Is It Right To Pray For Forgiveness?
“Oh Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”
Recently, I was asked to answer this question, “Is it right to pray for forgiveness?” It is a question that confuses many.
IT IS A FACT THAT GOD HAS ALREADY FORGIVEN ALL THE SINS OF ALL HIS ELECT, PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE (Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 44:22). In the covenant of grace, before ever the world was made, God looked upon His elect as redeemed, justified, forgiven, accepted, and glorified by virtue of our eternal union with Christ (Ephesians 1:3-6; Romans 8:29-30). Before we ever committed any sin, we were blessed with the spiritual blessing of total forgiveness in Christ our covenant Surety. When Christ Jesus actually bore our sins in His own body on the tree, when He paid the penal debt of our sins to the full satisfaction of divine justice by His death as our Substitute, He put away our sins. In so far as the purpose of God is concerned, we were forgiven in eternity (2nd Timothy 1:9). In so far as the justice of God is concerned, we were justified and forgiven when Christ died in our place. This is not a point of logic, but a matter of divine revelation (Galatians 3:13; Romans 4:25).
IT IS ALSO A FACT THAT GOD WILL NEVER IMPUTE SIN TO HIS ELECT (Romans 4:8). Having once imputed our sins to His Son, and having punished His Son for our sins, the LORD God cannot and will not impute sin to His people for any reason, or to any extent (Romans 8:33). Justice will not allow it!
YET, THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE SINNERS HAVE BEEN URGED TO SEEK, AND BELIEVER’S HAVE CONTINUALLY SOUGHT THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4; Psalm 25:18; Psalm 86:5; Isaiah 43:25-26; Isaiah 55:5-6). When David had been assured of God’s forgiveness (2nd Samuel 12:13), he earnestly sought it in prayer (Psalm 51:1-17). Our prayers, even our faith in Christ, have nothing to do with the accomplishment of justification and forgiveness before God. Christ alone is our Saviour. But the believing prayer of the penitent heart seeks and receives the blessedness of forgiveness spoken to the heart. In response to the penitent prayers of His children the LORD God says, “I am thy salvation” (Psalm 35:3); and the forgiven soul adoringly praises His forgiving Father (Micah 7:18-20). Writing to believers John says, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)