When are our sins forgiven? Some Christians aren’t sure when our sins are forgiven. Some hold that sins are forgiven when we are baptized, others when a believer speaks in tongues (see my article on tongues), and some only after a series of steps and requirements have been satisfied then are sins forgiven. But what does the bible say?
1 John 1:9 (NLT)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
1 Corinthians 6:11
11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
We find from these and other many scriptures that sins are forgiven when we repent and believe in Jesus. Seems simple doesn’t it? Just ask and receive, but some hold the view that forgiveness of sins only happens after baptism because of Act 2:38.
Acts 2:38 (NLT)
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 would seem to contradict the other scriptures in the bible. If we take a closer look at the word “for”, this verse uses the Greek word “eis”, which means “because”. Here is an example of how the word “for” is used as “because”. “Why was he sent to prison? For robbing a bank”. Acts 2:38 would then read as follows (this is the traditional orthodox interpretation of this verse that has been held for 2000 years).
Acts 2:38 (NLT)
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ because your sins have been forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The book of Acts also supports that sins are forgiven when we believe.
Acts 10:43 (NLT)
He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.
One of my favorite passages is John 3:16 because it shows God’s crazy unconditional love for a messed up world. It doesn’t say He hated a sinful and messed up world, or that He only loved the good people in the world, but that He loved a world full of sinful and messed up people so much He gave his only Son to die for it and redeem us all back to Him. Jesus says that who ever believes will not perish, but have eternal life. All we have to do is believe in Him, simply amazing look at God’s love for us messed up people.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
From scripture we find that our sins are forgiven when we repent and believe in Jesus. We are made holy and right in Jesus through our faith; it’s just simple faith in what He did at the cross. What good is any process, formula or baptism if we have no faith? It is not a 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 stepped process or special formula to have our sins forgiven. We are not forgiven because we are good, because we have done good, or because of any standards we hold, it’s just the grace of God through what Jesus finished for us on the cross.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.