How Can I Know God Has Forgiven Me?

William C. Brownson

READ : 1 John 1:5-10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. (v. 9)

Question: God is love, but how do I know that he has forgiven me? (from the Netherlands)

Answer: How can we know God has forgiven us? We can’t forget the wrongs of the past, and they tear at our heart. We wish we could live those years all over again. Will we ever be free of such haunting thoughts?

At the heart of the gospel lies the reality of forgiveness. For this Christ died and rose again, that all who believe in him may be freely forgiven. When we confess our sins, trusting in Jesus as our Savior, we can be absolutely sure that we are forgiven. That assurance is not based on any worthiness of ours, or any emotional feeling that we have been forgiven, but purely on God’s promise.

Whenever we wonder if we are forgiven, or begin to doubt, we need to go back to promises like this one in 1 John 1:9-10. We need to plant our feet by faith on what God has said, and rest on his sure Word that we are indeed forgiven.

We can have trouble forgetting the wrong things in our past. We all wish we could go back and begin again. But the only way open to us is to confess our sins, accept God’s forgiveness in Christ, and move on. The vital thing is to trust that God in Christ is faithful and just to forgive us completely and forever.


Thank you, gracious Lord, for your sure promise of forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Amen.