How do I receive forgiveness from God?

All people have sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23) and stand in need of God's forgiveness. How do we receive forgiveness from God?

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the source of forgiveness of sins: "Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" (Acts 13:38)

How can we be forgiven from our sins? First, we acknowledge we are sinners. First John 1:8 teaches, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Second, we confess our sins to God. First John 1:9 teaches, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God desires to forgive us (2 Peter 3:9) and has made a way for us to be forgiven through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Third, we trust in Jesus Christ by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." We do not earn forgiveness through our works. Instead, we believe in Jesus by faith and receive His free gift of eternal life.

How can you believe in Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness of sins? Romans 10:9 teaches, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Salvation happens when you believe Jesus is Lord and accept that He died for your sins and resurrected from the dead.

But what if you are already a Christian? Being a Christian is not a license to sin, but does mean that sins you commit after becoming a believer are also forgiven. But when Christians do sin, we should still confess those sins and turn from them. First John 1:9 applies to Christians, too. As Christians we are called to live righteously (John 14:15; 15:9-11; 1 Peter 1:13-16) for God and His purposes for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).

Do you want to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive His forgiveness and free gift of eternal life? You can do it now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is one you can use to ask for forgiveness and accept salvation:

"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. I can never make up for my sins against you through my own actions or reach heaven by my own good deeds. But you have provided a way for me to receive forgiveness. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who died for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."

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