Must we confess our sins to be forgiven?

One of the hallmark Bible principles we taught our 4th and 5th graders in VBS this year was that Christ died for ALL our sins, the sins we have committed or ever will commit. We told them there is not a single sin you could ever struggle with that has not already been forgiven at the cross of Christ.

I got called out by a brother in Christ who said I was wrong.  He quoted 1 John 1:9. He believes, I think, that confessing our sins means continually asking God to forgive us.

I said I thought “confessing” our sins in that verse and elsewhere, means agreeing with God that we are wretched filthy rags, and it’s only by God’s grace, and Christ’s death on the cross that we are forgiven.

My brother also brought up the way Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s prayer–“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” To me, our forgiveness of others is not a prerequisite for God to forgive us?

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just (Christ) for the unjust (us) (parenthesis mine), so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;  (NASB)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous(Christ) for the unrighteous(us),(parenthesis mine), to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (NIV)

I’d love to hear what you think.  Do you agree that Christ died once for all our sins, the ones we’ve committed or ever will commit?

I’m curious.

Can I get an “Amen” and some feedback, please?

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24 thoughts on “Must we confess our sins to be forgiven?

  1. I guess now as I reread your response I get it. (What you were trying to say.) The way you worded it just confused me. By repeating what said and then commenting.
    And now, once again doing this on my phone, (still not home, in front of my computer where I usually post my blog) I’m stuck in the commen box!!!!!
    I can’t scroll up & reference what you said, so I give up. Ahhhh stupid WordPress. (See sinning right now- stuck in my frustration. Lol.)

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  2. I am trying to keep up with everyone else’s comments and for some reason when I reply, I can’t see what I write again until you respond. WordPress has just become way too frustrating to try to try to do anything on my phone. Each time I even want to comment I have to re-enter my name, email, & password every freaking time! So annoying. Grrrr. 😎

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    • I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I do enjoy corresponding with you. We have some thought-provoking conversations and discussions, like we’re having now. You may not want to share phone numbers with me for texting (I would want to send numbers by email, not here on WordPress or anywhere publically) and I would totally understand if you don’t. For me texting is much more friendly and usable than these WordPress comments at times. My wife and our daughter text back and forth almost every day. I sometimes have trouble using WordPress on my phone. In fact, I’ve about stopped using WordPress on the phone.

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      • I enjoy our chats. And I know your heart is in the right place & this really has nothing to do with you & I could just ignore your suggestion but I feel we actually have developed a friendship. But I’m trying to be fair to my hubby & I’d probably be bothered if he was texting someone. In consideration to my story (not sure if you missed it) which was pretty intense (my x friending me on Facebook) so please understand why I wouldn’t be comfortable texting. 😳😉😊

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      • You beat me to it. I believe we’re developing a friendship as brother and sister in Christ, but after thinking about texting, and for some of the same reasons, I don’t think texting would be appropriate either. Thanks for your candor and your loyalty. I wouldn’t be comfortable texting either.

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  3. Hi Steven

    Jesus became the propitiation of our sins (Hebrews 2:17). In other words, He satisfied the legal requirement for our sins. So, in order to properly answer your question concerning 1 John 1:9, we have to look at the verse in it context.

    Read 1 John 1: 2-4

    2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your[a] joy may be full.

    Now, look at verse 3…”That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, THAT YOU MAY ALSO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US; AND TRULY OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.”

    Who was John writing to? Well, that has been much debated. Was he writing to believers or ministering to unbelievers? I assert that He is writing to unbelievers. Look at the following verses of chapter 1.

    THIS IS THE MESSAGE WHICH WE HAVE HEARD FROM HIM AND DECLARE TO YOU, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    From the way I understand this verse, John is simply telling his readers that they are deceived if they think they are good enough to get into heaven by their own goodness. And if they say they have no sin, they are deceiving themselves because the truth is not in them. Who is the truth? Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life (John 14:6.) To deny the truth is to deny the sacrifice of Jesus. To deny the sacrifice of Jesus is to deny Jesus.

    As with verse 9, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Is this any different than Paul’s message in Romans 10:8-10? “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    I hope I didn’t just muddy the waters more… Have a blessed day

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is a good conversation. I would ask then what is the conviction of the Holy Spirit for. A sin may not affect our eternal destination but looking at the whole counsel of Scripture it surely affects our relationship and connection. I didn’t get into tjis relationship solely for fire insurance but because I wanted to know the Lord. Confession if din is a necessary part of coming to know Him.

