Question: What Is Involved In Confession Of Sin?

Answer: Once a believer receives Christ as Savior they have been forgiven from all of their sins. Indeed, the Bible says our sins are removed from us; as far as the east is from the west. This is indeed wonderful news!

Though the believer has been cleansed from their sins once and for all, each of us needs to confess our daily sins to God. This is for the purpose of unbroken fellowship; it is not to keep ourselves saved. The blood of Christ that was shed on Calvary’s cross settled the believer’s guilt once and for all. However, we need to be constantly cleansed from the everyday sins.

We can make the following observations about the importance of confession.

1. A Person Must Agree With God

The word “confess” comes from the Greek word homologeo. It literally means, “to say the same thing.” Confession thus has the idea of, “to agree or acknowledge fully.”

Therefore, when we confess our sins, we say the same thing as God does about our sin. We have God’s viewpoint on the matter; we see it as He does. We also acknowledge with Him that sin has awful disastrous effects.

Confession does not mean rendering lip service, or mouthing deeds with vain repetition. It means calling sin for what it is; sin.
2. We Must Own Up To The Sin   

We must own up to the fact that the thought, or action, is wrong. We should not try to justify ourselves by rationalizing what we have done; that it really was not sin. Such rationalizations as, “Everyone’s doing it,” “It’s just a natural human error,” or “It’s not really so bad” is not real confession. We need to admit that we have sinned. Period.
3. Confession Must Be Specific  

It is important to name the particular thing to God. We should not be general in our confession. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to reveal specific items of sin in our lives.

John wrote about the importance of walking in the light.

But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7 NET).

We are told to examine ourselves, to test ourselves. Paul wrote about the necessity of examining our hearts.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5 NRSV).

When we examine ourselves we are able to determine what needs to be confessed. Thus, we are able to be specific when we confess our sins.

4. Confession Should Be Prompt  

We should not save up our sins until the night and then confess them. We need to confess them immediately. The Bible says.

And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26 NLT).

We should not wait to confess our sins. As soon as we realize that we have sinned, we should confess the sin before the Lord.

5. A Person Should Be Sincere About Quitting
We must also be sincere about quitting the sin we are confessing. We must have the best intention of not doing it again. This does not mean that we will never to the sin again; it only means that we are asking God to help us not commit that sin again. This is a crucial element in confession. It will not help if we confess to a particular sin we are planning to do again!

6. We Remember That Jesus Christ Is Our Advocate – He Is Representing Us

The Bible says that Jesus Christ is our Advocate. He is the one interceding to God the Father on our behalf.  John wrote.

 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One (1 John 2:1 HCSB).

He restores believers to fellowship who sin.

7. An Idea Of What To Say: A Model Confession Of Sin

Our confession of sin to the Lord should go something like this. Lord, I acknowledge that what I have done is wrong. I also agree with you that it is horrible in your sight. With your strength, help me to hate it as much as you hate it.

In addition, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am determined to put this particular sin out of my life and never do it again.

The key is that we acknowledge our sin before the Lord. We also must ask the Lord’s forgiveness as well as His help from keeping us from doing it again.

This sums up some of the important things we should understand when it comes to confession of sin. It is crucial that we learn what Scripture has to say about confessing our wrongdoings and then put into practice the things which we have learned.

Summary To Question 3: What’s Involved In Confession Of Sin?

While all of our sins have been forgiven when we trust Christ as Savior there is the issue of the daily sins which we commit. These sins need to be confessed. Thus, for the believer, confession of sin is essential.

Confession can be defined as a sincere admission to God that we have sinned against Him. This confession may be spoken out loud, or it may be spoken of in the heart. It takes only a few words and can be done at any time or any place. It is basically agreeing with God that we have sinned against Him.

Confession should be prompt and specific. We should confess our sins to the Lord the moment we commit them. We do not save them up to confess at the end of the day.

There should also be a sincere desire to quit the sin. Confession will not be of any use if we again plan to commit the sin which we have just confessed.

The good news is that we have someone pleading our case to God the Father on our behalf, Jesus Christ. He is the one who represents us before God the Father as our Advocate. He pleads our case so that we can become forgiven.

This question is found in our forthcoming book “Sin and Forgiveness.”


Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]


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