I’m a big fan of grace. I was so lost and separated from God, to be forgiven is a huge thing. He did it all. I couldn’t change on my own.
I think a lot about my sins and how God has dealt with them one by one, gently, in His own time. The usual way people are told to be Christians is to offer a sinner’s prayer, to repent and believe.
Repentance is clearly a requirement, but I don’t think it’s something we really do on our own. If it was, it would be a work, and there is no work that can save us. I believe God chooses who he chooses, gives them illumination – the ability to see Him and accept Him. He shows us our separation from Him, and that results in a desire to change.
Praying for forgiveness is something we do, but it’s not something we cultivate, it’s something He cultivates.
In 1 John 2:12 it says “I am writing to you, little children because for his name’s sake your sins are forgiven.” The perfect tense suggests that they were forgiven in the past, and this forgiveness remains effective in their lives. It doesn’t stop because we have unconfessed sins. Believers are disciples….they are constantly being shown areas of difficulty, and given the grace to deal with it. Progress, not perfection, as they say.
I believe we can forgive much if we are forgiven much. Christians sometimes are not very understanding of the members of the body who struggle more than they do, or with sins they don’t understand. I think it’s a good thing that I struggled with deep sin issues. It makes me more compassionate. Less judgmental. More like God wants me to be.