Are all our sins forgiven when we become Christian or only those up to the point when we believe?

by Matt Slick
10/14/2019

 

Many people wonder if we are forgiven of all of our sins (past, present, and future) when we trust in Christ as Savior. Some teach that we are only forgiven up to that point, and then we must to continually ask forgiveness for sins committed after our conversion; otherwise, we will not be forgiven. But they are wrong. The answer is simple. All of our sins, past, present, and future are forgiven when we receive Christ as Savior.

We are forgiven of all of our sins because when Christ was crucified on the cross, all of our sins were future to him. Since sin is a legal debt (Matt. 6:12 with Luke 11:4), and legal debts can be transferred, then all of our sins were transferred to Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). This means that all of our sins - which were future to him and had not yet occurred - were reconned to his account (2 Cor. 5:21).

Furthermore, justification is being declared legally righteous according to the law.  This occurs by faith, (Romans 3:28; 5:1).  So, how can we be in a state of justification, if we commit sin after our conversion and those sins are not yet forgiven? This would mean that we would be in and out of our salvation depending on whether or not we confess and repent of our sins.

But this is problematic.  What would be the condition of a person who commits a sin, but is unaware of it?  Can he then confess it and repent? Of course not. Or what if a person commits a sin and dies before he has a chance to confess and repent? That would mean he would be damned.  It makes no sense. The idea that all of our sins are forgiven only up to the point of belief, is ridiculous and un-biblical.

  • Colossians 2:14, "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

The term "certificate of debt" is interesting.  It is the Greek word χειρόγραφον, cheirographon.

  • Certificate of Debt: cheirographon, "χειρόγραφον, ου n: a handwritten statement, especially a record of financial accounts (similar in meaning to γράμμαd ‘account,’ 33.39, but perhaps with emphasis upon the handwritten nature of the document) - ‘account, record of debts.’ ε’ξαλείψας τὸ καθ̓ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον ‘he canceled the record of our debts’ Col 2:14."1

When we break the law of God we sin (1 John 3:4). To break the law is to incur a legal debt (Matthew 6:12 with Luke 11:4). Jesus could not save us if he did not forgive us of all of our sins. Otherwise we would be in a state of salvation where all of our sins were not yet forgiven.  That would be ridiculous.

Therefore, Jesus bore all of our sins (past, present, and future), not part of them and when we trust in him.  All of our sins are forgiven.

 

 

 

  • 1. Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.