I have a Catholic friend that I have been discussing this issue with. His opinion is that it is the Eucharist (receiving Christ’s body and blood) that provides salvation and since Protestants are outside God’s will we are unreachable by the sacraments and so unable to be forgiven for our sins. I disagree.
To “Forgive” means to wipe the slate clean or have your debt cancelled.
When we do or say something wrong or that hurts someone, we go to them and ask them to forgive us in order to restore our relationship with them. Forgiveness is an act of grace, mercy and love. No one deserves forgiveness because we all fail daily to live up to God’s standards.
1 John 1:8 declares “If we say we are without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Forgiveness is a decision to not hold something against the person who said or did something wrong to you. To be forgiven is to be justified.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
The apostle takes it for granted that he has proved that justification is by faith, and that the Gentiles have an equal title with the Jews to salvation by faith. And now he proceeds to show the effects produced in the hearts of the believing Gentiles by this doctrine. We are justified – have all our sins pardoned by faith, as the instrumental cause; for, being sinners, we have no works of righteousness that we can plead.
To be justified means to be made clean and just as if you had never sinned.
Acts 13:38 states “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”
It is written in John 3:16 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.
What Jesus did by dying on the cross was to make forgiveness a free gift to all who will believe it and receive it. God wants everyone on earth to receive his free gift of eternal life.
According to Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
It is not according to what we do or don’t do. It is according to the riches of God’s grace that he makes us this offer. It is by the blood Jesus shed on the cross that we have redemption and forgiveness.
It is just this easy according to Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Also it is written in Ephesians 2:8-9 Because it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.
Therefore it is not by works or deeds or Religious Rituals that we do but; by our faith in what Jesus did on the cross that saves us or ensures we are forgiven in God’s sight.
As you are now brought into a state of salvation, your sins being all blotted out, and you made partakers of the Holy Spirit; and, having a hope full of immortality, you must not attribute this to any works or merit of yours; for when this Gospel reached you, you were all found dead in trespasses and dead in sins; therefore it was God’s free mercy to you, manifested through Christ, in whom you were commanded to believe; and, having believed by the power of the Holy Spirit, you received, and were sealed by, the Holy Spirit of promise; so that this salvation is in no sense of yourselves, but is the free gift of God; and not of any kind of works; so that no man can boast as having wrought out his own salvation, or even contributed anything towards it. By grace are you saved, through faith in Christ.
(Quotes are from the Clark Commentary)