How can I get forgiveness of my sins?
Beware that you do not do as the absurd people who consume and waste away due to their sins, and who furthermore attempt to redeem themselves from guilt and punishment through good works or through bargains – one sees them still walking back and forth to get indulgences [forgiveness] for their sins! This way they want to get redeemed from their sins due to their merit and payment – however, this shall not succeed! Unfortunately, this false trust is deeply entrenched everywhere on merit, on payment and on praying to the saints.
Then, cast your sins from yourselves onto Christ, as you firmly believe that His wounds and suffering are your sins – that He carries your sins and he pays therefore. As Isaiah says: ‘And the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (cf. Isaiah 53:6). And Peter said: ‘Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed’ (1 Peter 2:24). Also Paul speaks about that: ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). You have to rely on this and such texts with entire trust – so much more than your conscience hurts you even worse.
When you do not this, but you try to reassure your conscience by remorse and penance, then you shall never find rest – you shall, after all of it, end in despair! Because when we want to handle our sins in our conscience and we want to let them stay by us, then they are too strong for us and they will live for ever. But when we see them lain on Christ and He overcoming them through His resurrection, and that we believe that fearlessly, then they are dead and become nothing – they, after all, cannot remain on Christ!
They are consumed by His resurrection! Now we see no wounds, no sorrows and no suffering in Him. That is: we see no signs of sin. Paul says this: that Christ died for our sins and is raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25). That is: by His suffering He reveals our sin and kills it on the cross, but by His resurrection He justifies us and He sets us free from all sin – on the condition that we believe this.
When you cannot believe now, then you have – as is often said – therefore to pray to God, because this affair is only in God’s hands. God is free to give it and also gives it [to them who ask Him therefore] – sometimes for all the public to see, sometimes hidden in the heart.