Forgiveness of all our sins is one of the beautiful mysteries of the Christian faith. Firstly, how can God possibly forgive such rebellious and flawed people? And secondly, how can Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross be sufficient to cover past, present, and future sins? Our answer lies both in Scripture and in exercising a bit of logic.
Let's look at one of the most beloved passages about our salvation, 1 Peter 1:3-12. Go ahead and click that link to read it now. It's not long, but it's too long to quote here. 😉
Our inheritance as God’s children is a glorious thing that lasts FOREVER. As verse 4 says, our salvation and adoption into God's family is "imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." This is an eternal promise from God, and He doesn't break His promises!
To be clear, what we're talking about in this article is forgiveness in relation to our eternal salvation. The Bible still tells us that "if we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). This practice is how we maintain a good relationship with God day to day. (See: Do I have to keep confessing to God for forgiveness?)
How can God forgive us for all time when there is a 100% chance we'll sin again after we have accepted Christ as our Savior (1 John 1:8; Ecclesiastes 7:20)? Yes, God knows we're going to fail, but He forgives us anyway. That's how much He truly loves us. Romans 5:8 says that "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." It's mind-boggling because we, as human beings, have a hard time understanding such a depth of unconditional love.
The fact that we will mess up in the future is no surprise to God. He knows everything from the minutest details of your life to everything happening everywhere in the universe (1 John 3:20). He knows when a sparrow falls or when we've lost a single hair (Matthew 10:29-30). He knows everything that has happened and will happen from the beginning to the end of time (Isaiah 46:9-10). He knows our every thought before we can even form words to express them (Psalm 139:4). He knew us in the womb, knows what's happening in our hearts now, and knows our future (Psalm 139:1-3, 15-16; 1 Kings 8:39; Jeremiah 29:11). Our past, present, and future sins are not hidden from His sight.
God's complete omniscience proves He was fully aware we would sin again even after we accepted the gift of His Son's sacrificed life. He knew it and made allowances for it, so Christ would not need to die again and again. Jesus died ONCE for all people throughout all of time (1 Peter 3:18)—even those who hadn't been born yet and would sin in the future (like you and me!). (Also see Romans 3.)
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." — John 3:16
Let's look at this logically... All that is required for eternal life is belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the punishment we deserve due to our sinfulness. Thus, if we believe, then we will experience eternal life with God after dying a physical death. That death could occur in the next minute after receiving salvation or decades later, but the gift is still ours, no matter what past, present, and future sins occur before that time.
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." —Romans 8:38-39 (emphasis mine)
This passage makes it very clear that salvation cannot be revoked for any reason, including anything that happens in the future. Once our inheritance is received, it is written on our hearts with indelible ink. Even when we sin in the future, our salvation is secure (1 Corinthians 1:8).
Ephesians 1:13 says that the Holy Spirit, who is received by every believer the moment they accept Christ, is a "seal" or an official mark that indicates to whom our soul truly belongs. Nothing we can do will ever be bad enough to erase that seal or mess it up or get it taken away. It's there forever, which, logically, tells us that our future sins will not mar our seal or get between us and our salvation through Christ. Thus, we conclude that our future sins are also covered by Jesus' one-time sacrifice.
God's forgiveness of past, present, and future sin is a crazy, beautiful thing that we have a hard time truly fathoming because our love and ability to forgive wrongdoings are such a far cry from God's incredible love and His ability and power to forgive.
Yes, all our sins are forgiven—past, present, and future. All that is required for eternal life is belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the punishment we deserve due to our sinfulness (1 Peter 3:18). If we believe, then we will experience eternal life with God after dying a physical death. That death could occur in the next minute after receiving salvation or decades later, but the gift is still ours, no matter what sins may occur. Since no one is without sin, we know we'll sin again (1 John 1:8), but salvation cannot be revoked for any reason—not even future sins (1 Peter 1:4; Romans 8:38-39).
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, four socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.