Some claim to confess their sins to God daily in their hearts and say they know they receive His forgiveness.
Is it cheap grace? Does anyone really need to receive forgiveness through the Church?
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)
The forgiveness of sins comes through the death of Christ, the Son of God, on the cross. Christ showed in His lifetime that he had the power to heal the sick which in turn proved His claim to have power to forgive sins. And, Christ bestowed through the Holy Spirit the power to forgive sins on His disciples and the Church. If everyone could simply pronounce forgiveness upon themselves in their hearts, why did Christ bestow such power on the Church?
We may imagine God easily forgives sins from the safety and quietness of heaven. Poof! and the sins are gone.
The New Testament however presents it that the forgiveness of sins happens through the death of Christ on the cross. No cheap grace. A priceless death occurs to forgive our sins.
All of our sins, not just the sins of really evil people, is paid for by the death of Christ.
We might imagine our sins are not that bad – not as bad as others (as the Pharisee said of the Publican and we think of say the evil men of ISIS). Many of us think the sins of others are really bad – whether sexual or involving other morality – but we tend to think our sins aren’t that bad. Yet the price paid for our sins is also the death of God on the cross.
We experience the forgiveness of our sins by being united to Christ in baptism and in the Eucharist and through the Body of Christ in confession. Confession is another gift given to us by Christ to maintain our unity with all other believers through asking the Church, His Body, for the forgiveness of our sins.