“This is my son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5 – forgiveness begins and ends with Jesus, believing in him. Believing in Jesus is all the work there is to being forgiven. The price was paid on the cross by God himself through Jesus whom He made Lord. To believe the promise given to us through the prophets about Jesus, whom God sent to earth because of His great love for us. So determined was God to save the ones He loves that He sent His only begotten son into the world to die, so whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
When we believe the Word of God and listen to him – according to the Word of God, as written in John 3:5, unless a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:8 goes into detail about how we are when we believe and are baptized into the name of Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit.
But How do I Get forgiveness
When we are born through baptism and listen to Jesus and follow his commandments, we become spiritual sons and daughters of God. Literal children of God. Your sins will no longer be forgiven or corrected based on the law, but on the merit that you believed Jesus and become a child of God by baptism in the name of Jesus (father, son and holy spirit). Therefore you are treated as a son or daughter by God and your sins are treated as that of His child. In short, your sins are wiped away. Forgiveness is given to you. Any new sins you commit as you live and learn are corrected as a son or daughter (the many times David spoke of his delights in the rod of correction is real).
You will be corrected like a child when you commit new sins, even while your mind and heart is being renewed. But the decisions to follow the instructions will be yours – It is a really good idea to follow the good nudging of your conscience and constrain your “bad-ass” impulses.
That’s really it?
That is really it. That does not mean we won’t commit sins again – that means we have been granted forgiveness from whatever we have done. Like children as we learn and grow in the spirit we will be tempted to do any number of things and it will get ugly sometimes. But if you rely on the Spirit and on Jesus then you will win.
So then I can do whatever I want to do?
As Paul laments in 1st Corinthians 10:23; “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”. For the full meaning of this we only need to recall Jesus’ own word in Matthew 7:21 “not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven”. The elders say “The fear of God, that is wisdom – shunning evil, that is understanding”; makes sense when you let the words foment in your mind long enough.
You also want to STAY AWAY from misusing or blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:32).
The short answer is that you can do anything you want to do. You are free to live your life as you see fit, knowing your sins are forgiven when you believe in Jesus and are baptized. But it is better to live a pious life of brotherly love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, humility, faithfulness, and peace. After you have been saved and receive the spirit you are free to do as you please, but you may NOT want to purposefully continue to indulge sin – it may not end well. God loves those who show mercy and kindness; keep this in mind as you live.
Will you not sin again? I wish I could say no. It is a struggle until your heart begins to find the footpath Jesus keeps pointing you to, until we let him into our heart and we live in his heart. This, if you choose to follow the path will lead to more opening in you heart. If you are willing to continue learning more will be given to you, including the awareness of the guiding presence of the Lord – Believing in Jesus is the forgiveness of sin, the truth of the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life gives us all of this; nothing else we ever do will.
When you believe the word of God, your faith is the act of seeking forgiveness by praying or talking to God and asking for forgiveness through Jesus Christ the Lord. Be baptized and do your best to live a humble and peaceful and loving life. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. It will also benefit you to pick up the Bible and read it several times cover to cover – not just study the bits and pieces you get from the sermons. When you apply yourself to the education God offers through the Bible are far more beneficial to your heart and mind than any other bit of knowledge you will ever have. My Recommendation fr a Bible KJV (New English is cool) or the KJV with the Apocrypha. Mostly believe that your sins are forgiven when you ask. Trust that God has forgiven you because that is why He gave us Jesus as Lord and Savior.
There is no work or penalty to pay because there is nothing you can do to save yourself. Believing in Jesus is the work, because Jesus is the only salvation we are offered as a free gift of God’s grace.