If you’ve ever sat through any type of “altar call” in a “church,” you have undoubtedly heard the drill—you are told to come forward to pray a sinner’s prayer and ask forgiveness for all of your sins. Usually, if one does that, he will be told that, at that moment, he was saved, and all of his sins were forgiven.
If that is true, then why are you told by that same “church” that you must keep up with your repentance, asking forgiveness for any sins that you commit? There’s a very easy explanation for it: that whole christianese construct is based on error (otherwise known as “lies”).
One of the primary reasons for it is that the various English translations of the scriptures call several different things from the original languages “sins.” Those different words in the original texts have different meanings, but the man-made translations call them all by the same thing: “sins”, and a gross conflation then emerged wherein there is no distinction between the sin (singular condition) that applies to justification (salvation), and the many sins (plural works) that affect sanctification (holiness).
The average christian will vehemently proclaim that “all sin is sin,” but the scriptures certainly suggest otherwise. There is a sin that leads unto death, and it is singular—it is actually a condition scripture refers to as “unbelief,” and is the condition into which all humans are born, thanks to Adam. It is the condition of having a dead spirit that needs to be resurrected to newness of life. That is the only sin that condemns (John 3:18, Hebrews 3:19). We’re told that the eternal lake of fire is “the second death,” however, the dead spirit that man is born with because of Adam is “the first death.”
There is no other sin that has anything to do with the unbeliever, as the unbeliever is condemned already for his unbelief. And, who is an unbeliever? From an eternal perspective, it is the person who does not have the Holy Spirit, as believers are those who have the Witness (Greek: “evidence”) in them (1 John 5:10).
So, those who have the Holy Spirit are the children of Yah, and it is they who are told they should crucify their flesh, and avoid its sins (those things listed in Galatians 5:19-21); but, they are the “sins not leading unto death.”
Those who have the seal of the Holy Spirit (Messiah’s bride) possess no risk for ever being sent to hell, as they have already been given eternal life. That’s why Paul declared that all things were lawful for him—because, for the one who is eternally sealed, there is no sin of the flesh he can commit that would ever condemn him to hell.
If, because of salvation, all sins were forgiven and forgotten, then what would be the purpose of reward? Eternal reward will be given on the basis of denying the flesh—those who crush the most flesh produce the most oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Those who choose not to crush their flesh will yield the least amount of light. The whole purpose of eternal reward is tied to that denying of the flesh vs. gratifying the flesh.
So, when christianity ties salvation to not committing sins of the flesh, it presents a false salvation of works, for only those who have been made righteous (something that can only be received as a gift, for it cannot be earned), can make themselves holy. The righteous will all be in heaven, but those who make themselves holy (deny the flesh) will receive the greatest reward.
That is why the thief on the cross did NOT ask for forgiveness for any SINS. He did not have to show his changed life as evidence of salvation. He was saved the same way anyone is ever saved: by believing in Yahoshua the Messiah and confessing Him before others, and then awaiting the confirmation that one has been saved.
To repent of unbelief is to believe. That is the only repentance that makes one able to be saved.
For more information: The Way of the Thief