“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
1 John 1:9 NLT
Confession is supposed to free us to enjoy fellowship with Christ. It should ease our consciences and lighten our cares. But some Christians do not understand how it works. They feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over; then they wonder if they might have forgotten something. Other Christians believe that God forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost. These Christians do not understand that God wants to forgive us. He allowed his beloved Son to die just so he could offer us pardon. When we come to Christ, he forgives all the sins we have committed or will ever commit. We don’t need to confess the sins of the past all over again, and we don’t need to fear that God will reject us if we don’t keep our slate perfectly clean. Of course, we should continue to confess our sins, but not because failure to do so will make us lose our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is secure. Instead, we should confess so that we can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with him.
True confession also involves a commitment not to continue in sin. We wouldn’t be genuinely confessing our sins to God if we planned to commit them again and just wanted temporary forgiveness. We should also pray for strength to defeat temptation the next time we face it.
If God has forgiven us for our sins because of Christ’s death, why must we confess our sins? In admitting our sins and receiving Christ’s cleansing, we are: (1) agreeing with God that our sin truly is sin and that we are willing to turn from it, (2) ensuring that we don’t conceal our sins from him and consequently from ourselves, and (3) recognizing our tendency to sin and relying on his power to overcome it. (Tyndal Study Bible)
I see daily that people know they have done wrong but don’t acknowledge it. I fall into that habit. The only way to fix things is that one has to acknowledge there is a problem. If you can’t admit a mistake, how will you ever fix it? It’s just like an athlete that has the wrong training program. He is training, but incorrectly. To fix it he has to acknowledge the mistake.
So just like asking forgiveness for our sins, it releases us and brings us closer to God. Only once you have admitted you wrong can you move closer to a solution.
There are a couple of things that stand out for me in the commentary above. Firstly, true confession involves a commitment not to continue in sin. Note that you can’t conceal your sin from God, He knows everything. Most importantly to me is recognising that we can’t rely on our own strength and understanding. We have to rely on God for that. We need to pray for strength from God. (Read the Bold Section again.)
“Lord I pray for Your strength and understanding. Keep me from sin and wrongdoing. In Jesus name. Amen.”