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As indicated in the verse cited in the question, if Christians confess their sins (as opposed to believing or saying that they have no sin), God will be both faithful and just in forgiving their sins for Christ's sake. To me, this is speaking of private confession of one's sins to God (who, as C. S. Lewis said, is ultimately the Being whom all sins are against, as evidenced by Jesus forgiving people of their sins without consulting any of the other humans whom those sins might have injured), rather than requiring confession to another person, either in an informal manner or in a religious context (as to a priest or minister). However, I would also say that Christians should acknowledge their known sinful actions to other people who have been adversely affected by their conduct, seek their forgiveness (in addition to God's forgiveness), and attempt to compensate (insofar as possible) for those negative consequences. In both of the above cases, confession works to restore the fellowship that has been broken by sin.
It frees Christians from self-delusion: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9 RSV) Sin is personified in the person of the adversary, the devil, but it exists as a very powerful and persuasive factor in life. To treat it as though it is not there is but to practice self-deception and to become the victim of the saddest of delusions.--Ray Steadman Confession of sin, first to God, then to those who were sinned against, is the first step that allows faith to grow. 1 John 1;9 QSB Confession of sin is an admission of transgressions and shortcomings, first to God and then to any others we have wronged. In healthy confession the admission is searching, grieving, humble, and frank. The confessor neither hides nor withholds anything. In Scripture "When you realize your guilt... you shall confess the sin that you have committed" (Lev. 5:5). "David said to Nathan, `I have sinned against the Lord.' Nathan said to David, `Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die'" (2 Sam. 12:13). "Who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults" (Ps. 19:12). "While I kept silence, my body 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. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and you forgave the guilt of my sin" (Ps. 32:3 - 5). "I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin" (Ps. 38:18). "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement. Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me" (Ps. 51:1 - 5). "O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you" (Ps. 69:5). "No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy" (Prov. 28:13). preachingandworship.org So, The Bible presents two avenues for the confession of sins. First, we are to confess our sins to God. First John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Second, we are to confess our sins to other believers. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” When we have wronged someone, it is appropriate to confess our wrongdoing to that person and seek forgiveness. - SMH The Bible is very clear that we must confess our sin to God. Every sin is ultimately committed against God (Psalm 51:4). God is quick to forgive our sin, because forgiveness is what allows our relationship with Him to be restored (1 John 1:9). So go to Him quick to forgive your sin! Let me repeat this: forgiveness restores relationships. The Bible is very clear that we must confess our sin to God. Every sin is ultimately committed against God (Psalm 51:4). God is quick to forgive our sin because forgiveness is what allows our relationship with Him to be restored (1 John 1:9). With God, we know sin is a barrier between us and God. He wants that relationship with us so badly that He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that the relationship could be restored (John 3:16). We must confess our sins against God TO God (and, again, they are all against God). 412teens.org
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