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
“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).