Why We Need to Confess Our Sins and How to Do It

As believers we’re saved eternally, and God desires that we, as believers, would not sin. We can see this in the story of the Lord Jesus and the adulterous woman in John 8. Jesus, as the only One without sin, the only One who can forgive sin, and the only One qualified to condemn sin, did not condemn this woman. But, the Savior’s last words to her were this: “Go, and from now on sin no more.” As much as we don’t want to, we still sin in our daily lives because the sinful nature was injected into us through the fall. Because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin, and our sin separates us from Him, becoming a barrier to our fellowship with Him and even causing us to lose the joy of our salvation. Isaiah 59:2 says,

“Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

How serious is sin! Its seriousness should make us realize we cannot tolerate it or give sin any ground in our lives. However, when we do fail and sin, what should we do?

The need to confess our sins

When we sin, a barrier is created between us and the Lord, which interrupts our fellowship with Him. This is why we need to confess our sins. When we confess our sins, we are forgiven, our offenses are washed away, and our fellowship with the Lord is restored. We shouldn’t ignore our sins or try to cover them up. Proverbs 28:13 tells us,

“He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Instead of covering our sins, we should confess them, believing in God’s word in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Hallelujah for the blood of Jesus! Whenever we confess, we’re forgiven of our sins, and Christ’s blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. What a marvelous provision from God! When we confess our sins, our fellowship with the Lord is restored.

So how do we confess our sins?

We may wonder how to go about confessing our sins. Do we need to wait for an appointed time or go to a special place? Do we need to confess our sins to a particular person? Fortunately, we don’t need to wait for a particular place or an appointed time. This is because the particular person our confession is made to is the Lord Jesus Himself. We should deal directly with the Lord concerning our sins. And since He is within us all the time and in every place, we never have to go somewhere special or wait a certain amount of time to confess! The time to confess is whenever and wherever the Lord shines on something we’ve done. And the sooner we confess, the better. Here are some important points concerning how to confess sins.

1) Spend time with the Lord

One crucial point to begin with is we need to spend time with the Lord and in His Word. As we spend time fellowshipping with Him in prayer, the Lord’s light will shine on us and expose us, pointing out certain sins. We don’t need to become introspective, seeking out our sins. God is light, and as we spend time with the One who is light, we are spontaneously enlightened concerning our sins. Then we can confess to Him the sins He shines upon.

2) Confess specific sins

The Lord’s shining is very specific. He’ll shine on things like a certain lie we told, or the way we spoke to someone. For example, suppose we’re talking with some friends and the Lord gives us a clear feeling to stop talking and go back to studying or working. But we disobey Him and continue talking. The Lord convicts us about our disobedience and we know we feel the need to confess. Right away we can pray, “Lord, I confess, I disobeyed You. Please forgive me for continuing to talk when you didn’t want me to. Cleanse me of this sin with Your precious blood.” After confessing in this way, we can be assured we’re forgiven and the Lord’s blood washes away our sin.

3) Confess whatever the Lord shines on

We should confess whatever the Lord Jesus shines upon in us. This includes not only our sinful acts but also our weaknesses, shortcomings, and defects. For instance, the Lord may convict us of our laziness or rebelliousness. If so, we should pray, “Lord, forgive me for my laziness. I’m lazy, and my laziness prevents me from spending time with You. Forgive me, Lord.“

4) Keep short accounts with the Lord

We don’t want our sins to build up between us and the Lord. So we should practice to keep short accounts with Him by confessing our sins as soon as we are convicted of them. Let’s say we’re talking with a family member, and we lose our temper and storm out of the room in anger. Then, as we sit in our room, we’re convicted by the Lord and realize we were wrong for losing our temper. We can immediately confess this sin to the Lord by saying, “Lord, I’m sorry I lost my temper. Please forgive me. Wash me in Your precious blood right now.” When we confess, immediately God forgives us. This clears up our offense with Him. But in cases like this, we also need to take care of the person we offended. So in addition to confessing our sin to the Lord, we must also go and apologize to our family member. Confessing our sins daily, and even several times a day as needed, is like washing our hands. Our hands get dirty throughout the day, and we don’t just let the dirt accumulate. We wash our hands when they’re dirty. The healthiest habit we can have concerning sin is to not allow our sins to accumulate, but to confess them so we can be washed. This keeps us in a good relationship with the Lord.

