What Happens When We Confess Our Sins?
Keeping secrets keeps us sick. Sin, when stuffed and tucked away in our hearts, becomes a raging disease inside of us. Openness, honesty, and confession on the other hand, strip secret sin of its power and produce healing and life in us.
One of the verses in the Bible that is vital for every believer to read, memorize, and cling to is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NKJV) And to really benefit from the essence of this landmark verse, we need to break it down a bit.
To “confess our sins” is more than to say out loud what we’ve done. The confession that John had in mind could be defined as “agreeing with God.” Confession is stepping across the line and taking God’s side against our sin. “He is faithful and just” lets us know that forgiveness is a character issue with God. He forgives completely, not based on how sorry or penitent we are or how much we promise to change, but based on His very own being and character. He honors His covenant with us even when we break our promises to Him.
When the Bible says that God will “forgive us our sins,” it means that He releases us from the debt we owe to Him for having broken His rules. Our penalty is absolved. And the most beautiful aspect of the verse is the last phrase – the promise of God to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Here is meant that God removes the impurities from our life that have caused our downfall – not the temptation we face, which will hang around us as long as we live, but the root causes of our sinful symptoms – the part that makes us sick. So to paraphrase: If we will change our minds about our sin so that we choose God’s side and agree that our sins are deeply sinful, He is totally faithful to His own character and His own promises to release us fully from the penalty our sins incurred, and He is also faithful to remove the impurity, the infection, the sickness that causes us to sin more from our lives.
On the basis of this and other verses, it’s apparent that confession (admitting our sin and agreeing with God about it) and repentance (turning away from our sin and the self-righteousness that conceals it) is the very best medicine for our souls. This kind of confession is the best medicine in all the world, and it’s not a one-time deal. It’s a lifetime, repetitive and habitual practice of repenting, confessing, and then walking in closer fellowship with God.