Acts 10:43: “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
In Christ, through faith in him, we might have our sins forgiven. This is a glorious and wonderful truth: through faith alone in Christ alone, we are justified—forgiven of all of our sins, and declared right before a holy God! Such is the good news of the gospel.
1 PRESUMPTION: ‘I don’t need to be forgiven of sin, because God is merciful and loving.’ This first kind of error presumes on the kindness of God, not knowing that the kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Everyone who has sinned— and that is everyone except for Jesus (Rom 3:23)—needs to have their sins forgiven, and this does not automatically happen to us all just because God is merciful and loving and kind. To assume this is to make the error of presumption.
2 WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS: ‘I contribute to my salvation and having my sins forgiven.‘ A works righteousness attitude believes that we in someway contribute to our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins by doing good works or works of penance. But this would make the work of Jesus Christ irrelevant or insufficient and it goes against the plain testimony of Scripture (Col 1:14). Forgiveness is only possible through Jesus Christ who paid for our sins, fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law for us (Romans 8:2-3).
3 EASY-BELIEVISM: ‘I said a prayer or intellectually agree that Jesus died for my sins, but my life does not show any evidence of repentance or holiness’. Faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17). True faith in Jesus Christ is accompanied by repentance of sin— a real turning away from sin, unbelief, and idolatry, and an active striving toward holiness and love for God and others. True faith does not lead to sinless perfection in this life, but shows itself in an active striving to live a holy life and the Holy Spirit bringing about fruit of holiness (Gal 5:22-23). Some have rightly said that faith and repentance are two-sides of the same coin.