I recently ran into a Christian and I guess there are a group of Christians who believe that once you give your life to Jesus and His Grace covers all your sins, past, present, and future, you no longer need to repent of any sins you commit in the future. In other words, His Grace covers any future sins, so you don't need to worry about it. I'm always astounded when I hear things like this because it's not Biblical. At least not from the Bible that I read. But apparently this is a very prevalent belief among Christians. In fact, I have a family member, a confessing Christian, who not only believes they don't need to repent, but they believe they can continue sinning as much as they want and still be saved.
Anyway, let's take a look at the word Repent. It comes from the Greek word, metanoeō, which means to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins
It doesn't just mean to feel remorse or say you're sorry. I assume most of you know this or have been taught this. So when you come to Jesus, receive Him as your Savoir AND Lord, you change your mind from your past sinful life and decide to start anew with a new life in Him. You do a 180 degree turn from your past sinful lifestyle and you now live for Jesus, walking in obedience to Him and following Him. (That's what making Him Lord means. You can't call someone Lord unless He is in charge of you!)
So, it sounds like we must repent in order to get saved. We have to have a change or heart and mind. We can say a prayer or repeat the words some pastor tells us to, but until we have a change of heart and mind, we aren't saved. When people asked Peter what they needed to do to be saved, here's his answer
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
Jesus Himself often called for Repentance. A quick search of the Gospels will prove that fact. Hence, if someone has "repented" and trusted in Jesus for their salvation, then they should NOT return to the lifestyle they had before. If they do, then they have not truly changed their mind because repentance is a change of heart and mind.
Okay, but we all make mistakes after we get saved. We all commit sins. Yes! Hopefully less and less as we grow in our walk with the Lord, but yes we all sin. These sins should not be done on purpose, but occasionally we may give into temptation. So, what does a Christian do then? Are we still covered by the blood of Jesus? I would say yes for a time. However, we must confess our sins to God and ask for forgiveness AND we must repent and change our mind if our minds are still focused on sin and the world. In other words, if a person is habitually and purposely sinning for a period of time, that would indicate to me that they never truly repented in the first place and that they definitely need to repent. Either way, they need to come before the Lord and ask forgiveness for their sins.
Do we need to ask forgiveness for every little sin? If the Holy Spirit convicts you of something, yes. Stop right there and ask forgiveness. I realize that often there are sins we commit that we may not be completely aware of as we grow in our walk with the Lord. Those are the sins I believe God covers until we become aware of them.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Notice a few things about this verse. The first word is IF If we confess, Jesus will forgive us. So what happens If we don't confess? I would logically assume the opposite, that Jesus will not forgive us. I believe the "purify us from all unrighteousness" is what covers the sins we aren't aware of.
Also notice in the Lord's prayer, uttered by Jesus himself:
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
So, it seems we do need to confess our sins before God and ask forgiveness on a routine basis. Repentance would also be necessary if we had turned back to our sinful lifestyle from serving God. Either way, God requires something of us. Yet, I run into Christian after Christian who believes they no longer need to ask forgiveness for their sins. It truly blows my mind.
Is Repentance even taught in church today? What about sin? I wonder.
The positive takeaway from this is that IF we confess our sin to God with a sincere heart and a desire to not do it again, HE forgives. Not only does He forgive, but He doesn't even remember our sin anymore! (I wish I didn't)
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12
We serve a loving and incredible God who is filled with extreme mercy and grace!