Will God forgive me a second or a twentieth time?
I know that when you sin you are supposed
to repent and ask God for forgiveness, but
what if you really mean to stop and don’t? What
if you just can’t stop committing that sin? Will
God forgive me a second or a twentieth time?
Guess what? If people could stop sinning by
just deciding to stop, we’d all know a lot of perfect
people. But no one stops sinning. No one. I sure
don’t, despite my best efforts. Even Paul confesses
that he continues to do what he doesn’t want to
do. When the Bible tells us to repent, it doesn’t
mean we’re able to stop the sinful behavior by just
deciding to ( Romans 7 ).
Instead, repentance means “to turn.” We turn our
minds back to Christ—confessing where we are
and where we long to be. We admit we’ve sinned
and ask Jesus to cleanse us. We can’t do that
ourselves. It’s God who changes us. This process is
called sanctification—and it’s a result of continued
prayer, confession, admitting our dependence on
God, and seeking strength.
Through sanctification, sin does lose its power
over us and we can become stronger. But we
never stop sinning because we are human.
Therefore, all of us have to keep turning back to
Jesus time after time. It’s only when we stop
returning to God after sinning and start pretending
like our sins are OK that we begin doing very
serious damage to our relationship with God.
If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us
(1 John 1:9 ). Jesus taught the disciples that they
needed to forgive people who sinned against
them “7 times 70 times” (or 490 times).
expected his impatient and flawed disciples to
forgive that many times, we can be sure that God
is willing to forgive us as often as we come humbly
and confess our shortcomings to him with a desire
for him to change our lives.