When God saves a sinner and forgives the sin of that person, He does not dip them in purple, or something like that, to show that that one’s sins are forgiven. Sin doesn’t appear as a physically black burden on one’s back as depicted in the allegory of Pilgrim’s Progress. Forgiveness doesn’t appear like a physical white robe covering a person. How do you know if your sins are actually forgiven by God?
Here are three affirmations from the Forgiver of sins on how you as a potential recipient of such forgiveness can know that your sins have been paid for by Christ and are no longer going to condemn you.
Your religious life matches your daily life. Holy on Sunday and ungodly on Monday is evidence of false holiness on Sunday. Those whose sins are forgiven will find that the times of dedications praise, worship, and fellowship are merely the culmination of a whole day of striving.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.1 John 1:6-7 (ESV)
You confess sin more readily than you ignore or excuse it. Sensitivity to sin, and faith in God’s justice to forgive is indeed the hallmark of true faith.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)
You trust Jesus’ work on your behalf. This sets true saving faith apart from all religious activities. You might feel that your sins are forgiven when you have worked really hard to be godly, but true forgiveness of sins doesn’t come because of what you have done; sins are only forgiven for Christ’s sake. If your faith is in Christ’s work to satisfy the wrath of God against your sins, then you can have assurance of forgiven sins.
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.1 John 2:12 (ESV)
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins1 John 4:10 (ESV)
Do you live like a Christian in all matters of life and worship? Are you sensitive to sin? Do you rely only on Jesus’s work for salvation from sin’s condemnation? Then you can know that your sins are forgiven and that you have eternal life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.1 John 5:13 (ESV)