Question:

A friend and I found a small church to attend, but their pastor prays at the beginning of their service asking for forgiveness of their sins. This made me wonder: Jesus died on the cross for us and he put the past, present, and future sins on that cross with him, so ALL of our sins have been forgiven. So why do they continue to ask for forgiveness when it clearly says in the Bible that they have been forgiven. It's as if they don't think they are. It's as if asking God for blessings over and over when He HAS given it to you, but we keep asking. 


Answer:

"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).

The letter of I John was written by the Apostle John to fellow Christians. Notice that sin is not something already taken care of and no effort is needed on the Christian's part to have the sin removed. John instructs the Christian that when he sins, he is to confess his sins to God in order to receive forgiveness of those sins. If a person does not do this, then his sins would not be forgiven.

Jesus did die to forgive mankind of their sins. "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (I Peter 2:24). But this does not mean that everyone's sins are automatically forgiven. Most of the world will end up in hell. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). While the gift is freely offered to everyone, not everyone will accept the gift. This remains true both before and after a person becomes a Christian. This is why there are warning to Christians not to return to sin. "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).