It is clear from Scripture that though we have a multitude of sins, and even if we keep returning to the same sin, we are washed through the blood of Jesus. This is the nature of salvation.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 NIV “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 8:12 NIV For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 10:15-17 NIV The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
Think about it. For God to not remember our sins any more means that He intentionally do refuses to keep a record of them. He is not keeping a ledger. In the “old” days a lender kept a ledger for each borrower. On the ledger the lender made and entry for every new debt and entries for each payment. In extraordinary cases the lender may forgive the debt and show on the ledger that full payment had been made. The debt had been forgiven or canceled.
Here’s a good definition of forgiveness using debt cancellation as the example.
"The metaphor of debt cancellation clearly defines the nature of forgiveness…when you forgive someone, you cancel a debt. But, more specifically, you make a conscious choice to absorb the cost yourself. You choose not to make the offender pay for the offense." (Tripp and Lane, Relationships, 95)
If the original debt has been paid, then the debt has been paid. That debt no longer exists. If you get yourself back into debt you don’t add the old paid debt to it. You now have a new debt. If you equate sin to a debt according to 1 John 1:9 God forgives them every time.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
There is no asterisk there. Every time we confess Jesus cleanses and God forgives.
Let’s take this a little further. Let’s say, for the sake of argument although we know that you can’t really put a price on sin because each sin is against an infinite God, each win is worth $5. With each sin, we keep adding $5 to our total debt. Then when we confess and repent our account goes back to zero. Jesus absorbs the debt for that day and then we can go on the next day with our debts paid. This analogy isn’t entirely wrong—but it fails to consider the nature of our union with Christ.
But forgiveness isn’t only about debt cancellation. There is a relational component too. When we are united to Christ, we are united to him forever. Which means we are connected to Christ’s righteousness forever. Our righteousness is fixed in Christ.
Romans 3:22-24 NIV This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The same is true of our forgiveness. We always stand forgiven because we stand in Christ. This is why God continues to forgive the sins we continue to repeat. He forgives the repeating sins in the same way he forgives the past and the initial sins, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
What Does it Mean to Truly Repent of Your Sins?
We often put a condition on repentance is that we must “truly repent” The problem is that we never really define true repentance. Does true repentance mean that I am deeply sincere in wanting to change? Does it mean that if I truly repent I will, in fact change?
Let’s ask ourselves two different questions.
Does God forgive sins you continue to repeat?
Does God forgive sins you deliberately continue to repeat?
To truly repent means to change your mind about a particular thing. It may not yet mean that your behavior catches up with your new opinion. But your view of that thing has changed.
When the Spirit opened your eyes to a particular sin, you had changed your opinion of what you did. You now agreed with God, and you disagreed with yourself. Previously, you written it off as “not that big of a deal”. You might have heard it was wrong, but you did not yet have true repentance. But then the Spirit did a work in your heart and now you have repented. Now when you engage in that sin you respond differently. You hate the sin—you agree with God that you’re guilty—and you run to God for forgiveness. And we know that we confess and repent we are granted grace and forgiveness.
If you deliberately sin, then it means that you do not yet agree with God about the seriousness of that sin. This means that repentance has not actually taken place.
It can be discouraging to keep battling the same types of sins repeatedly. It can feel as if we are not making progress in our walk with Christ. And it can make us question whether God will get sick of us or get tired of having to forgive us for the same thing repeatedly. But remember of the nature of your relationship. Our righteousness is fixed in Christ. What matters more than anything is your union with Christ. And even a weak faith can lay hold of a strong Christ. He is merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Sin grieves Him yet; He delights to forgive.
Remember these words from Charles Spurgeon:
"The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.”"