A friend asked me a very important question yesterday.
What happens if I don’t confess my sin?
Statements like Matthew 6:12 and 1 John 1:9 speak to born again children of God primarily. So Christians should confess their sins? Yes, we should.
But what does this mean?
The word confess means to “say the same thing.” When you confess your sin, you must agree specifically with whomever you have offended or mistreated (whether God or another human being). So when I tell a lie, I confess that by speaking to God and saying, “God, I told a lie. I was dishonest. Please forgive me. I was wrong. You are right.” And then I must confess to the person(s) who heard me tell the lie, saying something like this: “I lied to you. I did not tell the truth. Please forgive me.”
You do not confess when you say something creative and clever, such as: “I messed up (or flubbed, or misspoke or made a mistake, etc.).” This does not agree with God.
When a child of God sins, he or she does not stop being a child of God. (Hear the helpful podcast audio, Permanent Salvation, here.) The moment you depend completely on Jesus for salvation, He saves you by His grace and never lets go. So what about confession? Is it necessary then?
For the child of God, confession is a very important practice to embrace. Here’s what happens when you refuse to confess your sins by agreeing with God and getting on His side of your failures. Consider this list of seven side-effects.
- You walk in darkness (1 John 1:3-7).
- You do not prosper spiritually (Prov. 28:13).
- You will experience physical, emotional and psychological distress (Psa. 32:3-4).
- You do not receive open access to God in prayer (Psa. 66:18).
- You are unable to genuinely worship God (Matt. 5:23-24).
- You are unable to enjoy close fellowship with people you have affected (Matt. 5:23-24).
- You experience parental discipline from God (Heb. 12:5-11).
Yes, refusal or failure to confess your sin does not nullify your relationship with God; but the side-effects are serious nonetheless.