This is a beautiful portrait of confessing sin and trusting in God’s forgiveness. Likewise, the New Testament gives another picture of what it is like to turn from our sins and to God.
Here is the full story:
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:11–32, NIV)
Did King David, or the younger son in the story, think that confessing his sins to God would be the moment before the hammer falls, leading to a merciless God’s punishment? Not at all! Rather, turning from our sin in repentance and confession brings great joy to God. When we agree with Him that we have sinned and cast ourselves on Him like a little child, He is overjoyed!
You can place your trust and faith in Yeshua by means of voicing a prayer like this one (silently or aloud). Of course, it’s not the recitation of a prayer that brings us salvation, but what the prayer expresses of your heart’s desire:
“Dear God, I confess that I have sinned against you many times and I want to turn from my sins by trusting in Yeshua as my atonement and sin-bearer. I believe you provided Jesus as the full payment for my sin. Today I give my life to you. I surrender my life to become your follower and receive you into my life as my Lord and savior. Thank you God for cleansing me of sin and for sealing my name in your book of life forever. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Help me to trust you and follow you every day. Amen.”
Remember, Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37). God’s love has made a provision for your and my sin, and by putting our faith in Yeshua, we are promised that He will never abandon us.
Not only are our sins forgiven through Jesus, but the New Testament also frequently speaks of faith or trust in him as leading to eternal life:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)
(Yeshua speaking) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24, NIV)
“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” (John 6:47, NIV)
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23, NIV [adapted])
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13, NIV)
What a wonderful gift—to be cleansed from our sins and to enjoy life with God forever! There is one more thing about faith that bears repeating: it is simple, childlike trust, the kind of trust reflected in the prayer above. We don’t earn forgiveness from sin, or a relationship with God, or eternal life, by being “good people” or by somehow conjuring up a certain feeling. We cannot “buy” this relationship. It is not a reward for doing good deeds, or mitzvot. If that were the case, we’d all fall short of the mark! Instead, it is a gift from God, as Paul explains:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)
“Grace” means undeserved favor. We don’t earn eternal life; we don’t work for a relationship with God. It’s a simple, undeserved gift, because that is the kind of God we believe in. He gives us such a gift only because of who He is. If you said and meant the prayer above, then you received forgiveness of your sins and eternal life as a free gift that God has given you.
And if you prayed the prayer above, before you go to sleep tonight tell another believer in Jesus that you have decided to follow Yeshua. They will be glad to encourage you and pray for you in your new life with God. If you don’t know another believer in Jesus, we’d love to chat with you and pray with you and be the ones to encourage you in the new adventure you’ve begun.