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

When we received Jesus as our Savior, we were forgiven of our sins and saved from eternal judgment. The Bible assures us of this fact.

But we shouldn’t think that since our salvation is eternally secure, we don’t need to be concerned when we sin. To entertain such a thought would be ruinous to our Christian life. On the contrary, during our life on earth, God desires that we would not sin.

Consider what the Lord Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8. Jesus is the only One without sin. Only He is qualified to condemn sin, yet He didn’t condemn this woman. Instead, He said to her in verse 11, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more.”

When the Lord Jesus saves us, He wants us to “sin no more.”  But as much as we don’t want to sin, we still do, even after we’ve been saved. Why?

Why do we sin after we’re saved?

This question requires a post in itself, but we’ll touch on this briefly here.

God created mankind with a pure body that was without sin. But Satan, God’s enemy, wanted to foil God’s plan for man. Satan is the tempter, the liar, and the slanderer. He came to man and tempted him to disobey God. Instead of receiving the life of God by eating of the tree of life, man took in the evil nature of Satan by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The pure body God created was polluted and became the sinful flesh. This was one of the terrible consequences of man’s disobedience in the garden of Eden that affected every human being.

This is why we need God’s salvation. Through believing in the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross for us, we were forgiven of our sins and saved from eternal judgment.

But even after we’re saved, we still have a sinful nature. This is because we were born again with the life of God in our spirit, but our flesh is still sinful, full of lusts and inclined to sin. This is why we can still sin even after we believe in the Lord Jesus. The question isn’t whether or not we’ll sin, but when.

 In another post, we discussed what we should do when we sin. The answer is that we must confess our sins to God, that is, simply agree with Him when He shines on and exposes our sins.

A  healthy Christan life depends on developing the habit of confessing our sins. This is how we can have a close, loving relationship with the Lord and continue to grow in Him.

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How to confess our sins

We first need to realize that we don’t need to confess our sins to a particular person, go to a particular place, or wait for a particular time. The only person we should confess to is the Lord Jesus Himself. Since the Lord is living within us, we can confess our sins to Him anytime our conscience lets us know we’ve done something displeasing to Him. And the sooner we confess, the better.

Now we’ll discuss some practical points about confessing our sins to the Lord.

1. Spend time with the Lord

First of all, we should regularly spend time with the Lord and in His Word. As we fellowship with Him in prayer, the Lord has the opportunity to make us aware of certain sins. We don’t need to search ourselves or fret over whether we’ve done something wrong. God is light, and as we spend time with Him, He as light exposes our sins. When He shines, we immediately see what we need to confess.

As we allow the Lord to shine on us, we’ll become more sensitive to the shining of His light. This is one reason why it’s a healthy practice to have a daily time with the Lord.

2. Confess specific sins

The Lord’s shining isn’t vague and general. It’s very specific. He’ll shine on things like a lie we told, the way we spoke to someone, or when we disobeyed Him. 

For example, suppose we’re talking with some friends and the Lord gives us a definite feeling to stop talking and go back to studying or working. But we disobey Him and continue talking. Then the Lord convicts us about our disobedience and we know we 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, we can be assured that we’re forgiven, and the Lord’s blood has washed away our sin.

3. Confess whatever the Lord shines on

We should confess whatever the Lord Jesus shines upon in us. We may think some things don’t matter, that they’re too small to be of concern. But if we let what we think are small sins pile up, we’ll eventually find it’s easy to let even a big sin remain unconfessed and suffer the consequences in our relationship with the Lord.

We should confess not only our sinful acts but also our weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures that the Lord shines on. For instance, one day the Lord may convict us about wasting our time doing certain things. If so, we should pray, “Lord, I confess I wasted so much time. I was so careless with my time. 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 keeping short accounts with Him by confessing our sins as soon as we’re made aware of them. 

For example, let’s say while talking with a family member we lose our temper and storm out of the room in anger. Then, as we sit in our room, the Lord shines on us and we 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 where we’ve offended not just the Lord but someone else, we also need to take care of the person we offended. So in addition to confessing our sin to the Lord, we must then also go and apologize to our family member.

Washing our hands is a good illustration of our need to keep short accounts with the Lord by confessing our sins daily, and even several times a day. We wash our hands throughout the day, whenever they get dirty. We don’t just let the dirt accumulate. In the same way, it’s best for us to practice confessing our sins immediately so we can be washed.

5. Spend some longer periods of time with the Lord

Besides our daily time with the Lord, we can also spend longer periods of time with Him specifically 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 and finer way. 

We can begin these times by praying with verses in the Bible or singing a hymn to the Lord. Then we can ask the Lord to shine on us, and we simply confess whatever He shines upon. Through spending longer times like this to fellowship with the Lord, our experience of confession and cleansing not only restores our fellowship with the Lord but also strengthens it.

Each of us can build up the healthy practice of confessing our sins. We may not be used to it at first, but we can develop this habit by simply practicing the points mentioned in this post. May the Lord help us to clear up our sins regularly to maintain our fellowship with Him.

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