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.

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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!