Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: Have you done any research on 1 John 1:9? My Question is why do many Evangelicals pray for "forgiveness" when we are already forgiven past, present, and future from 2000 years ago? Thanks
Answer: I would agree with you that we are forgiven for our sins, past, present and future. I have written a study on this subject, but I will give you the short version here. We know that this book was written to Christian believers because of 1 John 2:12-14. This is the reason I don't use the 1 John 1:9 reference in evangelism. Nowhere are we told to confess our sins to get saved. We are to repent, meaning to turn from our sins. The theme is 'fellowship' with the Holy Trinity and each other. Our salvation is not at stake, but our fellowship is.
I like to use the illustration of the family. A child tells his parent, "I don't want to clean my room or take out the trash." They are disobedient and need to be punished, but they are not kicked out of the family. (Of course, any illustration breaks down at some point, because there are human parents who disown their children, but God does not disown us!) He does get unhappy with us when we disobey Him and He will need to punish us because we are His children.
Our salvation is not lost, but our fellowship is broken until we get right with Him and admit that we sinned. He wants to forgive us and have fellowship with us again, but we have the responsibility of owning up to our sin.
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Gary Tomás Panell
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Keywords: forgiveness, fellowship, repent, confess