“Can I Be Forgiven?”

Serving Jesus
14 min readJun 19, 2020


God promises that anyone who wants to be forgiven can be forgiven, if they choose His Son Jesus. We are saved through confession of sins and faith in Jesus, believing He died for our sins and rose again (Romans 10:9–13). Let’s look at some common doubts, and answers from the Bible:

1. “My past is too sinful”

Can you be forgiven if your past is very sinful? Yes! Here are some promises you can stand on:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9

“Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” — 1 Timothy 1:15

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” — Psalm 103:11–14

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 6:23

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” — Isaiah 55:7

“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9

If there is anyone that was hurt as a result of your choices, God is able to heal them. (And if you’re still in contact, apologize and find ways to show love.)

What about sexual sins?

Jesus reached out to people who lived that kind of lifestyle. This story is an example of Jesus’ forgiveness:

Luke 7: 36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

2. “I’m too ashamed of myself to be in God’s presence.”

When Peter met Jesus and saw Him do a miracle, he said “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Then Jesus said “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” Peter was a sinner and he knew it, and his shame shows in the words he spoke. Yet Jesus accepted him and gave him a ministry. It was when they were catching fish, and Jesus related it to “fishing” for people through preaching (Luke 5:8–10).

Later on, Peter failed by denying Jesus, and still Jesus forgave him, and gave him a new ministry! (John 21:15–19)

If you have been born again as a child of God, He does not even associate you with your past; He has completely removed it from your record. Psalm 103:12 promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Shame can keep you distant from God and hinder you from praying, but realize that He is ready to accept you, as Jesus described the father who welcomed his prodigal son in Luke 15.

For some people, it can be hard to trust in God’s acceptance while also feeling undeserving, but we need to separate the two concepts; He is ready to accept us, even though we are undeserving. He “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

Meditate on His promises of forgiveness from the Bible, and go to Him in prayer, thanking Him for those promises. Acknowledge that you are not good, but He is good.

3. “I think I committed the unpardonable sin”

Read Matthew 12:22–37. Jesus was speaking to non-believers who were rejecting Him and wanting to kill Him. When He warned them about the unpardonable sin, they didn’t listen. They went on to kill Him anyway.

In John 12, Jesus gave another warning to non-believers. If they continued rejecting the light, they would be left in darkness. You are not in that situation if you believe Jesus’ words. Even the fact you’re concerned about Jesus’ warning (about blasphemy) proves you do believe Him!

The Bible promises that anyone who wants to be saved can be saved. So logically, the only people who will not be saved are the ones who would never come to Jesus, including those who have become totally hardened (John 5:40; 2 Thessalonians 2:12).

You don’t have to worry about a partially hardened heart, because actually that is the normal state of anyone before salvation. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Is the unpardonable sin possible today? A good case can be made for it not being possible today, but we don’t have to know the answer as long as we know the other truth, that anyone who wants to be saved through Jesus can be saved. There is a 100% solid offer of salvation in Revelation 22:17:

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whoever will [desires], let him take the water of life freely.”

Romans 10:13 is a similar promise: “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

You might be thinking, “But that doesn’t apply to everyone, because some are unforgivable.” That type of reasoning makes God’s promises unstable, yet there is no contradiction in the other view; the people who are “unforgivable” are the ones who would never, ever, come to Jesus.

So how can anyone know when they’ve gone too far? They wouldn’t care, because at that point they do not have any interest in being saved through Jesus.

Therefore, anyone who wants to trust in Jesus can claim the promises of salvation.

Please read this testimony of someone who thought they committed the unpardonable sin, but found peace with God:


4. “Can I be saved after rejecting Jesus for so long?”

Some worry that rejecting Jesus is the unpardonable sin. In a way, it’s true that rejecting Jesus is unpardonable, but only if someone dies in that state. I believe it’s possible for someone to harden his heart over time, through repeatedly rejecting Jesus, but it’s not likely that someone would be hardened beyond belief the first time they don’t accept the gospel. As I said in the previous point, your concern shows that you believe Jesus. And if you believe Jesus and want to be saved, the offer still stands.

Before Paul was saved, he did reject Jesus, even to the point of persecuting Jesus’ followers. Yet God saved him!

