The grace of God has many expressions, but forgiveness is the first. Miss forgiveness and you’ll miss grace. How do we set aside grace? One way is to treat forgiveness as something other than a gift. If you work to earn what God has given, then you have made the cross of Christ of no effect. You have set aside grace and made yourself a co-savior.
Over the past few weeks we have looked at 12 reasons why we never need to confess our sins to be forgiven. By “confess” I mean listing all your sins. I thought it might be worth pulling all these reasons together in a single list with links back to the original posts…
12 reasons why Christians don’t need to confess-to-be-forgiven
1. It’s not in the Bible. To confess (homologeo) is to agree with God. We all need to agree that we are sinful and in need of a Savior. We also need to agree that our sins were dealt with once and for all at the cross. We need to agree with the scriptures that say we are eternally and completely forgiven. We need to stop misreading 1 John 1:9.
2. You were forgiven 2000 years ago. All your sins were future sins – you hadn’t been born yet.
3. You were forgiven through his blood. Your forgiveness was paid for with God’s blood. Your works don’t come into it.
4. You were forgiven completely for all time. Jesus will never go to the cross again.
5. You were forgiven in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Forgiveness is his business and his gift to give. Receive it or reject it but you can’t earn it.
6. Your sins are long gone. Jesus’ sacrifice was the atom bomb that did away with sin.
7. God chooses to forget your sin. God is love. Love keeps no record of wrong. Your heavenly Father is not a fault-finder.
8. The Holy Spirit is not convicting you. The law convicts, but the Holy Spirit liberates. How could he convict you of something he chooses not to remember?
9. Confessing-to-be-forgiven puts us under law. Mixing God’s grace with man’s works is like mixing milk with poison. The result is not going to be good for you.
10. Confessing-to-be-forgiven empowers sin. Instead of dealing with sin and releasing life, law-based confession stirs up sin and leads to death.
11. Confessing-to-be-forgiven keeps us from God. When dealing with people, confessing sins and seeking forgiveness may help heal a guilty conscience. But God doesn’t relate to us with human love. Reviewing our sins in a religious way can harm a good conscience and shipwreck our faith.
12. Confessing-to-be-forgiven makes us sin-conscious, not Christ-conscious. Every minute you spend dwelling on your sin is a minute wasted. You’re not worthy? Get over yourself! Christ is worthy!
Why confess-to-be-forgiven when it’s not in the Bible?
I am not against confession. True confession is putting faith into words; it is articulating God’s promises, God’s declarations, and God’s will. But confessing-to-be-forgiven is a dead work. Whether you confess to a priest or directly to God makes no difference. If you do it because you believe it makes you righteous or acceptable to God, what need have you of a Savior? You have set aside grace and put yourself under law.
You won’t find any believer in the New Testament confessing their sins to be forgiven. So why do we do it? Why do we spend so much time and energy on a death-dealing extra-Biblical practice? I can think of at least 4 reasons.
- We do it simply because we’ve always done it. (So read your Bible, renew your mind and live free.)
- We do it because we think our sin is greater than God’s grace. (It isn’t.)
- We do it because we are fearful of unconfessed sin. (Sin is sin and on the cross Jesus dealt with it all – big sin, small sin, secret sin and unconfessed sin. There is no sin that escaped his perfect redeeming work.)
- We do it because we are fearful of judgment day and uncertain about our forgiveness. We hope we’ve been forgiven, but we worry that might not be. If this is you, listen to the words of Jesus: “My friend, don’t worry! Your sins are forgiven.” (Mt 9:2, CEV)
At some point you’re just going to have to step out in faith and trust that when Jesus said “it is finished” that it really was finished. At the cross, your sin was dealt with once and for all time. Look at Jesus and cheer up!
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