Forgiveness of sins embodies the fundamental truth held by the Christian believer in relationship to his sins is the fact that his salvation comprehends the forgiveness of all of his trespasses past, present, and future so far as condemnation is concerned (Romans 3:1; Colossians 2:13; John 3:18; John 5:24).
This is believed because Christ vicariously borne all sin and since the believer’s standing in Christ is complete, he is perfected forever in Christ. When the believer sins, he is subject to chastisement from the Father, but never to condemnation with the world (1 Corinthians 11:31, 32).
By confession the Christian is forgiven and restored to fellowship (1 John 1:9). It needs to be remembered that such forgiveness and restoration would not be possible if it was not for Christ’s death, resurrection, and heavenly intercession; it is held that the least sin would result in the person’s banishment from God’s presence and eternal damnation.
The first and main sacrament for the forgiveness of sins is Baptism. For sins committed after Baptism, Christ instituted the sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, by means of which the baptized person is reconciled with God and with the Church. The Church has the mission and power to forgive sins because Christ himself has given it to him: “Receive the Holy Spirit, to whom you forgive sins, they are forgiven, to whom you hold them, they are retained” (Jn 20 , 22-23).
The forgiveness of sins is a doctrine that goes back to the first biblical episodes. When the first couple sins, God forgives them by promising redemption in Christ as the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). In the theology of the Old Testament, God’s forgiveness is part of His mercy, which does not want death, but the eternal life of the sinner. Says the prophet Ezekiel: “You, son of man, say to the house of Israel: You have spoken thus, saying: Our transgressions and our sins are on us, and because of them we are consumed, how, then, shall we live Say to them: As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I do not want the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and that he should live, turn around, turn from your wicked ways, why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33: 1 0-11) However, the forgiveness granted by God in the old dispensation was different from that obtained through Christ. That was occasional, partial, “because without shedding of blood” there is no true forgiveness of sins “(Hebrews 9:22).
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Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, p. 377