Confession in the Bible: Verses About Confessing Your Sins

When many people hear ‘confessing your sin’, they think it reserved for monks in a monastery or of paying penance to God by entering a church confessional.

But Scripture teaches us it is an important practice for the life of every Christian. The answers to these questions about confession in the Bible may surprise you:

What does the Bible say about confession?

What will happen if you don’t confess your sins?

Psalm 32 offers us several powerful reasons to confess our sins and shows us the consequences of unconfessed sin. David felt weak and was miserable when he did not confess. Verses 3-4 says, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

Before confessing his sin, David was exhausted. Why? The life was being drained out of him by sin. If you do not weaken sin, it saps your spiritual strength. It weakens you. When I see a sin forming in my life, I must say, “If I’m to serve Christ, I dare not let this grow! It’ll drain the life out of me…”

Why should you confess your sins?

In addition to avoiding the negative effects of unconfessed sin, biblical confession is a way to experience more of God’s grace.  Biblical confession should be a joy, in some ways, due to the rich benefits God gives us through it.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This does not mean that God will forgive a sin only if it has been specifically confessed. When a Christian repents and believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all of their sins, past, present, and future are immediately forgiven!

Confessing is part of the sanctification process and aids Christians in dealing with sin and healing from it.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Why confess your sin if God already knows your sin?

Christians confess their sins to God to practice humility before him and to fess up to the bad things they have done. It takes a humble person to admit their mistakes! Humility is a vital part of confession and aids the restoration of Christians who have quenched the Spirit of God. Peter in 1 Peter  5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

A True Confession is Done in Humility with an Attitude of Repentance

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

“…you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God…For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:1-5)

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

“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).


Kevin Halloran is a Christian, blogger, and coffee aficionado. He serves with Leadership Resources International, training pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. Follow Kevin on Twitter or visit his blog.

Date Posted: Jan 9th, 2018

  • Brigette Miguel

    This is pure and directly from the Holy Bible. God loves this and we shall too :), thanks brethren.

  • safari

    This is awesome. Thanks for your hard work

  • Tammy Noel Smith

    I wish the Word of Faith pastors would read this article.Pastors like Joseph Prince teach that we need not confess our sin,but confess our righteousness in Christ.He sure is leading a lot of sheep astray with this false teaching.Thank you for posting this! This makes very clear why our country is in such a bad state,really bad…..we need to confess a whole mess of sins as a Nation and as people individually….

  • vklo

    is it absolute to confess to someone?

  • Sila

    May God forgive me for i am sinner.

  • MegAguilar

    I feel that this is something that has been lost in the Protestant churches in America in the past and even still today. I grew up in a So. Baptist church in SE Alabama and also in my grandparents’ Methodist church. And though we did learn these scriptures on confession, there wasn’t really any great amount of time spent on confessing and what it means for the Christ follower. While I don’t necessarily agree with Catholicism and some their worship practices, I must give them credit that at least they do teach/preach more on the importance of confession than our Protestant churches.

  • Tig

    How can you affirm that our future sins are already forgiven? Do you have a bible verse that confirms that? Tig

    • Shadu

      I agree with you Tig. I need he verse too that says your sins past present and future are forgiven when you ask but once. That would give you fee rein to do what ever you want because it is forgiven. Please give us the verse from the Holy Bible that says that. And why the disciples met in private with new Chrisitians so that they could do ask to do that in the privacy of others. ( 1. being that those confessionals in that time were because of spys that could hear, then take their lives on behalf of Herod and Nero.

