Question: "How can I know that my future sins are forgiven?"
Answer: When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God forgives all our sins: past, present, and future. Forgiveness comes as a total package; God does not forgive us partially but wholly.
The believer in Christ can say, “My future sins are forgiven” for these reasons:
• When Jesus died, all of today’s sins were yet future. Jesus did not die only for the sins of people who lived before Him. He died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), including the sins of those who lived after Him.
• If our future sins are not forgiven, then two things must happen: 1) when we sin in the future, we revert to an unforgiven state, meaning we lose our salvation and must be saved again, and 2) Christ must die again to cover the sins we’ve committed since His last death. Neither of these scenarios is biblical. We are kept by God, and thus our salvation is secure (John 10:28–30); and Christ died “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10; cf. Hebrews 7:25).
• From the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). No other sacrifice would ever be needed. Sin—all sin—had been atoned.
• God’s purpose, which cannot be thwarted, is that His children be made perfect: “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29–30). Note that all of God’s actions are in the past tense, as if they had already happened.
• “We have been justified through faith” (Romans 5:1). When God justifies us, He declares us to be righteous. We still sin, but God’s declaration stands. The fact of our justification argues for the fact that our future sins are forgiven.
• “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nothing, not even our future sins, will condemn us. The verdict of “forgiven in Christ” has already been handed down from the divine bench.
• “Neither the present nor the future, . . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). The future cannot separate us from God’s love, even if there is sin in our future.
Of course, the fact that our future sins are forgiven in Christ should not make us flippant toward sin. No one can say, “My future sins are forgiven,” and then proceed to live a life of sin. Such an attitude is decidedly un-Christian: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1–2; see also 1 John 3:9).
The Bible teaches that, after salvation, we continue to sin (1 John 1:8; 2:1). We won’t reach sinless perfection this side of glory. The power of sin is broken, but, because we are still flawed humans living in a fallen world, we still at times give in to temptation. Our future sins, although ultimately forgiven in Christ, should still be confessed to God (1 John 1:9). Unconfessed sin, a sign of a disobedient, stubborn heart, will bring the Father’s discipline on His children (Hebrews 12:4–11).
When we sin, we don’t fear losing our salvation. At the same time, we understand that our sin does damage to our fellowship with the Heavenly Father and to our relationships with other people. We confess to God our future sins as we commit them for these reasons:
• We seek to walk in the light, as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).
• We strive for peace in the Body of Christ (James 4:1).
• We do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
• We want the joy of our salvation restored (Psalm 51:12).
• We desire to “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way” (Colossians 1:10).
• Our testimony matters. We are called to good works that glorify the Father. Our light should shine, not be hidden under a bowl (Matthew 5:14–16).
• We must “put to death . . . whatever belongs to [our] earthly nature” (Colossians 3:5). Confessing our sin to God is part of putting the old nature to death.
We are saved by grace through faith, and the moment we trust in Christ, we are made right with God. Our sins, including our future sins, were ultimately forgiven (Colossians 2:13), and our salvation is permanent.
The woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus in John 8. Rather than condemn her, Jesus offered her forgiveness: “Neither do I condemn you,” He said (John 8:11). Then He set her free, not with carte blanche to continue to sin, but with a command to cease from sinning: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He did not say, “Go now and do whatever you want.” Those forgiven by God have been called to a life of holiness.