Protestants, how are you certain your sins are forgiven?


To my Protestant Brothers and Sisters,

How are you certain that your sins are forgiven or loose? This question applies to Protestant Churches that have no Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession.

I know Catholics and Orthodox Christians are assured forgiveness when the priest act in the Persona Christi “Person of Christ” absolves and remove all your sins.

If a Protestant pray to God, how do they know their sins are loose?

I don’t see how this would fullfil Jesus Christ commandment.

In John 20:21–23, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Then he breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Yes I am aware of the universal priesthood but in John 20:21-23, Jesus addressed his 11 Apostles only, in later granted this gift to forgive sins to the Apostle of the Gentile, Paul, former Pharisee, and enemy of Christ’s Church.

I want to try to understand this from a Protestant. Is their sin covered or remove? If it is covered, then their sins are not really gone.

So then I ask, how are you certain that your sins are forgiven, if you fall into sin?


I think the idea is that when you repent, God looks into your heart to see if you are truly sincere, and if you are, then he answers your prayers for forgiveness by helping you curb your sinful tendencies in the future.

Sort of like going to rehab or something, I suppose.


Hi hope all is going well as it can for you …

To try to answer your question here goes, Im not good with terminology not having been raised in church, and attending several churches including catholic, I think I tend to cross over alot of thinking.

I went through this detailed before on confession, but for a nutshell I go to the Lord and confess my sins. If I have been honest and true He is just and forgives me. Then I am repentant and make amends for whatever it was, for example, if its changing me if it involved only me, or if someone else then going to them as well. Its not a process that can be left, God is fairly persistant and doesnt stop bugging you until your done.

Then there is communion, and confession before that, or you dont partake, you go and fix it or whatever needs to be done, then come back a sit at the table. I think this is the sacrament you mention. Reconcillation I guess is confession and amendment, not sure of the term.

If I would be struggling (which could be a pride of not letting go for example) I would be speaking to the Pastor about it, and praying together to seek repentance .

Generally, people dont just say oops sorry God then go about their way unrepentant and get away with it for long. God will deal with their heart and convict them. The only way to avoid His correction is to move away from Him.

I know the verse is used here to confirm confession with Preists. I havent studied it particulaly in the way you speak of. The only thing I know is I will be judged on how I have judged.

If I hold a grudge in my heart and dont forgive then I will never be free and hold onto that sin. But if I forgive freely as I have been forgiven, then the sin is gone, and I am truly free.

There is nothing more freeing than letting go and forgiving others, your mind is so clear after, it really feels like something is lifted from your soul.



God indeed know what is in your heart but it still doesn’t answer the question.

If you confess your sins to God you can only assumed that He forgave you and remove the sins.

The Jews themselves offer sacrifice in atonement of their sins when they fail to remain obedient to the Mosaic Law in the OT.

I don’t see how Protestant concept of forgiving sins can fullfill Jesus Christ’s gift of forgiveness of sins to his Apostles. It would only make sense if there is a mediator between God and the pentitent.


How do you know he forgives you? You give a good answer but it still does not answer the question. You could only believe or have to have faith in order to believe that God forgave you.

To me, it fits in the concept of sola fide, faith alone doctrine. For one there is no mediator between the pentitent and God. He can only guess that his sins are forgiven.

Unlike OT Jewish sacrifice which atone for the sins of the people, which makes certain that their sins are taken (if you are a Jew correct me).

The Catholic understanding is that Jesus established authority to the Apostles to forgive sins, not just the passage which I pointed out… Another passage is Matt 16:18-19… “bind and loose.”

I see the flaw in the Protestant concept of “removing sin from one self.”

Most Protestant would be believe that once you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, all yours sins, past, present and future are forgiven… Yet, I don’t see that find in Scripture itself. But that is another issue.

I still don’t see how this would fullfill the entire context of the Sacred Scripture on God’s forgiveness of sins. I only see partial truths, not fullness in what Jesus taught his Apostles.


Not a hard question to answer. You trust God to forgive your sins that same as you trust God for your salvation. It’s a simple as that.


But what’s the scriptural basis for it?


but how do you know your sins are forgiven? Could they not be retain as well? You can trust God but there is no assurance.