    • Care

      John 5:24 –“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.” Herein is the declaration from Jesus Himself that a person who has been ”born again”, that is, born of God through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for his sins, and His bodily resurrection (which proves that Jesus’s sacrifice for us was sufficient and acceptable to God the Father), has been made clean in Christ, and cannot be condemned ever again. What happens to one who has placed complete faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for his sins is that God makes us a ”new creature”. (2 Corinthians 5:17 — “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” verse 21 “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” The new creature has a different nature than the person you once were. Before, you lived for Self. Now, you live with God in you, and the new nature (God, the Holy Spirit) gives you desire to put God, instead of yourself, in control of you.
      People always say, “If you were forgiven ALL your sins, even future sins, you could live any way you want.” What they fail to see is that God changes your ”want”. Your great desire now is to please and serve God. You are no longer the god of your life, as you were before salvation. God is now God of your life.
      If all of the sins of all of your life were not paid for by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, which Peter makes clear was a once-only-needed sacrifice (I Peter 3:18), then the “eternal Life” that He says you have, you would no longer have. Therefore, you would be “dead in sins” again, and not “alive in Christ”, if you could lose the salvation God had given you…..and then, how could it have been ”eternal”, if you could lose it by a future sin? The promise of eternal life would be of no effect, if only your past sins were under the blood of Christ. The future would always be uncertain, and worse, your salvation would then be dependent on you and what you do, instead of on Christ and what He did for you. But God tells us in Hebrews 9:25-28, “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 10:10 + 14: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for All.” “For by ONE offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” John 17:17– “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: THY WORD IS TRUTH” Ephesians 2:8+9–“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 1:6-7 “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath MADE US ACCEPTED in the Beloved, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” John 8:31,32,+36— “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, “IF YE CONTINUE IN MY WORD, THEN ARE YE MY DISCIPLES INDEED; AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MADE YOU FREE.” ”IF THE SON THEREFORE SHALL MAKE YOU FREE, YE SHALL BE FREE INDEED.” John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, ”I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME.” “He that hath the Son hath life: he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I John 5:12 Do You HAVE Jesus Christ?
      In the Old testament, when a man and woman are intimate, it is said that the man ”came in to her” or, he “knew her”. When we are born of God, He ”comes in to” us; He “knows” us. Has He ”come in to” you? (Revelation 3:20 — “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”) If He has come in to you, you will know it.
      When he says, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity”, to those who professed to be His, it is because He had never ”come in” to them. “I never KNEW you,” He says to them who claimed to have done all manner of wonderful works in His name. Matthew 7:21-23 They had never really been His. The devils believe that Jesus is the Christ. But they were not saved because He was not in them. People can have ”head knowledge” of Christ and Christian teachings, and still not be His. Jesus said, “Except Ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”. Repentance is to turn away from the way that you think makes you righteous in God’s sight, and turning to the only way that makes you righteous in His sight——Jesus Christ’s blood sacrifice for your sins, and His life given for yours. You can do nothing to make yourself acceptable in His sight. Your salvation is all of His doing, and none of ours. And that is why those who are saved KNOW they will go to heaven when they pass from this world. They are resting in His promise that He will “never leave thee nor forsake thee”. Hebrews 13:5 I hope this might have been helpful to anyone who is seeking assurance of salvation. Please keep reading God’s Word, and He will show you what you need to know.

  • Gabe Sosa

    Yes, confession is a way to redeem grace. However I don’t agree too much with the statement, “believe the gospel and all will be forgiven”. As paul tells us, even demons aknowledge God’s power, and shudder, but that doesn’t mean forgivness. However a human could be forgiven for the sake of fullfilling God’s plan for humans, but he can’t just swipe away all he established through his son, just because one feels repentance. I mean, what is a sin? An act that goes against God’s will, we can all agree. And if we believe Jesus is true man and true God(as proven in all 4 gospels, and the gospel of John in specific) we must obey his commandments, “do this in memory of me” and especially “all sins you forgive will be forgiven”. Having knowledge that he established a sacrament of forgivment, we are oblogated to use it, not just to remind us of his power and forgivment. And as shown many times before, despite the “main event” of Jesus’s crucifixion has passed, we are called to practice it many times again for the sake of spiritual health.

  • UnlockingtheBible

    Thank you for your comment. This may be helpful

  • James Michael Dixon

    Wow, a helpful word! It clearly had an impact on some good people. I love this: “… a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). “Momentum” begins here! (Mourning brings morning). Matthew 534

  • Good stuff!