I recently heard someone pray for forgiveness for the sins we know we commit and for the ones we don’t know we commit. I found that an interesting prayer. For starters, we are forgiven once and for all through Jesus Christ. For those in Jesus, you sins have been forgiven once and for all. It’s like when you wipe something off of your hard drive. It’s gone for good.
There’s a big theological word for that “Justification.” And justification has a great easy definition–“Just as if I never sinned.” Wonderful. Totally awesome.
But let’s back up here for a moment, what about the things we do today that we still mess up on, especially when we don’t even realize that we do? Why pray for forgiveness of sins committed that we know about and don’t know about if we’ve been forgiven once and for all?
First of all, what is sin? It’s a four letter word in polite society to tell the truth. Paul writes about the struggle with sin–both the ones we know we commit and the ones we don’t–in Romans 7
“For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do” Romans 7:15
and later he writes
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19
This is a constant struggle. A struggle each day that we have. And we do things that we know we shouldn’t and don’t do things we know we should. And so we constantly seek out Jesus when we struggle with this. We confess where we mess up. We confess where we struggle.
And then we read this:
“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
So what does this all mean? This is a constant process. Something that happens each day.
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
It’s an ongoing process. We need to constantly walk with Jesus. For those who call on Jesus, we walk constantly with him.
And we mess up constantly. It’s part of our nature. It’s part and parcel of who we are as people. We’re going to mess up, we’re going to fall short, we’re going to loose our top, we’re going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. We’re not going to do the right thing when the time comes. And that’s just how it is.
And so, when the person prayed for forgiveness for the sins we know we commit and don’t know we commit, it sounded at first like he was covering his bases. Then I thought about it a bit more. No. He wasn’t. He was sincere. He knew where he had fallen short that week. And he knew he probably fell short in ways he wasn’t sure of.
And we do that. We fall short. And sometimes we don’t even realize it. We don’t always realize just how far down the rabbit hole we’ve truly gone. And so we seek Jesus out in all times. We seek him out in all ways.
Remember this: No matter how far the sin might be, no matter how far down you’ve gone, the love Jesus goes deeper. No matter how dark the sin is, the light of Jesus is brighter. And forgiveness is always found in him.
So, where do you need to confess where you’ve messed up? How can you confess it? How can you tell someone else? How can you pray it to Jesus? It’s simple. Just pray for forgiveness for the sins you know you’ve done and the ones’ you don’t know you have. For in Jesus there is forgiveness. In Jesus there is constant forgiveness. We just need to constantly walk with him.