Unlike confession from both Catholic and Orthodox since the priest act “In the Person of Christ.” A pentitent man knows his sins are forgiven since Jesus speaking through the priest said, “I absolve you from all your sins, In the Name of the Father, In Of the Son, and Of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

A Protestant likewise when he repent. “God forgive me for I have sinned against you.”

There is a silence in that. Is your sin forgiven or not? How do you know that your sins has been cleanse from your soul?


There isn’t one.

Only the Catholic Church follow up on Jesus’ own word. "In John 20:21–23, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Then he breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Who in the Protestant Churches forgive and retain? You also must note that Jesus said this to His Apostles. “Received the Holy Spirit.” This is addressed to the Apostles, “if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any, they are retain.” So Jesus address “You” The Apostle to forgive others and remove sins.

Who in the Protestant Church act as an Apostle to forgive? The Orthodox and Catholic has priest who were ordain by the bishop who received this authority from the Apostles themselves, whom the Apostle received from the Mouth of Jesus.



1 Timothy 2

5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Hebrews 9

14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Galatians 3

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor

Hebrews 10

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever , sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.


**Hi Manny

If you have sin against God, what is wrong for you to confess to him directly? Example violate the commandment?? If you sin against others you confess your sin to them and seek for forgiveness. If you sin against your church, then confess to the pastor…etc…etc…

The heart to repent is the key elements of confession, although Catholics does have the sacrament of confession, but let alone not anyone have a repent heart even if they confess to a priest, and yet they believes that their sins have being forgiven. The priest will help to absorb the sin and pray for you, but the final forgiveness still comes from God, God forgiveness comes from he examine your heart of repent. Nobody can fool God…let alone no matter how a human can never be perfecture and don’t sin, yet God is so gracious and merciful that he will always forgiven you and wanted to help you to become a better person to aleast sin lesser, that is why we need Holy Spirit’s help. **


So you really depend on assumptions that your sin is cleanse from you?


You can quote Scripture all you want but like I said, how do you know?


Oh I agree completely :smiley: I’m just wondering what Protestants use as their Scriptural basis for their assertion that you do not need to confess to anyone but God.


By faith (trust in the work of Christ) I believe God’s character promivses forgiveness…do I know absolutely as a hard 2 + 2 fact? No…it’s taken on faith…I have faith that this God who knows me best, and loves me most. I’ll just place myself into His hands and trust in Him to do what He feels is best…I’ll be in the Best Hands possible…

“For I am perusaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him against that day.”


**Hi Manny

Yes the priest have the right to absorb all the sins, but did the bible mentioned we cannot confess to God and seek for forgiveness and our sin will not be forgiven if we never confess to the priest??**


Of course by faith, but you cannot take one and reject the other like the Passage in John 20:21-23. You have to accept ALL of what Jesus taught the Apostle.

To include confessing your sins to the Apostles and their successors. Base on what I noticed here, Protestant then to pick parts of the Bible but ignore all other passages that sound too Catholic like Matthew 16:18, John 20:21-23, John 6:51-67, James on faith without works is dead, and Peter’s “baptism saves you” just to name a few.

Since this is about forgiveness of sins, or the gift to forgive sins or retain them… We will stick to this discussion. Anyways, what if a Protestant lie in his heart and say, God forgive me. Does he assumed then that his sins is forgiven, or is it retain? For if he believe it is forgiven, he is deceiving himself…


First let me ask you a questions. How did the Jews in the OT atone for their sins? Cite the verse to in the OT.

To other Protestants please on hold so I can discuss this with happygal. I want to give her all my attention at this moment.


This is where we differ…my tradition claims “to live in that virtue of life which the apostles lived”…I know experientially…I don’t beleive in “apostolic sucession”…so it really has no meaning for me…having someone who claims to stand in the stead of Christ tell me my sins are forgiven means nothing to me…for all I know they could be carrying on a secret love affair outside the confessional…so for a man to tell me that I can know my sins are forgiven because he’s telling me so, would take a much greater act of faith on my part than to simply be willing to place myself in the Hands of the One I do trust…I’m ok with that…I will accept His judgement…“Though He slay me, still will I trust Him.”


and the question remains unanswered. :shrug:

I don’t see how Protestants can fullfill the passage in John 20:22. They just took the part of the passage completely out of the rest of the Bible.

Apostolic Succession is proven in History and in Scripture… so I am sadden that you do not see that God establish a Church who can forgive sins.

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