For some, there is an internal thought mechanism that bargains with God when they ask for forgiveness. “If you forgive me, I will never do it again.” “I will make it up to You!” “Please give me another chance.” It is in this thought process that one finds sabotage waiting to happen. If this is you, how do you intend not to do it again? Just how are going to make up for it? If you failed the first time, how do you propose not to fail a second or third time? None of us is greater than Jesus; therefore, it would be an insult to Him to bargain. The basis of our forgiveness is the Blood of Jesus. We all want to do better, but in the realm of God, we cannot “do better.”
Repentance is not making up for something the Blood of Jesus already paid for. Repentance is a change of heart and thought process. When our hearts are fully converted and we think in the manner of the Lord, our behavior modifies. Frankly, there is no making up for anything; that would be dead works. Jesus simply says, “Sin no more.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (KJV). When we were made new creatures in Christ Jesus, we were not given a “do-over;” we were given a new beginning void of a sinful past. We have a fresh beginning. The closest we can get to making up for anything is simply doing things God’s way.
Stop trying to imagine what the right way is, and find out from Him what it truly is. Holiness and righteousness are spiritual principles, which means we need the Holy Spirit to teach us what they mean (see 1Coirnthians 2:9-16). We cannot try to live holy and righteously by our standards and hope we are doing things right. We must yield ourselves completely to the Lord and let Him lead the way.
We need to desire the sincere milk of the Word in order to grow, and we need it for instruction in the ways of righteousness (see 1Peter 2:2; 2Timothey 3:14-17). As we spend time in the Bible, the Father is able to reveal to us the way He thinks through the Holy Spirit. At the same time, our thought process begins to conform to His. Let it be clear, in order for that to happen we all must spend time in it, and desire the Truth. A person is not being spiritual by ignoring the discipline of study and simply hoping the Holy Spirit will instruct him without the Word. There is a vast difference between those who have no access to one by virtue of circumstances and those with Bibles collecting dust on the coffee table. This is not to be confused with reading for the sake of reading, which becomes dead works. Indeed, spending time with the Father in His Word leads to true spirituality. Do not read the Bible to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s.” You cannot earn “brownie points” in the Kingdom. Read to know Him and His ways.
If you are in need of God’s forgiveness, humbly receive it through faith. He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness, and complete the work He began in you (see 1John 1:9; Philippians 1:6). He gets all the glory. So, if the Blood of Jesus eradicated our sins, what is there to make up for? The sin is no longer a consideration in God’s eyes. If you truly repented, move on, He made you worthy. If you are trying to hide behind grace and are planning to sin again, that is an entirely different thing. When you finally come to your senses, you still will not be able to make up for it.
One final thought: should the time come that someone asks us for forgiveness, we need to be as our Father in heaven. No one can earn our forgiveness; we extend it freely. Neither do they have anything to make up for once we do because we have released them, which in turn give them the freedom to interact with us. Freely we have received, freely we should give.