Think on these verses:

“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” — Romans 10:13

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” — Revelation 22:17

“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9

5. “I’m saved and sinned on purpose”

In 1 Corinthians 5, a man was living in sin and had to be rejected by the church: “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Notice he was not only turned away from the church, but apparently had to suffer physically, in order “that his spirit may be saved.” And it worked! He was restored in 2 Corinthians 2. God knew how to get his attention!

God is working on you, and if you slip, He will help you get back on track. Hebrews 12:5–11 says He disciplines us as children, and that is a good thing; it shows His faithfulness.

Psalm 51:17 is reassuring: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart — these, O God, You will not despise.” (In context, this is David’s prayer after the sins of adultery and murder.)

If you’re saved and sinned on purpose…

First, choose to let go of sin. Choose to never tolerate any known sin in your life. Slipping up is not the same as disobeying on purpose.

Then realize that God can truly give you power and transform your life, so you will no longer be in bondage to sin (1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:16–24).

Then don’t think about falling, because if you think it’s an option, it will be easier to fall into. It’s best to keep your eyes only on Jesus.

6. “I can’t repent”

If you feel like you can’t bring yourself to a place of repentance, there are two things you can do:

(1) Make a decision for Jesus anyway! Don’t wait until you feel sincere enough. Come to God confessing you don’t feel sincere. Tell Him you’re not wholehearted but you’re going to take Him by faith anyway. Say “I am not good, but You are!”

(2) Meditate on the truth.

Meditation is focusing your attention on one thing. Sometimes it requires repeating over and over. The more you think about something, the more it sinks in to your mind and heart.

Think about eternity compared to this short life. It’s only a few temporary things and your life is short. Remind yourself of all the reasons to serve God:

Spiritual blessings in this life.

Physical blessings in eternity.

Spiritual blessings in eternity.

Think on those three things over and over until you’re motivated by them. Don’t say you can’t do it. You have a choice to think on those things, and as you do, your mind will change!

As the song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

7. “I don’t have enough faith”

You may worry that you can’t be saved because you have lingering doubts that Jesus truly rose from the dead. You have faith, but you worry that it’s not “enough” because it’s imperfect.

Even if you don’t have absolute knowledge, faith is about opening your heart to the knowledge you do have.

Faith is not the absence of all doubt, but it’s enough belief to take action by calling on Jesus. Someone told me this isn’t true, because faith is “substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1); and to her that meant perfect knowledge, and therefore she is not saved, at least that was her conclusion. What is really the “substance” and “evidence”? In the rest of the chapter, the substance is action, or a choice. Abel’s faith was shown through the act of sacrifice. Enoch’s faith was shown through his prayer-walks. Noah’s faith was shown in building the ark. Sarah “judged Him faithful who promised”- she turned her eyes to His faithfulness (that was an act of justifying God). Abraham showed faith through his surrender of Isaac. All the examples are about choices that people made.

In the Bible we see believers with imperfect faith. Apparently they had not fully opened their hearts to God’s promises and power; they let their own reasoning get in the way. Still, He answered them.

Jesus’ disciples had enough faith to call on Him for help during the storm at sea, but not enough to calm their fears. They had enough faith to follow and serve Jesus, but not enough to cast out a demon. They had enough faith to honor Jesus at His death, but not enough to quench all doubt at the time of His resurrection. In all these cases, Jesus did not forsake them.

In Mark 9, a man asked Jesus to help his son. He said, “I believe; help my unbelief.” Then Jesus healed his son. It doesn’t say that Jesus answered by giving him faith; He didn’t wait for him to believe more. He answered the request when the man had imperfect faith.

Naaman went to Elisha’s house for healing (not to be confused with Elijah) and was told to wash himself in the river. When he turned from Elisha’s house in frustration, he was in a state of unbelief. Then he changed his mind and obeyed by dipping in the water- that was a state of belief, enough to take action, although as far as we can see it was imperfect faith. And he was healed!

Barak had imperfect faith in Judges 4:8, yet he had took action, and that was enough faith for him to be mentioned in Hebrews 11:32.

