Forgiveness without Repentance?

Forgiveness without Repentance?

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” - 2 Corinthians 7:10

People have always attempted to assuage the conscience without change in action. One of the popular methods is to praying for forgiveness, knowing full well that there is no intent to change actions, hoping that the act of asking for forgiveness will suffice. Sometimes people will further comfort themselves with a phrase similar to, “God knows my heart.”

We know that God calls all people everywhere to repent. When Peter was asked what we must do to be forgiven, he tells the audience to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, says that repentance leads to salvation. When Jesus talks to the churches in Asia Minor, He tells them to repent or He will remove their lamp stand. Repentance (a change of heart that leads to a change of actions) is a necessary part of forgiveness. How can we hope for forgiveness without a desire to change our actions? Remember the Hebrew writer’s words, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” - Hebrews 10:26-27

God always knows the heart. We also can know our hearts. Our hearts are shown by our actions. As Jesus said, “a tree is known by its fruits.” (Luke 6:44) Our actions will will follow after (flow from) our hearts. If we pray for forgiveness without a desire to change our actions, what does that really say about our hearts?