Asking for Forgiveness

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Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all, I was recently conversing with a brother about 1John1:8 and he asked about confessing our sins. The question was " why does the Lord command us to ask for forgiveness for sins even after being Justified.

I explained that the passage may be speaking of confessing sins because even after Justification, we displease God with sin so to confess would be to "restore" from displeasing God.

However after reading it a few times over, this text isn't talking about confessing to restore at all. Am I reading the passage incorrectly?

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Consider God's omniscience. He knows our thoughts. He knows our prayers (even before we pray). Yet, we are commanded to pray. As well, confession, one to each other and to the Lord is commanded. It is not like God only forgives sins confessed as there are so many we have no idea about-commission and ommission. So, simply, we confess because, it is commanded.

I recall years ago, reading a tract from R. B. Thieme, making mention of 'restoration'. There's something to be said about restoration, but a biblical restoration is not what Thieme says here:

This would be complete Arminianism.

The Prodigal always was a son; hence, his restoration was inevitable. Restoration for us believers is generally repentance for sin. It is not a falling away from grace.


Puritan Board Freshman
Scott thanks for the response, though I'm not sure you answered my question. Being that God has justified us and all my sins have been forgiven in Christ, God still commands us to pray for forgiveness in many parts of the Bible.

I understand that he is commanding it so we obey...and your explanation seemed arbitrary in a sense. We know God is not arbitrary in his commands, why would He command an action of repentance if we have been made right with him? Yes he is omniscient and so he knows all things, however that still doesn't answer the question. Asking for forgiveness is requesting pardoning from God...hasn't he pardoned us already?

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Repentance is not just a one-time action that gets us saved. Repentance is also a continual part of ongoing life with God once we have been saved but are not yet glorified.

So, when we are first converted, this conversion consists of faith and repentance. Through faith and repentance, we become justified before God. All our sins are forgiven in Christ. We have no need to ever become justified again, because our justification is forever true. In that sense, we never need more forgiveness. We can be sure we will keep receiving it.

But, salvation is so much more than just this forever forgiveness.

So we still practice faith and repentance for other reasons: We still practice faith and repentance to be close to our Father and have a strong relationship with him. We still practice faith and repentance to grow in holiness. And we still practice faith and repentance because if the conversion through which we are justified is true, it is not a one-time act but a lifelong change.

Confession of sin is part of repentance. It is ongoing. We keep confessing and asking forgiveness, knowing we surely will keep receiving forgiveness, to remind us that our forever forgiveness is true and to keep us close to God and growing in him. In Psalm 51:10-12, David asks forgiveness so that his godly attitude may be renewed, his joy of salvation restored, and his willingness to obey strengthened. We should do the same.
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