When the Israelites were dying of a disease because of their sin, God told Moses to make a bronze serpent (a picture of sin) so anyone who would go and look at it, would be healed. The requirement was to go and look. It had to be enough faith that they would choose to walk over and look, although they may have had some doubt in their minds. Who wasn’t healed? The people who didn’t go and look. Their lack of faith was rebellion, a refusal to take action on God’s command. In John 3:14, Jesus made this story a parallel to His own offer of salvation, and that is reassuring to know that He simply wants us to look at His sacrifice for us.

Who were the people Jesus did not help? Those who didn’t receive the knowledge they were given, and rejected Jesus instead. This is crucial to understand. What does God consider unbelief? The act of rejecting Jesus. Matthew 13:57–58 says, “And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” In other words, a prophet has honor except in his own country; Jesus was rejected by those in his hometown. And their unbelief was not simply faith mixed with doubt; there was no faith but only refusal to believe. It was a conscious choice.

Faith for salvation is the act of opening your heart and calling on Jesus. Confess your imperfect faith, and yet realize that He accepts you as long as you come and call on His name. “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When you call on Jesus, you are obeying, and that is faith (Romans 16:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). God is unchanging! In the same way He answered believers in the past, He will answer you.

8. “My heart feels hard”

That in itself shows something- you don’t want a hard heart. With your WILL, you do want to be saved and you don’t want to turn your back on God.

If you feel hard, He can change that! Your part is just to be willing; you don’t have to change your heart and life yourself. He does that when you make a conscious decision to let Him in.

Pray through a prayer for salvation, out loud. Even if you have no feelings behind it, pray again and again. Your words will change your thoughts. So make a decision for God even if you have zero motivation, and repeat it over and over until you mean it 100%.

Especially when God sees you take that step, He is going to do His side of things and start working in your heart again.

Pray like the repentant man in Luke 18:10–14.

Worried you’re not sincere? Don’t focus on being sincere! It’s not about your goodness; it’s about God’s goodness. In prayer, tell Him “I’m not good enough, I’m not even sincere enough. But You are.”

8. “I’m afraid of God”

It doesn’t help to run away in fear. Whether you face your fears or not, God is in control. Isn’t it better to be on His side?

When you turn to God’s Word, you’ll find He wants to forgive and accept you. Yes, the Bible tells the consequences of sin, but it also tells God’s grace in sending Jesus so we could be saved. As the song “Amazing Grace” says, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”

9. “God wants to punish me.”

No, He doesn’t want anyone in hell!

“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” — Ezekiel 18:23

“For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!” — Ezekiel 18:32

“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9

“[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” — 1 Timothy 2:4

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” — John 1:29

10. “I don’t feel God’s presence like I used to.”

This doesn’t mean you’ve lost your salvation! It could mean there is something God wants you to change, so spend time in prayer seeking God’s will (key word: time).

God may be disciplining you temporarily, but He loves to forgive.

“For His anger is but for a moment, in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:8

OR it could be a way of helping you grow in faith or humility. This man tells his experience, how God showed him it was necessary to go through a “dry” time, and it was not because of sin. (Long video; start about halfway through.) https://youtu.be/buSK0DM1sG4?t=1920

11. “I’m so guilty that I need to pay for my own sins.”

Tragically, sometimes when people feel like they’ve failed in a relationship, they leave simply because of how they’ve hurt the other person, even when the other person wants them to stay. If you’ve hurt your spouse and he/she is willing to be with you, don’t leave because of your own shame. Decide you’re going to do whatever it takes to do right from now on. Leaving is a selfish choice.

It’s the same in our relationship with God. That kind of response is not humility but rejection of God. He commands you to repent (Acts 17:30). And when you do, He will forgive.

Final thoughts

Don’t fear but trust in God’s promises! Fear has a way of becoming a downward spiral, making us feel farther from God. I’ve read stories of people who thought they lost their salvation, or thought they waited too long to be saved, and they felt lost in fear and despair.

Forgiveness is found through Jesus who died for our sins. If you are truly sorry for sin and you want a relationship with God, you can be saved!

Simply turn your life to Jesus and let Him have control.



Serving Jesus

I’m a follower of Jesus, wife, and mother, and I share the gospel through online ministry.