5) Spend some longer periods of time with the Lord

Besides confessing our sins daily to keep short accounts with the Lord, we can also spend some longer periods of time with Him to be under His shining. Once a week or once a month, we can spend an extra thirty minutes or an hour with the Lord to allow Him more time to shine on us in a detailed way. We’ll also have more time to respond to His shining and to confess in a deeper way. We can begin our longer times by praying over verses in the Bible or singing a hymn to the Lord. Then we can ask the Lord to shine on us. As He does this, we simply confess whatever He shines upon. Through longer times like this, our experience of confession and cleansing not only restores, but also strengthens our fellowship with the Lord.

Each of us can learn this healthy practice of confessing our sins. We may not be good at it right away, but we can make a point to practice the things mentioned in this post. May the Lord help us to confess daily to Him and also to spend longer times with Him to clear up our sins and to restore and strengthen our fellowship with Him!


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17 thoughts on “Why We Need to Confess Our Sins and How to Do It

  1. THis is a great study just when I needed it there it was thank you lord , I enjoy the lessons keep doing what needs to be done in jesus name. Amen

    1. I’m Catholic and there is a special grace when we go to confession bee we not only acknowledged we sinned but we also believe Jesus forgiveness. It’s not easy to open up and share your sins but so much rewarding when you leave it there in the confessional

  2. I am bless by the exposetory teaching.God bless u more.the bible says confess ur sin to one another.what kind of sins one need to confess to human appart from offending the person.

  3. There is nothing better than an intimate relationship w/God our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Savior. What a privilege if we can be used to be a help and encouragement to those around us by His Life in us. To maintain/obtain uninterrupted fellowship, I find I’m always needing to confess my sins. It was really helpful for me to understand that “sin” is just missing the mark of living out God’s Life. His Love and Mercy are needed everyday to bring us into an obedient walk w/Him. God has chosen to use mankind as a vessel for His expression on the earth. We choose to keep coming to Him to get our vessel cleansed and filled. By the blood shed on Calvary for our sins, we get the privilege of just keep coming to Him for His life, exchanging our sin stained garments for His spotless robes for the fulfillment of God’s Purpose. It’s a joy and privilege to engage in the exchange!

  4. Amen! God is Light!
    “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from every sin” 1- John 1:7

  5. What I was touched by was the real issue is that sin hinders or interrupts our fellowship with the Lord. To maintain our constant fellowship with the Lord requires our spending time with Him so He can shine on whatever sin there is so that our fellowship may be maintained unhindered. I know that on my newspaper route my attitude toward people or whatever I think about my newspaper job is always being tested by the Lord nearly everyday. Instead of just excepting the circumstances that are occurring on my route, I complain to the Lord and say, “Why this, why that” knowing deep within my being that it is the sovereignty that I am still doing the newspaper route. I want everything to go smoothly, with no problems at all. But by His sovereign arrangement He purposely allows obstacles to come my way. Instead of accepting or being content with my circumstances I complain. But deep within me I know for a fact that each time the Lord is exposing something within me concerning my attitude. When I get home the Lord melts me and I can’t help but confess my sin. I sense deep within the fellowship has been broken. So to completely restore the fellowship in full I confess my sin. I can say the Lord is breaking through in me. Hallelujah!! Quite simply the purpose of confessing our sins is maintain constant fellowship with the Lord. This is too marvelous and wonderful. Praise the Lord for the message!

