The Bible is clear in Romans 3:23 that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. In Romans 6:23, it is written that the wage of sin is death. Therefore, all of us are bound to eternal death unless our sins are forgiven. However, sin has its consequences. God, Who is just, cannot let sin go unpunished. Just as in any other court of law, a murderer cannot just say “Sorry” and be forgiven. The murderer has to pay for his crime. That is where the Gospel comes in.
Father in heaven, I thank You for not leaving us to die eternally because of our sins. You sent Your Son Jesus to rescue us from being eternally damned and separated from You. It is all because You are gracious and merciful. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
What does the Bible say about the forgiveness of my sins?
As we have mentioned above, all of us have sinned. Our sins have a consequence, which is death. When we say death, we are not talking about physical death, although our physical death is also a result of sin that started when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and brokenness came to the world. It is our spiritual death that is more of a concern than our physical death. Because of sin, we are separated from God. Our relationship with God became estranged because of our sins. Because we are separated from God spiritually, if we die, we shall also be separated from Him eternally. We choose to live our lives based on what we think is right. We basically don’t have life because we are away from God. We are bound for hell and lose our sense of meaning and purpose in life because we cannot find it apart from God, Who created us.
Because of our sins, we are also recipients of God’s wrath. That is why the Bible says in Romans 5:10 that we are all enemies of God, who are only reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus. God has wrath toward sin because He is a holy and righteous God. God, in His holiness and justice, must punish sin. Therefore, all of us deserve God’s wrath. We deserved to be separated from Him and exist eternally in hell.
The only way to avoid God’s wrath and eternal death is for our sins to be forgiven. However, that is where the problem comes in. No matter what amount of atonement we try to do on our own, we will never be forgiven of our sins because, as mentioned, death is its consequence. Every good work that we do to atone is tainted with sin and is, therefore, filthy rags in the eyes of God, as written in Isaiah 64:6. God, in His justice, must punish sin, or else it would be contradictory to His character, which is holy, just, and righteous.
That is where Jesus comes in. God has to punish sin, but also, He does not want us to die. The solution that He provided is His Son, Jesus. Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died, meaning Christ lived the life God expected us to live. Christ also took the punishment that we deserved for our sins. On the third day, He rose again, proving that He is indeed the Son of God and that He has conquered death. With that, we receive forgiveness, but not because we are confident that our good works can atone for what we have done. If that were the case, there would be nothing for us but death because death is what we deserve. Rather, we receive forgiveness because we believe in what Christ has done on the cross for us; that He took the penalty of our sin and died for us, and because of that, any debt that we have to God is already canceled, as written in Colossians 2:14-15.
Our sins are pardoned, and Christ’s sacrifice has restored our relationship with God. We have peace with God through faith in Christ, and the dividing wall of hostility that separated God and us has been broken down, as written in Ephesians 2:14-16. Sin causes spiritual and physical death only because we are separated from God. If we are reconciled with God, we will have life again, and that is why eternal life is only found in Christ—He is the way, the truth, and the life, as written in John 14:6. Only in Christ can we have life because only through Christ can we be with the Father.
Father in heaven, I thank You because You were never obligated to save us from sin. We were the ones who sinned against You and have done evil; we deserved Your wrath and were separated from You. However, You sent Your Son Jesus to pay for the penalty I deserved, and You poured out Your wrath on the cross, where Jesus said, “It is finished.” Thank You for the amazing grace and mercy that You have shown us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How can I pray for my sins to be forgiven?
To be clear, forgiveness for our sins is not something that we work for. As mentioned above, even if you work for it (for example, by praying), those good works are filthy rags in the eyes of God because of your sin. That is why only Christ can save us—His work is never tainted with sin because He has lived a perfect and sinless life.
Forgiveness and eternal life can be found only in Christ alone and not in anything we can do. Therefore, rather than praying so that we can be forgiven, we can only believe what Christ has done for us on the cross, repent, and commit to following Him. In Mark 1:15, Jesus Himself said to repent and believe the Gospel.
Christ has already atoned for your sins; now it is either you will try to be forgiven based on your own merit (in which you will still die because of your sin) or be forgiven based on the merit of what Christ has done for you on the cross. That is why being forgiven is not a matter of what prayer to pray or how to pray but a matter of repenting and believing. We humble ourselves that we cannot pay for our sins, and we rely upon and trust what Christ has done for us, committing to following Jesus, in Whom we can find life.
Lord Jesus, I believe what You have done for me on the cross; that I am forgiven not because of the good works that I do but because of Your atoning work on the cross. You took my penalty and paid it. You are my only confidence that I am saved from the wrath of the Father and forgiven. Only through You can I be with the Father again and be adopted as His child. You are my very life, Lord Jesus. I repent of my sin, knowing I have been living my life wrong. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
It is important to note that praying the prayer above will not save you and forgive you of your sins. Only by believing the finished work of Christ on the cross and repenting can we be saved. On our own, we only have death, but in Christ, we have life as He is life. Christ not only pardons us of our sins but also enables us to be sanctified until we are completely rid of sin, fully perfect, and 100% like Him.