Why I don’t ask God for forgiveness [Once was enough]

I remember a time many years ago where, as a new Christian, I would commit a sin and then I would lose it. That is, after I did something which troubled my soul and in which caused the inner parts of me to hurt with shame and regret, I would lie on my bed, close my eyes, and beg God to forgive me. That was my mantra. “God I’m so sorry, please forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me. Wash away my sins and please forgive me.” It offered a sort of relief, whereby before I asked God to forgive me I would feel horrible. After I said those words I felt forgiven- as if in that moment they lifted off of me and they were separated as far as the East is from the West. The penance was in the asking and receiving. Forgiveness was actively happening to me every time I asked for it, and there was no shortage of asking.

Nowadays though, that does not happen. I never ask God to forgive me. I am still grieved by the things I do and my conscience still pricks me. The Holy Ghost still convicts me and brings about that visceral prompting which makes me turn to Christ for comfort and solace. But not for forgiveness.


Because I have already been forgiven, and asking God to forgive me over and over again is a theological trainwreck. When Jesus died on the cross in that great exchange, he took my sins and I took on his righteousness. Through repentance and faith  all my sins, past present and future, were never again to be held against the me.  I don’t believe that the death of Christ on a cross “potentially” took away my sins, or made it possible for them to be taken away, but that they were actually taken away. In that moment I was forgiven of everything I had done and will do in this lifetime. Every wicked thought and evil deed was no more. Its all done, buried in the blood.

If that is the case, then why would I cry and plead for God to do something that he has already done? As a believer, when I ask God to forgive me, he won’t do it then and there. It’s empty words because it’s already been done. That great act has been finished, and there’s no cause for me to ask him to do so. Not only that, but I would even argue that it is unwise to ask it, as it presumes wishful thinking over established fact. For example, in my prayers I don’t ask God to love me. I don’t say “Oh God, please love me. Just love me. I need you to love me. Will you love me.” I don’t do that because I am already thoroughly loved by the saviour. When I ask Jesus to take a concrete action which he has already done, it distorts the reality and the magnitude of what he has already done. It’s bad theology because it tacitly questions settled acts of the saviour and cast them in a unbiblical light, which then reinforces the bad theology. It’s like saying “Jesus, show yourself to be God.” He’s been there, done that, and has the holes in his wrists to prove it.

Instead of saying “God forgive me.” the better thing would be to say something along the lines of “God, help me feel forgiven.” or “God, I know I’m forgiven, help me respond to your forgiveness better.” or “God, I hate my sins, let the fact that they are covered by your blood lead me hate them even more, that you would have to die for them.” But a believer asking God to forgive you after the fact, as if its in that moment God would actually forgive you? Ultimately that’s blasphemy, as it distorts and degrades what Jesus has already done thousands of years ago, and it’s not something that I feel comfortable saying.

8 thoughts on “Why I don’t ask God for forgiveness [Once was enough]

  1. sorry, Michael. I am in the processing of cleaning up the site a bit and changing pages to posts, because i didn’t like that there were two comment pages for each post. but the comments are still there. if you click on the post in the “above me” section you will see all our dialogue. if you wouldn’t mind though, can you post your response in this section, so that i can clean up and get rid of that one? thanks :)

  2. Hello PaperThin

    No worries on the late response. Welcome to Fort McMurray and its lovely shift work. I bumped onto your blog about 4 months ago. I thought I smelled (The Westminster Confession of Faith)!!!

    I am not in the Arminian camp or Pelagius camp at all. I do not feel comfortable with Calvin or Luther either. I simply have learned to walk in the light as HE is in the light. 1John 1:7

    My Soteriology is simple and easy to follow.Salvation is basically from death to life and then from sin to righteousness and then from wrath to peace with God. Thus there is three aspects of salvation: reconciliation, redemption, and propitiation.These three aspects of salvation are accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. eazy enough??

    PaperThin so very glad to hear you are not a fan of antinomianism. Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
    Gal 5:23 meekness, self-control; against such things (there is no law).
    Against such there is NO LAW….

    My understanding or salient point on “walking in the Favor of God” is simply defined by walking in the Spirit.
    Rom 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

    I’m not sure you and I would see justification the same way.
    “a justified sinner who sins on a daily basis, and yet I am forgiven”. Simply just not keen on that definition and never have been.

    Anyway PaperThin thanks for the responce. Yeah I like Chris Rosebrough also.. Pirate Radiooooooo…

    Peace my friend…


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