Confession and Forgiveness


“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Every person, even the most godly Christian believer, at least occasionally commits acts of sin—sins of omission, if not sins of commission. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

When a Christian does sin, the remedy is available. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This forgiveness is based on the fact that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The problem is that the very compulsion that caused the believer to commit the sin in the first place will often lead him to try to justify the sin. If that is not possible, he will try to hide it, or even to deny it.

The antidote for this situation, of course, is to confess and forsake his sin(s). This confession, however, cannot be simply a generalized confession (“please forgive all my sins”), but a specific “naming” of the particular sins, acknowledging that it was, indeed, a sin in the sight of God, deserving of divine punishment and repudiation by a holy God. Similarly, the term “forsaketh” does not mean simply to quit engaging in the particular sin, but to quit even thinking about it—no longer either desiring the sin or being depressed under the guilt of it. If possible and applicable, this would also entail making restitution to anyone who had been injured by that sin; otherwise, the confession need be made only to God.

And God will forgive and cleanse. Then, “forgetting those things which are behind,” we can “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven” (Psalm 32:1). HMM