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
In recent years, I’ve noticed a trend in discipleship that questions whether or not we have to confess our sins to God in order to be forgiven. Some argue that Christ already forgave all our sins through His death, and therefore, confession is not necessary for forgiveness. Because of this, they question the need for confession in the Christian life.
I’m a simple person, and I try to take the Bible at face value. Hence, when John writes to confess, I figure it means we should confess. On one level, I know God doesn’t hold the sins of the redeemed against them as Christ has truly paid the price. However, to ignore confession and washing is to ignore a great part of the spiritual formation process. Through confession, we have an opportunity to allow God to search our hearts and bring sins to mind. We have an opportunity to recognize the seriousness of our sin. We have an opportunity to acknowledge our shortcomings before God and confess yet again our good works cannot undo our bad works. We have an opportunity to once again be amazed at the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ as we relish in His forgiveness.
In this sense, confession is absolutely necessary for the ongoing work of spiritual formation. While confession of faith that Jesus is Lord and has been risen from the dead immediately seals us with the Holy Spirit, ongoing confession of sin allows us to more deeply appreciate and experience the cleansing of the gospel. For that reason, in our reflection of our relationship with God each week, confession of sin is a crucial step in this area of spiritual formation. I urge you to spend a few moments today in quiet reflection. Confess sins God brings to mind and then bask in the cleansing forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Experience the greatness of spiritual formation.