Asking forgiveness or just repenting

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thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm in a discussion with a brother right now regarding the use of the term "forgive" when we pray to God concerning our sin. He believes that as believers we do not need to ask forgiveness, since in Christ we are already forgiven, but that we should still confess and repent of our sins. Just curious to your thoughts out there.
 

thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
He references the "pre-cross" nature of the prayer, and asks for evidence that the NT church asked for forgiveness.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I would show him all the places in the Bible where the people of God cried out for forgiveness AND THEN repented. I would also inform him that while it's true that we were chosen from before the foundations of the earth Christ STILL had to come to earth to live a perfect life on our behalf then die for our sins, and we still have to go through the whole of the salvific process. Just because God states that something is done does not mean the process does not have to play out.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
He references the "pre-cross" nature of the prayer, and asks for evidence that the NT church asked for forgiveness.

pre-cross nature of the prayer? Are we to exclude that part of the Bible since Christ died for our sins? Is he trying to say that the Lord's prayer is valid only for a certain period in time? He would have to prove it's ok to do away with parts of the Bible in my opinion.

How about the first part of the Lord's prayer? God has always been Holy and yet we are commanded to actually acknowledge verbally everyday that He is Holy. How about when God told us He has given us all things and yet the Lord's prayer teaches us to ask Him to provide for our needs.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Ask him what he means by "repent."
Then ask what is his Scriptural basis for asserting we no longer have to ask for forgiveness. Not merely that Jesus said to pre-cross. Several of the Ten Commandments were "pre-cross," does he think they don't apply?
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Found it!!! 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

And I found this: "The Greek word used in the New Testament for 'confess' is 'homologeo' meaning 'to say the same thing' or 'acknowledge'. We read of confessing with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Rom.10:9) meaning to express with our mouth what we believe as truth in our heart. We also read of confessing our sins (1Jn.1:9) which is to acknowledge that we have sinned in a certain way towards God or man."
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Just because we are justified of all our sins - including all those from the moment of conversion to our death - doesn't mean that God, our Heavenly Father isn't offended by our sin.

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.(II Samuel 11:27)
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Also, repent means to turn away from. You can't turn away from something you don't first confess you have done. OK, I'll stop babbling.
 

thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
Found it!!! 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

And I found this: "The Greek word used in the New Testament for 'confess' is 'homologeo' meaning 'to say the same thing' or 'acknowledge'. We read of confessing with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Rom.10:9) meaning to express with our mouth what we believe as truth in our heart. We also read of confessing our sins (1Jn.1:9) which is to acknowledge that we have sinned in a certain way towards God or man."

This is the exact passage that prompted the discussion. He agrees with 1 John 1:9. He points to the fact that is says we are to "confess our sins" and NOT "ask forgiveness." He draws a distinction between saying "God forgive me" and "I confess my sins and am sorry for them."

I can understand his context too. He came from an Assemblies of God background and is now a Calvinist. In his former denomination salvation can be lost, so saying "God forgive me" is crucial in maintaining an eternally right standing before God. I can appreciate his attention to detail and wanting to break from the mindset of somehow begging God to forgive sin that's already forgiven. He definitely believes in confession and repentance, so it's not as if he's advocating something heretical.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Ok I have a question for him. Why would He instruct His disciples to ask for forgiveness in the Lord's Prayer when He had not yet died for their sins? What would be the point if forgiveness was given only after His death? Were not OT ppl forgiven (animal sacrifice did not wash away their sins only the promise of what Christ would do on the cross) So in light of that why tell them in the Lords Prayer to ask for forgiveness instead of telling them to go sacrifice an animal until that time when they wouldn't have to beg forgiveness (after his death)? Why wouldn't he have made it explicitly exclusive in this manner if the Lord's Prayer was pre-cross?
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It really depends on his intent when he "confesses" or "asks forgiveness." Despite his mistaken, "pre-cross" thinking about the Lord's Prayer, his basic understanding of justification and forgiveness may actually be correct. If his contention is that his sins are already forgiven in the legal and eternal justification sense, and that they don't require any additional asking in order for him to remain saved, and that such asking would reveal a sinful insecurity and lack of faith in Christ, then he is correct as far as that goes.

However, he may be missing some of the richness of salvation when it comes to life with one's heavenly Father. It is appropriate, even natural, to ask forgiveness of your Father when you've done wrong against him... even when you know he surely will forgive you and, in fact, already has in the eternal justification sense. Life with God is not merely about that justification, great as it is. There's also ongoing joy in not just confessing sin but asking forgiveness of One whom you know delights to extend it. God would hardly be our Father if that relational dynamic were not present in addition to our legal justification.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Lloyd-Jones is so good on this:

Who is the man who can pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"? He is the man who already has a right to say, "Our Father." And the only man who has a right to say "Our Father" is the one who is in Christ Jesus. It is the Children's Prayer. It is not a prayer for anybody, but only for those who have become the children of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the relationship of the child to the father, and the moment we realize we have offended, or grieved or sinned against the Father, we confess it and ask to be forgiven, and we are sure that we are forgiven.
 

Tirian

Puritan Board Sophomore
Saying sorry is one thing. We can say sorry to each other and choose not to care whether the other responds or not.

