Yes, You Need to Confess Your Sin
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 ( 1 John 1:7-10).
There is a popular teacher in the body of Christ today that is teaching what I would call false doctrine, and I want to deal with this today. I’ve been asked about it by several church members, so here goes.
His idea is that Jesus died for ALL of our sins past, present, and future on the cross. And, since that is true, there is now no need to confess our current sins in order to be right with God. He states that 1 John 1:9 was written to counter the Gnostic heresy floating around during the first century church, and that it’s now not necessary for us as believers to confess our sins in order to be forgiven.
Let’s examine this a bit. He is referring to what theologians call positional righteousness when he says a believer has all his sins forgiven in Christ and he need never confess them again. 1 Corinthians 1:30 reads, But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
Positionally in Christ, I have God’s wisdom, but I’m still encouraged to ask for it when I need it: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Positionally in Christ, I have righteousness. Yes, Jesus took all my sins on the cross, and I am RIGHT NOW the righteousness of God in Him! But that doesn’t do away with the need for me to practice self-judgment when I do wrong. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17). For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
We err when we say that our positional righteousness in Christ does away with the need for self-judgment when we sin. This is called practical righteousness. To say that we need never confess sin again as a Christian is against the context of New Testament doctrine from the beginning to the end!
Don’t forget that Jesus chastised the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 for their “sins,” so if their sins were forgiven when Jesus died on the cross, why did He see the need to bring them up to these churches again? He told the church in Laodicea ((Rev. 3:14-20) that he would vomit them out of His mouth if they did not repent. He told them that He stands at the door and knocks desiring fellowship with them. Does that sound
like they don’t need to deal with their own sin?
There is not only a positional righteousness that we walk in as Christians, but there is also a moment by moment righteousness where we judge ourselves when we miss it and sin (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). Don’t forget that Paul rebukes a Christian for living in sexual sin and turns him over to Satan until he repents in 1 Corinthians 5: 1-7. Annanias and Sapphira were struck dead by lying to God (Acts 5:1-11). Hymenaeus and Alexander were turned over to Satan by the Apostle Paul because they were blaspheming God’s name (1 Timothy 1:20). I could go on and on.
The Bible does teach positional righteousness in Christ, but it is FALSE DOCTRINE to state that there is no need to deal with personal sin in my life as a Christian.
Confess your sins when you know you do wrong. That keeps your conscience clean, and it helps you stay uncontaminated with the world’s ideology of living.
In closing, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. One way to view this is that we are deal with known sin when we commit it by confessing it. To confess means to agree with God that the behavior we’ve been involved in is sin. When we do this, then the next part of the verse kicks in: He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We deal with known sin we commit and God cleanses us and forgive us for the things we do that we don’t know are wrong, or that we are not aware of as being sin the moment we commit the offense.
Let’s choose today to walk closely with Jesus, and to stay in constant fellowship with Him. A strong conscience is a powerful defense against Satan and his schemes to harm your life!