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    • Thank you again Joseph. And I agree with you. All our sins are paid for by Christ on the cross. But if we are obediently walking with God, and sin, the Holy Spirit will convict us (that always makes me feel uncomfortable). I find that I must agree with God that I walked in the flesh for a time, not the Spirit. I will always experience the consequences of my sin in the flesh. I find myself separated from the Father. When I feel the piercing in my Spirit from the Holy Spirit, my deep desire is to restore fellowship with the the Father immediately and return to walking in obedience in the Spirit.

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  5. I know that Jesus died for our sins and that by His grace we’re forgiven and that we leave it all at the foot of the cross. But I never feel truly worthy. Ever. I’ve always felt that I need to run up to the alter during each invitation to be saved and fall on my face. But I don’t think that’s what He wants. And a lot of things in the Bible can be debated all day long by people within the same faith as a matter of interpretation.
    I do believe it is better to be aware of our sin and try every day to be Christ like. And know everyday that we will fail and bring it all to the cross. Jesus said to cast the first stone if you feel as if you are without sin. There is a saying: Don’t judge me just because I sin differently than you. Which I think refers to the belief that all sins are equal in God’s eyes. It’s all so hard to know what those verses mean exactly.

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    • Diane, I must confess my genuine sadness as I read your comment. Several comments on FHG lately persuade me that I need to focus my writing for awhile on our true identity in Christ.

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      • Well that has been an ongoing theme with me since the divorce of my first marriage. Though many have explained to me that God would not want me to live like I was in that marriage. The Bible clearly offers only one “out” and that’s adultery. Which didn’t happen.
        In my heart I understand God’s grace. And I think I’ve failed in ways greater than my divorce since then. I’m not sure anyone should ever feel worthy. I don’t think anyone truly is. That’s where grace comes in. Right?

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      • You are right in this: No one is worthy. Read Isaiah 64:6. We are only made worthy by the blood of Christ and God’s grace. (Ephesians 2) As believers God sees us (through the blood of Christ) as perfect, holy and loved unconditionally. You might enjoy reading my post tomorrow and the post I’m publishing Wednesday. Can we do this? Can we chat again on Thursday? Or text?

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      • Did I misunderstand you? Wasn’t your statement– “The Bible offers only one ‘out’ “? That statement is what I said is not true. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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      • I’m out of town right now. Having to do this on my phone. I will have to reread this when I’m in front of my computer and try to make sense of it all.

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  6. Now, I have a huge problem with being sinful at birth and completely disagree. That is a Roman Catholic point of view that kept the peasants in the middle ages in line. Babies aren’t born sinful. They learn what we believe are sins as they grow and are exposed to other people. Did Jesus die for all sins? Maybe. It depends upon which translation and which scroll the text originated as to that.

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    • For the record, I’ve never been Roman Catholic in my life. I grew up Baptist and have heard the teaching that we are born with the sin of Adam, from day one to this present day. I’ve known this teaching to be a Baptist teaching for my entire spiritual life since June 29th, 1986, the day I became born-again.

      I’m sorry you have a problem with that teaching because it is taken straight out of the scriptures. God is just and merciful, so even though babies are indeed born sinful, that doesn’t mean that when they die they are eternally separated from God. There is an age of accountability which we all must reach before we are held accountable for our sin debt. Babies are not held eternally accountable for their sin debt when they die. God alone knows our hearts, so He alone knows what the age is that we are to reach before He holds us accountable eternally for our sin debt.

      To better understand this teaching, I direct you to the following link with scripture references. https://www.gotquestions.org/age-of-accountability.html

      I hope this will clear up the problems you have with this particular teaching.

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  7. Yes, once we come to Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins, He forgives us for all our sins, past, present and future. No sin that we will ever commit post salvation, is unpaid for or unforgiven.

    Besides, it’s not our individual sins that condemn us anyway. We’re condemned right out of the womb due to our sinful nature which is characterized by a dead spirit. It’s our refusal to not receive forgiveness for our sinful nature that keeps us condemned. It is through Christ alone applying His innocent shed blood to our sin debt that forgives us of our sins past, present and future.

    When we receive the forgiveness of sins, we also receive the righteousness of Christ. Our spirit which was once dead in our sins, is made alive through Christ imputing His righteousness to us.

    Good topic to discuss!

    Liked by 1 person

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