When a true Christian falls into sin, whether intentionally or unintentionally, afterward there is a sense of remorse. The Holy Spirit brings brokenness in the believer (and those becoming believers) and convicts the person of sin and righteousness. But we the believers must not allow ourselves to think that a simple apology to our Lord will set things straight. Whether this is the first time we have been broken & grief-stricken over our sin, and are approaching the Lord for salvation, or if this is the zillionth time that (as a Christian) conviction has encompassed us; an apology must not be thought of as what will bring about sin’s pardon.
Sin is rebellion against our Creator who is not just simply our creator, but also a Holy and just judge. Sin is a crime that, according to God’s Law, must be punished. While an apology and brokeness is good, and is indeed a part of repentance, it will not pay the penalty for the crimes we commit. Just judges ruling by the Law cannot accept remorse as payment for crime. Just judges here on Earth don’t do it, and neither does the ultimate Just Judge from His throne in the Heavens.
So is all lost? Should we mourn in tears over our sin until we expire? Is there no hope whatsoever? Thankfully, no. You, new convert, as well as you, veteran believer, are forgiven. But let us never forget how this miracle (the Just Judge forgiving the criminal) was brought about. Christ paid the penalty for us when he was broken, bleeding and abandoned on the Cross, so that we could be forgiven and God’s justice wouldn’t be compromised. We are forgiven, there is more hope then we could have ever dreamed! But when you are mourning your sin, when you are apologizing for your betrayal, never, ever make the mistake of thinking your apology sets things right. Your repentance is necessary and is actually a sign of your salvation (so take some comfort in your tears), but the penalty still must be paid… and it was! Now press forward and sin no more, knowing you are saved but always remembering the horrible price that was paid to save you!
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. – Philippians 3:12-16