Thankfully, Christ died on the cross to provide an abundance of forgiveness for your and my entire life when we confess. One thing, however, the equation of confession and forgiveness does NOT include is a never-ending debt of penitence for a lifetime.
Some years ago, I found myself doing a jail term of penitence because someone accused me of doing something I was not totally responsible for. I said I was sorry and asked for forgiveness. It was a couple years later that God gave me this verse, I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I took from that there is a point of confession and a point of forgiveness. God does not ask me to wallow for days and weeks and months or even years begging for forgiveness. No, I confess and my Savior forgives.
Since that time, I fall back into the mindset of penitence from time to time. However, just because someone had given me a life sentence of penitence, does not mean that I have to serve that sentence. But I found myself through the years trying to do something amazing for the individuals involved so that the life sentence of penitence would be lifted.
Penitence keeps us indebted forever. Forgiveness washes away our sins and wrong doing in the sea of things forgotten. God is faithful to each of us and reminds us that sins confessed are forgiven by Him even though others do not forgive us. We have to allow the change to happen in our spirit just like the caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly. This happens when we understand and partake of the great and bountiful forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.
My goal and desire is to live my life in freedom in mind, body and spirit. To do this I must remind myself that God’s forgiveness covers me continually. This is not only true for myself but for all God’s children. We do not have to spend our life doing penitence when God’s forgiveness flows like a river at flood tide.