I saw this comment online that reads : “Why do we teach that a person must continue to ask for forgiveness for sins that God is not counting against us and for which no sacrifice remains that God requires or accepts (2 Corinthians 5:19; Hebrews 10:17-18)?”.   I know that we can’t deliberately keep on sinning (Hebrews 10:26-27) but for some reason I can’t think of the right answer to the reason why we would have to ask for forgiveness of sins if God has already forgiven them through Christ as the post I quoted seems to be asking.


This is actually a very good question. My answer is that, in principle, a Christian does not need to pray to God asking for forgiveness of sins.  It would be like someone giving me their car and then afterward I ask them repeatedly to give me their car. They might respond: I already gave it to you!  Stop asking!   I hope that no one has taught you that you need to ask for forgiveness if you are a Christian.
The verse I like to use for this question is 1 John 1:5-10.  Here we are told that if we walk in the light as he is in the light he forgives all of our sins.  Therefore we do not need to ask.  It also says here that we should confess our sins.  I believe here John is talking about confessing to God.  In this case, I believe that we are not confessing our particular sins so much as confessing that we are sinners, in continual need of forgiveness.  In other words, we are not asking for forgiveness, but acknowledging to God that we certainly need his continued forgiveness.
My conclusion is that is absolutely appropriate to pray to God thanking him for forgiving our sins, but it really does not make sense for a Christian to pray asking to be forgiven, as we are already forgiven.  I suggest you not get too worried if people pray the wrong prayer in this case. I am sure God understands, but if you have a close friend who prays this prayer, you may want to correct his or her incorrect theology. If you are given the opportunity in a public setting to teach on this question, I suggest you clear up the confusion for your hearers.
John Oakes

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