How do we know God forgives our past and future sins?


Jesus died for all our sins. First Corinthians 15:3 is clear on this point: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” But how can we know God has covered both our past and future sins?

Our past sins are forgiven the moment we come to faith in Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:13 teaches, “You, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Our “trespasses” are our sins. We like to remind people that all means all! There is no exception where you did something so bad in the past that God could not forgive your sin.

But what about future sins? We are called to live holy lives as believers and to flee from sin. However, we continue to make mistakes and sin as we live for God. When we do, we are taught to confess these sins to the Lord: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Even though we are called to confess our sins, we are also promised eternal life as believers. This means even our future sins are covered. First John 5:13 declares, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” We have certainty about our future home with the Lord and his forgiveness of our sins.

However, we should not view God’s mercy as an excuse to sin because he will forgive us for future wrongs. Romans 6:1–2 answers this question: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” If we truly believe in Christ, we will not continue to desire sinning. Instead, we view ourselves as servants of Christ, seeking to obey his will for our lives.

Living in sin as a believer can hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7), our health (James 5:16), our relationships with other people (Galatians 5:15), and our witness to the lost. It is often through the example of our walk with God that others are drawn to know more about Jesus and come to faith through him.

Pastor Erwin Lutzer uses a wonderful illustration to highlight how God forgives our sins. He says to imagine two roads. One road is smooth and the other is rough and filled with bumps. When a heavy snow falls, both roads are covered with white and look the same. God does the same thing with our sins. We may view our sins as small or large, smooth or rough, but the forgiveness of Jesus covers all our sins white as snow. As Isaiah 1:18 reminds us, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

Used by permission from 100 Bible Questions and Answers by Alex McFarland & Bert Harper; copyright 2021, Broadstreet Publishing Group, LLC.

Rev. Alex McFarland is heard daily on the American Family Radio network.  He directs Biblical Worldview for Charis Bible College, located in Colorado.  Alex speaks frequently throughout the U.S. To learn more visit

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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