What About the Confession of Sins?

What About the Confession of Sins?

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:7

When I was a young believer, I was taught that unless I confessed all my sins, I would not be completely forgiven by God. I was even told that if someone dies without having confessed all his sins, he would end up in hell.

Well, that teaching put me in severe bondage. I really believed that I had to confess everything that I thought I had done wrong, including worries, fears, and doubts, because I knew that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23 KJV).

If you really believe that you need to confess all your sins to be completely forgiven by God, you will be confessing your sins all the time and everywhere you go! I tried that and it was impossible! It nearly drove me insane!

But Pastor Prince, are you saying that we don’t have to confess our sins? So what about 1 John 1:9, which states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”?

Listen carefully: Christians have taken this single verse out of context and built a whole doctrine of confession of sins around it when actually, chapter 1 of 1 John was written to address the Gnostics and their heresies that had crept into the church.

The Gnostics were unbelievers who maintained that they had no sin (1 John 1:8). So John was saying that if they would confess that they had sin, and hence see their need for the Savior, God would be faithful and just to cleanse them from all unrighteousness.

Can you now see how this does not apply to the believer who has already acknowledged that he is a sinner and accepted Jesus? We are not to live from confession to confession, but from faith to faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work.

Also, our loving heavenly Father does not forgive us in installments depending on how diligently we confess our sins. Fellowship with Him is not broken because our forgiveness is not contingent on what we do. It is contingent on the finished work of Jesus.

Now, this does not mean that we can’t be honest with God and acknowledge the wrong we have done. It’s a relationship, after all.

But we don’t confess our sins in order to be forgiven. We confess our sins or speak openly to our gracious Father because we are already forgiven. I don’t go before Him begging for forgiveness.

No, I talk to Him because I know that I already have His forgiveness, as today’s scripture states. I know that I can come to Him freely—He is my God, my Daddy God.

So confession in the new covenant is just being honest about your failures and humanity and having an intimate relationship with God. It is the result of being forgiven and not something you do in order to be forgiven, to maintain your salvation, and be ultimately saved.

If confession of sins is vital for our forgiveness, then the apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament epistles, has done us a great injustice because he did not mention it even once in any of his letters to the churches.

For example, when there were people in the Corinthian church living in sin that everyone in the church knew about, he did not say, “Go and confess your sins.” Instead, he reminded them of their righteousness, saying, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” (1 Cor. 6:19). In spite of their sins, Paul still considered them temples of the Holy Spirit and he reminded them of this truth.

My friend, this is the assurance that you can have today: the day you acknowledged that you were a sinner and confessed Christ as your Lord and Savior, you “confessed all your sins” once and for all. And God was faithful and just to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

All the unrighteousness of your entire life was cleansed at that point, and through the gift of righteousness in Christ Jesus you were set up to reign in life!

This devotional is taken from the book Reign in Life—90 Powerful Inspirations for Extraordinary Breakthroughs.

If you or a loved one are facing a health issue, know that we are praying for you. We would also like to encourage you to read “How do I walk in faith and wisdom as I look to the Lord for healing?” to help you build your faith as you wait for your breakthrough.

© Copyright Joseph Prince, 2008–2021
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version ®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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