Confession Of Sins In The Spirit-Filled Life -- By: Bob Bryant

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 14:2 (Autumn 2001)
Article: Confession Of Sins In The Spirit-Filled Life
Author: Bob Bryant

Confession Of Sins In The
Spirit-Filled Life

Bob Bryant

Senior Pastor
Cypress Valley Bible Church
Marshall, Texas

I. Introduction

Dennis the Menace is kneeling at his bedside, hands folded, his eyes looking toward heaven. With an imploring look on his face, he prays, “I’m here to turn myself in!” Dennis senses that for things to be right between himself and God, he must turn himself in. He must confess his sins.

Dennis’s prayer seems so simple, so innocent, so straightforward, that I feel a little guilty saying, “Let’s analyze and question what Dennis is saying in that prayer.” But having confessed my feelings of guilt, let’s proceed anyway: Is Dennis confessing his sins thinking he must do this to go to heaven? If he already has believed in Jesus and received forgiveness, why does he still think he needs to confess his sins for forgiveness? Is he sorry for his sins? Is he sorry enough to be forgiven? Has he repented? If he’s only confessing some of his sins, how does God feel about the ones he doesn’t confess?

While I wouldn’t want to overwhelm or discourage Dennis with questions like these, I think that answers to these and other questions are extremely important to his spiritual life and ours, too. This article will raise and attempt to answer ten questions about confession of sins.

II. What does it Mean to Confess Sins?

The first question is “What does it mean to confess sins?” The term “confess” found in 1 John 1:9 means “to say the same thing, to agree, to admit, to acknowledge.” When I confess my sins to God, I simply admit to Him the sins that He already knows I have committed. To confess sins also involves a request for God’s forgiveness as evidenced by the words of Jesus when He taught us to pray, Forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4). To confess sins, therefore, involves an admission of sins and a request for God’s forgiveness.

III. Who Needs to Confess Sins?

That leads to a second question, “Who needs to confess sins?” Some suggest that confession of sins is something that unsaved people must do to be saved, citing 1 John 1:9 as proof, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But there are some obvious problems with this view. First of all, John says, “If we confess our sins.” In the previous verses, John makes it crystal clear that the term “we” refers to himself,...

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