Nothing could be more important than obtaining the forgiveness of sins. All men have sinned (Romans 3:23), therefore this is a need for everyone. The reason forgiveness is so important is that it separates mankind from God,
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:2).
Simply put, the separation from God that sin causes occurs not only here but also in eternity. Forgiveness is all about being reconciled to God. It allows us to have a right relationship with Him again. The Bible offers two ways for being forgiven of sin. One plan is for those who are not God's children. The other plan is for those who are already His children (Christians). Let us take a look at each plan.
If a person is not a child of God then he needs to believe in God and His Son, Jesus (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:9-10). Upon learning that Jesus died so that we can have the forgiveness of our sins one needs to determine to change his life from serving self and unrighteousness, to that of serving God and righteousness. The Bible calls this repentance, which means to turn away from sin.
I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God... (2 Corinthians 7:9). Godly sorrow, which is sorrow about living a sinful, disobedient life, causes one to determine not to live in that kind of way any more. Repentance is essential to becoming a child of God (see Acts 2:38).
When a person has faith in Jesus as the son of God he will want to confess that faith publicly.
As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' (Acts 8:36-37). This public statement of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is known as confession and it is also essential to salvation (Romans 10:10).
Finally, a person must be baptized for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins. Paul, before he became a Christian, was told,
Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. (Acts 22:16). The purpose of baptism is to wash away sins, or in other words that your sins may be forgiven. We read in Acts 2:38,
Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
This does not deny that our sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7). We are also saved by the gift of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8). Baptism, like faith, repentance and confession are obedient acts demonstrating our willingness to subject ourselves to Jesus. While required, none these acts obligates God to forgive us our sin. It is still God's grace that ultimately saves us. The point is that God has instituted a plan for how man may access that grace. Baptism is part of that plan.
While the world often accepts faith, repentance and confession, it overlooks baptism. This is a mistake, because baptism is essential to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). Paul wrote,
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27).
But what do God's children do when they sin (and they will). Is it necessary to be baptized again and again? No, the Bible tells us that God's children may repent of that sin, confess or admit that sin, and pray to God for forgiveness. Upon so doing, God will forgive that sin:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). In Acts 8:18-24, we read an example of this in action. Remember, praying for the forgiveness of sins is reserved for those who have already obeyed the earlier explained Gospel plan of salvation and become children of God (1 Peter 3:12; John 9:31).
The Bible is clear in telling us what we must do in order to have our sins forgiven. Are you willing to submit your will God? Can we help you become right with God?