Will God Forgive Me No Matter What?

Are there sins so vile that God cannot forgive? Will God forgive me no matter what? Is there anything that God will not forgive?

Borrowed Light
Published Feb 04, 2022
Will God Forgive Me No Matter What?

The townspeople called him “Shorty.” From all appearances, he had lived a relatively normal life. At least there was nothing incredibly vile or vulgar that stood out in comparison to the rest of the community. He was known as a “good ol’ boy.” That means he could be a rascal at times but for the most part, he was a decent fella who could be counted upon to at least contribute something to the society in which he lived. He probably had a few skeletons in his closet, but who didn’t? 

The local pastor, who oozed the gift of evangelism, came to Shorty’s house one Tuesday evening. A relatively new believer tagged along with the seasoned pastor. As the conversation proceeded everything seemed to carry along as you might expect in an evangelism textbook. Shorty acknowledged his sin and guilt before God. He wanted to be forgiven. He even believed that Jesus Christ was the Savior sent to redeem humanity from sin. Everything appeared to be marching towards the angels dancing, then it came to a screeching halt. 

“I don’t believe that God can forgive me for the things which I’ve done.” 

The tag-along startled, but the seasoned evangelist proceeded along with confidence. He already had these places marked off in his Bible. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…” Everyone underlined a few extra times for good measure. “See, there Shorty. You’re a someone. And the Bible says that Jesus can save you and forgive anything you’ve done.” 

Shorty was just as resolved as the evangelist. “It just don’t seem fair,” he said. Shortly liked the preacher’s message. He liked the idea of forgiveness and made a promise to start coming to church a bit more. But he didn’t feel like he was really ready for forgiveness. He didn’t do anything to show himself serious or worthy of forgiveness. He needed to try to clean up his act a little first, he thought. 

Are there sins so vile that God cannot forgive? Will God forgive me no matter what? Is there anything that God will not forgive? 

Will God Forgive Me? 

If given the chance today, I perhaps would take a different path in a conversation with Shorty. I would start by establishing whether or not God told the truth and whether or not Shorty thought God could lie. If we could nail that down I think we could then find a bit more help by going to Romans 10:13

There are several places in Scripture that speak of God’s intention to save repentant sinners. And many of them are tied to God’s character. One of these places is 1 John 1:9. There we read that “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Notice how John is tying our forgiveness to the character of God. 

The fact that God is faithful means that he never fails to respond consistently to our confession. But he’s not only faithful he is also just in forgiving us. It is consistent with His character and His justice to forgive us whenever we confess? God cleanses the one who asks for it. Always. You can take that promise to the bank. 

We know that God will forgive the repentant sinner because He has promised to do just this. The very character of God is tied to His forgiveness and cleansing upon our confession. If God would withhold forgiveness, then it wouldn’t simply be this poor soul who was severed from grace—it’d be every one of us. God Himself would be failing, and if that is the case nobody has hope. But what if the sin was really bad.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jon Tyson 

Are There Any Sins That God Will Not Forgive?

A few years ago, a frantic woman called my office fearing that she had committed a sin that marked her off from the possibility of grace. She had gotten a tattoo, a series of dots to commemorate children she had lost through miscarriage. Apparently, she had been exposed to false teachers who confused her with strange teachings about numerology and had convinced her that those tattoos ended up representing the mark of the beast (666). She was afraid that she was now marked as one to whom grace was no longer possible. 

This was not the only encounter I have had with a poor troubled soul who was afraid that they had sinned a bit too much—or had done something too unthinkable—that would keep them from the possibility of forgiveness. But the Scripture is clear, sin is no match for God’s abundant grace. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of all stripes. I’ve always appreciated these words from Charles Spurgeon: 

Suppose I could find out a sinner so vile that Jesus Christ could not reach him; why then the devils in hell would take him through their streets as a trophy; they would say, "This man was more than a match for God; his sin was too great for God's grace." What says the Apostle? "Where sin abounded"—that is you, poor sinner;—"where sin abounded"—what sins you plunged into last night, and on other [dark] occasions,—"where sin abounded"—what? Condemnation? Hopeless despair? No, "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound." I think I see the conflict in the great arena of the universe. Man piles a mountain of sin, but God will match it, and he upheaves a loftier mountain of grace; man heaps up a still huger hill of sin, but the Lord overtops it with ten times more grace; and so the contest continues till at last the mighty God plucks up the mountains by the roots and buries man's sin beneath them as a fly might be buried beneath an Alp. Abundant sin is no barrier to the superabundant grace of God.