  6. Such beautiful powerful words, I am going to share this with my friends and family in prayer warriors on my facebook because Jesus is the only one who can forgive your sins but man will not forgive when Jesus say he forgives you its just a feeling come over you I love the Lord and I won’t turn back

  7. Most of us sin with our mouths without even realizing it but if we do we need to confess it immediately!!!! Amen

  8. This is a very interesting article. I certainly agree that confession is a great thing. However, I also love both corporate confessions(as we do in the LCMS at every worship service, but I might as confessing to our pastors with those sins that bother us or trouble us is also very very good. And very very scriptural. Again here I need to be careful. This isnt law, it’s Gospel. And benificial. It will not make us any more forgiven than we already are, but even the apostles said “confess your sins to one another” and we see in the old testament the example of Saul…who for his pride would not confess and paid a bitter price for his folly….he was more worried about what the people of Israel thought of hi than what God commanded.
    Love the article.

  9. I have never experienced such forgiveness and amount of love from The Lord, up until just recently. I cannot express how much relief I felt and how much peace washed over me as I kneeled down, broke into tears and shamefully confessed of my sins to him.

    All of my life, no matter where I went or what I did, he always found a way in my life. I’ve been running away, turning my back on him when my life was going okay and would turn and seek him only in my times of need… Which, I regret so deeply. Now, that my relationship with him is much deeper and stronger through prayers and confessions… I’ve learned to seek him everyday, to confess, praise, and thank him for his eternal love and blessings.

    I can’t even start to tell you guys how much weight that has been lifted off if my shoulders, how much peace and joy my heart feels just knowing that I am saved by the grace of God!

    I noticed that as I paid closer attention, I hear his calling for me and by obeying his every command and serving him, I have received an abundance of blessings. I am so moved by the power of Christ! Thank you Lord, in the name of JESUS, Amen!!

    1. Dear Pang,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. We were very touched and encouraged by it. We have such a wonderful Savior who loves us!

      May He continue to make more of His home in your heart (Ephesians 3:16) as your relationship with Him deepens.

  10. My hope is renewed just reading all this as I realize Yeshua has made provision for my lack of allowing the Holy Spirit to empower my walking in my spirit.

  11. Honestly,I don’t know what happened.I am in a program for recovery for herion addiction and they speak of spirituality often.I started to read the bible for the first time in my life.My son died in 1990 from S.I.D.S,I stopped believing in God.I ended up in prison 5 or 6 times,got addicted to crack and shooting herion.It was that way from the time my son died.I thank the Lord daily for the program I’m in leading me to the Lord!I couldn’t imagine my life without him now!I wouldn’t want to.I’ve been sober for about 5 months.I have slipped up a few times in the beginning,but thanks be to God!!!!No more.I will continue my relationship with God,building it stronger,build a stronger faith and walk the way he wants me to.God has literally saved my life !2 times I was dead from drug overdoses,once when. I was 12 and once about 5 years ago.And He never gave up on me. with all of my horrible ways and not believing in him.Thank you God for not giving up on me even when I gave up on you!!!!!

  12. I love the Lord, I do. I want everyone to love him as well. It hurts me to see us going about loving him the wrong way. We all say we love the lord but we can’t even read his word and obey his commandments like he ask. Even I’m guilty but I’m trying to change for the better everyday and love him the right way by obeying his commands to the best of my ablitity and confessioning my sins.

  13. I really appreciate this fellowship. I’m so glad we don’t have to go somewhere special or wait a certain amount of time to confess. We can keep short accounts with the Lord by confessing, just like washing our hands prevents dirt from accumulating. If we confess, He is faithful and righteous to forgive and cleanse us. This is a fact I’ve learned to stand on. I appreciate this encouragement so much – “Each of us can learn this healthy practice of confessing our sins. We may not be good at it right away, but we can make a point to practice the things mentioned in this post.” Lord, I thank You for another day to practice! Amen.

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