgiveness?
Is there, perhaps, a better prayer than this one?
Why do you think people feel the need to keep asking for it?
13 thoughts on “forgive me for this post”
As a sociology major my answer is… There is comfort in ritual.
I suppose we are not required to confess to be forgiven, but our confession shows God that we don’t intend to continue sinning as it hurts him.
Mama, you’re right. but as a Religious Studies major, I’d have to remind you that YHWH isn’t a big fan of empty rituals. Rituals=good. Meaningless rituals=bad. Si? No?
Casey, I’m with ya on confession. I’d say that confession (followed by repentance) would be a better combo.
Yes, I agree. However, you asked about what people FEEL , which = emotions. Sorry you know I’m always ready to split the abstract hair 😉
Maybe because “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) and because this is written to believers, not unbelievers (Dear Children and 1 John 2:12). We pray to Jesus Christ for continued forgiveness – I guess a sort of sanctification, not salvation – and He prays to the Father for us (1 John 2:1).
Matthew 6:12 also implies a continual request for forgiveness, not for salvation but for restored communion with God.
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 has a self-examination that I assume doesn’t just lead toward knowledge of self, but confession and repentance leading to a right heart prepared for participating in the Lord’s Supper.
Those are my basic thoughts.
Thanks Eric, I like what you had to say. A couple thoughts… the letter might have been written to Christians (we know that they were pretty much baby Christians or not at all), but is it possible that John is implying it is a one-time deal? According to Paul we are in Christ and we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. So asking for something we already have is the odd thing to me. I love what you’re saying about restored relationships and prepared hearts. That’s where confession/repentance comes into play, and perhaps gratitude for the fact that we ARE forgiven.
Oh I thought you were arguing against 1 Jn 1:9 and confession/repentance. Sorry. I get what you mean. Not asking for “forgiveness” again.
this has absolutely nothing to do with your post other than…speaking of Louie Giglio! …he received and posted this message on the 268blog today. thought of your comment about Passion City needing to plant in Boston. how fun hearing that God is raising up students THROUGH Passion to plant there.
“One of my roomies and I are watching this. We are both in leadership in our collegiate church plant here in Boston. I first heard the Lord calling me to missions @ Passion in Fort Worth 1999. I told my mom I was going to be a missionary… she said no way & I had to graduate. I was at Texas A&M University. The Lord continued to encourage me through Passion & One Day @ Shelby Farms throughout college. Long story… the Lord has called me to missions but has continued to keep me in the states. Passion 05 in Nashville, the Lord began to call many of our hearts to move to Boston. Our communities have grown and multiplied….praise God. Please pray for truth in Boston & New England, for revival in the hearts of all here. That they come to know Him, to truly know Him – the CREATOR, the FORGIVER, the REDEEMER, the LOVER, the FATHER, the HEALER & the RESTORER of all. Please continue to pray for men & women of God to plant their lives here, especially men, we have way more women. I know we all get discouraged, but as you prayed earlier…Louie, my roomie and I were sitting here with our hands in the air… for even encouragement for our own hearts.”
and once our very own kimmie carlson arrives on the scene, whoa…watch out 🙂
Amaris that’s awesome! Lindsay said she’d be cool with planting a church in Boston some day. I just don’t want to be the lead guy…ever.
There are a few things I want to highlight…
“5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 2
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
I think John makes it very clear to these same people that forgiveness has been taken care of at the cross. He also highlights that the point of this letter is to try to instill obedience in his ‘little children’. I think we would agree that the ongoing act of confession of our sins will bring a bring a great deal of cleansing and healing to our soul, despite the fact that our salvation is already secured.
Why would John even through the word ‘forgiveness’ in verse 9 and just cause confusion? I dunno, maybe he was pointing out that God being faithful and just to forgive us (through what was done on the cross) is the BASIS of the ongoing cleansing that comes with confession. Maybe that’s a stretch, but John is certainly not teaching that we need ongoing confession for ongoing forgiveness.
I know that James 5 talks about confession of sins to one another. But I think that the beautiful idea of Confession bringing healing is the point here and also reflected in 1 John 1:8-9. It reminds us of our position and posture to both God and others.
I agree that the healing of; our relationship with God, others, and ourselves is the restoration process that comes when we confess. There is no requirement to as for something that has already been given.
I think it is not for God, but rather for us to submit and possibly repent! I’ll ask God when I get to heaven!