When we do something bad, there are consequences (especially if we’re caught!). But the message of Christianity is that God has forgiven our ‘sin’, taking the punishment and consequences on himself so that we can be free. To be forgiven, all we have to do is say sorry or ‘repent’ (another word that is chucked around a lot by Christians!)
‘Repent’ translates as ‘to change your mind’ or ‘to do an about-turn’. If you ask for forgiveness and repent, you actively turn away from sin.
When people experience God’s forgiveness for the first time, it often results in a life change. This is true of some characters in the Bible and there are lots of modern day examples (see greatcommission.co.uk or iamsecond.com). Experiencing God’s forgiveness changes everything.
Look at Romans 6:1–3 (The Message’s puts it well). Through God’s forgiveness we are given a new life and our old life dies. We will, of course, still ‘miss the mark’ but God’s forgiveness isn’t just a one-time thing. It’s never too late to say sorry.
Because God forgives everything, we can, in theory, do whatever we want. However, in order to ask for forgiveness, we need to actually be sorry and if we keep deliberately sinning, we’re probably not that sorry and maybe don’t actually want to be forgiven!
Moreover, if we’re in a relationship with God, we probably won’t want to do whatever we fancy. Think of your mum (if you’re on good terms with her). She provides everything you need, is super kind to you, sacrifices her own desires to put you first and loves you no matter what. If there were certain things she asked you not to do, you would probably try to avoid those things. If you did do something she asked you not to, it might put a barrier between you and it would hurt her feelings. You love your mum and want to be close to her so you wouldn’t intentionally do stuff that would make you feel far away from her. It’s the same with God – nothing we do can make him love us more (or less), but as we draw close to him, we will want to live in a way that pleases him.
Questions to ask:
- Is there any ‘sin’ which can’t be forgiven?
- Do you think forgiveness is fair?
- Will God love you more if you do lots of good things?
If you’d like us to answer a particular question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.