I would like to talk about the difference between forgiveness and repentance. They go hand in hand, but are so rarely taught. Forgiveness occurred 2000 years ago, when Jesus died on the cross for your sins. So many people think that it happened at the time that you Believed and accepted Jesus free gift of salvation By Grace, Through Faith. It actually took place on the cross. Jesus died and bore all our sins on the cross at Calvary. That means that all past, present, and future sins were covered and paid for. I have always said the following when I sinned: "God forgive me and I repent of my sins. I ask you to wash them away with your blood." Here is the problem with that mentality. God does not die on the cross again each time that you sin. It only occurred once, and it was FINAL. The other problem with that theology is to simply imply that repentance can occur at the point of confession. Yes, James 5:16 does say, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." This however is not to be confused with when the forgiveness took place, or anything to do with repentance.
Repentance is the act of doing a 180 away from the sin that so easily entagles you. If you have a weakness of going to a watering hole (whatever sin that might be: Lust, Pride, Selfishness, Anger, Covetousness, etc...) then the act of repentance is turning from your wicked iniquity and not returning to it. So if you go to the watering hole, you can't simply confess repentance verbally, and then go back to the same watering hole tomorrow. The act of repentance takes place in the heart. True repentance is proven the next time we are standing in front of the watering hole, but choose not to drink and to flee from its presence. That Is Repentance.
In 1678 John Bunyan wrote a classic novel entitled Pilgrims Progress. Unfortunately, not many people have read it, even though it is a best selling classic. There is a character in the book entitled "Pilgrim." As Pilgrim is walking down the path of life, he is confronted with an exit ramp that leads straight to a slew of bright lights. The name of this place is aptly named: "Vanity Fair." As he walks through this place, he realizes how vile and filthy it is. He quickly leaves this place and gets back on the road of life. As he travels down the straight and narrow road, he is once again confronted with Vanity Fair. However, this time he remembers that it was a trap waiting to ensnare him, and wasn't the glitz and excitement that it appeared to be from afar. He rejects the possibility of betraying his path, but instead puts blinders on his eyes and refuses to be enticed. THIS IS REPENTANCE!!!
Understand that Forgiveness has already taken place, and the price has been paid. Also understand the true meaning of repentance, and don't keep going back to the watering hole...