Some trip up over the magnitude of sin—assuming that if a sin is too great then perhaps it will not be forgiven. Others trip over not the magnitude of sin but the timing of sin. It’s a somewhat common teaching within Christian circles to teach that suicide is an unforgivable sin. The logic is that because it is a sin and that sin cannot be repented of the person who commits this act will no longer receive forgiveness. After all, 1 John 1:9 does teach that IF we confess our sins…What happens if a sin is not able to be confessed? What happens if I die with unconfessed sin upon my record? 

I will admit that these questions are a bit more difficult to navigate than those who stumble over magnanimous sin. Yet, I still believe not only that Scripture is clear but also that the logic fails. Do you really believe that any of us will die with every sin confessed? If the logic holds for suicide it holds for any particular sin—no matter the depth of sin.    

What matters is our union with Christ. If we are connected to Jesus, then His record becomes ours. Period. During my senior year of high school, I was invited to a college party. It was for a particular fraternity that only members could attend. I wasn’t qualified to go to this party. Not only was I not a member of the frat, I wasn’t even a student at the college. Nothing within me said “qualified”. Yet, I happened to be friends with someone who was qualified. When we got to the door it wasn’t my credentials that mattered. It was my buddy’s credentials. All it took was my friend pointing to me and letting the bouncer know, “he’s with me.” The same is true of Christ. Nothing within us qualifies us to spend eternity with God. But Jesus says we get to go. Jesus says, “He’s with me”. And that is what matters. 

There is one sense in which repentance encompasses all of life. But there is another sense in which repentance, confession, etc. is a definitive act that unites us to Christ. So, are there sins that are not forgiven? I would say there is only one class of sin that isn’t forgiven; namely, those which are committed outside of being in union with Christ. Or to say that another way the only sins which aren’t forgiven are those which are not covered by the blood of Christ. And the only sins not covered by the blood of Christ are those which are by those who are not connected to him through faith and repentance. 

How to Ask for God's Forgiveness

There really are no magical words to ask for God’s forgiveness. God is not sitting in heaven waiting for us to utter special words. Isaiah 66:2 gives us a bit of an answer, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” It is a contrite heart that God is after. A heart that reaches out to God as a Father believing that He hears our prayer. 

But you’ve likely also been on the receiving end of an apology that isn’t an actual apology. “I’m sorry if I…” Or we can approach God with an attitude that thinks God must forgive us because that’s what He does. That’s not the type of contrition that marks a truly penitent heart.

There really is only one sinner’s prayer that I can find in the Scriptures and it’s in Luke 18:13, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I suppose you could also argue that Psalm 51 is another sinner’s prayer. I’ve counseled folks to use that as a model for asking God’s forgiveness. Just be honest. Tell God your heart. Be specific. Ask for mercy. 


I wish I could conclude this story by telling you that the evangelist and the new convert went back to Shorty’s house and he cried out to Jesus for forgiveness. But I cannot. In fact, I can’t even tell you that Shorty made an attempt to “clean up his act” or to start going to church. He didn’t. To my knowledge, he never cried out to the Lord for forgiveness. He never cried out “have mercy on me, a sinner” because he wasn’t convinced that God would actually save him. In the end, his pride got the best of him. 

Will God forgive me no matter what? 

Yes, if you ask him. As far as we know, Shorty died having never asked. Don’t be like Shorty. Cry out to God for forgiveness today.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AntonioGuillem

Mike Leake is husband to Nikki and father to Isaiah and Hannah. He is also the lead pastor at Calvary of Neosho, MO. Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and Jesus Is All You Need. His writing home is http://mikeleake.net and you can connect with him on Twitter @mikeleake. Mike has a new writing project at Proverbs4Today.


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