Asking for forgiveness requires us to humble ourselves, asking the other if our remorse is genuine - it is far more intimate.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I see two lines of thought being drawn out here. One is focusing on legalities, one is focusing on relationship. :2cents: Keep going, just an observation.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Found it!!! 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

And I found this: "The Greek word used in the New Testament for 'confess' is 'homologeo' meaning 'to say the same thing' or 'acknowledge'. We read of confessing with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Rom.10:9) meaning to express with our mouth what we believe as truth in our heart. We also read of confessing our sins (1Jn.1:9) which is to acknowledge that we have sinned in a certain way towards God or man."

This is the exact passage that prompted the discussion. He agrees with 1 John 1:9. He points to the fact that is says we are to "confess our sins" and NOT "ask forgiveness." He draws a distinction between saying "God forgive me" and "I confess my sins and am sorry for them."

This has bothered me all night (I work night shift and it's been on my mind) because I'm just trying to understand his thought process.

He feels the Lord's Prayer is pre-cross and bases that assumption on the mere fact that no one in the NT after Christ's death said, "God, forgive me of my sins!" (I'm not sure we have an example of anyone saying, "God I confess my sin to You" after Christ's death either) along with 1John that says "confess your sins".

I have to say this isn't good hermeneutics. For if you tore 1John apart with that kind of hermeneutic reasoning, then this is what he would have to admit: First I have to confess my sins (for that is the first part of 1John's command "If we confess our sins"), and only till I confess my sin will God forgive me (for that is the second part of 1John which states, "he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness". Notice it says "He will" not "because He has already forgiven us at the cross").

And yet, your friend believes that he doesn't have to ask for forgiveness because he was forgiven at the cross (we all believe we were forgiven at the cross….that's not the issue). By him using this type of hermeneutics, it develops a simplistic, ungrounded, not defining an inexplicit Scripture with an explicit Scripture level type of hermeneutics which leads to negating that which he says he believes (Christ forgave us at the cross…..something we all believe).

1John says God will forgive after we confess, yet we know He forgave at the cross. What your friend is failing to understand is that God has commanded us to do things in an orderly fashion. He has processes that we are to follow. The cross promises forgiveness of sins…. a debt was paid for each of His children's sins. That was Christ's part which He did completely and perfectly. Our part is that after we are given salvation and can be "sorry" for our sins we follow the Lord's Prayer and ask (receive) for that forgiveness in our lives daily.

I said this earlier, but it's not good enough that God predestined your friend from before the foundation of world to be His child. Your friend had to actually go through the process of seeing that come to fruition……he had to receive salvation. He couldn't just say, "Well, I don't have to receive salvation because God destined me unto salvation before the beginning of the world." That kind of thinking is the same type of hermeneutics he is using concerning not asking for forgiveness. We have to follow God's orderly process.
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
He references the "pre-cross" nature of the prayer, and asks for evidence that the NT church asked for forgiveness.
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That's what I did lol!
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
Was about to ask if he was Assemblies of God, but then I saw in one of your posts he was once. Yeah, I found that type of reasoning common among those I knew. Their ways of thinking and reasoning can at times defy logic and often they are as hard to reason with as a Jehovah Witness. Takes a lot of patience, tongue biting, banging of head on walls, and ultimately prayer. I found with those I knew/know that you cannot argue truth into them. Those I knew saw my attempts as the attempts of Satan. I know though that you say he is now reformed and Im not saying he see's it that way at all. But as with myself who also came out of that church many years ago, the scars can remain for many after. I had to actually reprogram my own mind to think about scripture and Gods truth's differently. And to be honest it took quite a number of years. Some scars still remain and now and then even I remind myself "no, its not like that".
Patience and prayer. From that background expect things like your experiencing. Patience and prayer.
 

thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
He was AOG, but is now akin to a Reformed Baptist. I think his background, though, has been the motivation for wanting to be extremely careful in how he uses his language, which I can appreciate.

Our discussion has continued, and fundamentally, we are in agreement. Where I think we disagree is on the use of a term and that is "forgive." I think there are two senses to the word "Forgive" as found in Scripture, and as far as I understand, there is more than one term in the Greek (though I'm not well versed in the originals). In one sense, there is definitive pardon of our sins when we are saved. In that sense, we are forgiven. So it's true that, as a believer, if we sin and then die before confessing, we are still saved. Our sins our pardoned and our debt is cancelled.

But there is still sanctification. There is still the need for our feet to be washed as Jesus told Peter in John 13. In this sense it is appropriate to say "Lord, forgive my sins." He would essentially say the same thing, but would not use the word "forgive."

It's been a good conversation, and I've gotten a lot out of it.

Was about to ask if he was Assemblies of God, but then I saw in one of your posts he was once. Yeah, I found that type of reasoning common among those I knew. Their ways of thinking and reasoning can at times defy logic and often they are as hard to reason with as a Jehovah Witness. Takes a lot of patience, tongue biting, banging of head on walls, and ultimately prayer. I found with those I knew/know that you cannot argue truth into them. Those I knew saw my attempts as the attempts of Satan. I know though that you say he is now reformed and Im not saying he see's it that way at all. But as with myself who also came out of that church many years ago, the scars can remain for many after. I had to actually reprogram my own mind to think about scripture and Gods truth's differently. And to be honest it took quite a number of years. Some scars still remain and now and then even I remind myself "no, its not like that".
Patience and prayer. From that background expect things like your experiencing. Patience and prayer.
 

Free Christian

Puritan Board Sophomore
I should add, that patience and prayer were the things I often lacked back then but came to realise later, much later. But we live and learn huh!
Hope it all works out for you all Thomas
 
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