By Bro. R.W. Caviness
Confession of sins is an integral part of salvation and walking humbly with God.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repentance, which is the turning away from sin, and turning to God, is foundational to salvation, and that turning away from sin has to involve a confession of sin. The very fact that you're repenting implies a confession that you are a sinner and that you have sinned.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
After God has given us repentance unto the acknowledgment of the truth, confession of sins is a must to maintain our relationship with God.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
These are fearful verses that deny the lie of the once saved always saved doctrine. Once we have received the knowledge of the truth we have no more sacrifice for sins. Jesus Christ is a once and for all perfect sacrifice, he paid the price for our sins on the cross ONCE. He is not going to be crucified again, the Bible is very clear on that.
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for
those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly
gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
We can not crucify to ourselves the Son of God afresh. But, God is merciful and longsuffering and he knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and he would not that any should perish. Our old sin nature dies hard, and all Christians are in need of deliverance from demons that work to keep them in bondage to the sins they want to turn away from once they, by the grace of God, receive conviction of their sins by his Holy Spirit. God has given us this promise in his Word to show us the way to maintain our relationship with him and to continue to walk humbly with God.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have
no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
IF we confess our sins he is
faithful to forgive us. Please notice there is an IF at the
beginning of the 9th verse. That IF means that the
forgiveness is CONDITIONAL, based upon our confession of the sin.
When we, by the grace of God, receive conviction of sin in our
lives, we need to confess it and then God IS faithful and just to
forgive it. The ideal we should all be striving for is to not sin
at all. Jesus told people to "go and sin no more".
Those that name the name of Christ are instructed to depart from
iniquity, and we ought to walk as He (Jesus Christ)
walked. He was tempted like we are, yet had no sin. However,
God has graciously provided a way for us to restore a right
relationship with Him when we sin after we have come to the
knowledge of the truth and that is through confession of sin.
Satan, our adversary is a deceiver and a counterfeiter. For every good and perfect gift that comes down from above, he has subtly provided a lying counterfeit that he tries to get Christians to receive to deceive them into believing they are in God's will while he can gain legal grounds to steal, kill, and destroy in the Christian's life. This is true for confession of sins also.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
If any man sin we have an advocate with the father, and that advocate is Jesus Christ the righteous. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
It's important to understand this verse to keep from being deceived into receiving Satan's counterfeit of God's gift of confession of sins for forgiveness and cleansing.
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
There is only ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. No other man can be your mediator with God, Jesus Christ is the only way any one can come unto the Father. Faithful shepherds that God has raised up and given a heart to feed his lambs, will always be leading you to the true shepherd and bishop of your soul, The Lord Jesus Christ. Hirelings that are attempting to gather disciples after themselves for the love of money (which is the root of all evil) will always try to set themselves up as your mediator with God. Instead of leading you to Jesus Christ through the preaching of the cross they attempt to lead you into the bondage of priestcraft where they would have you confessing all your sins to them.
They can not atone for (pay the
price) for your sins because they too are sinners. ALL have
sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Catholic church is
firmly rooted in the priestcraft of conditioning people to
believe that they need another man to be their intercessor or
mediator with God. This is blasphemous because the Bible is very
clear that there is only ONE Mediator between God and man and
that Jesus is the only way to God. What they are actually doing
is becoming little antichrists because they are showing
themselves that they are God by usurping the positional authority
of being a mediator between God and man for another man. Hebrews
7:25 tells us that JESUS is able to save to the uttermost them
that come to God by him, no one else is able to save you to the
uttermost, or at all. In no other name is their salvation other
than the name of Jesus Christ. No pastor, no priest, no preacher,
nor the Pope can save you from your sins, only The Lord Jesus
Bearing this in mind it is good to consider confession. Psalms 51 is a good place to go to study confession of sins. David had this testimony of God, that he was a man after God's own heart. Psalm 51 is his confession when he was confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin involving Bathsheeba and Uriah. In Psalm 51 we get to see how a man after God's own heart confesses sins.
Psa 51:1To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
It's not because of our goodness
that God forgives our sins, it's because of his lovingkindness
and tender mercies. Notice how he acknowledges his sin and
confesses that against God only had he sinned. All sins are an
affront to a just an holy God. All sins are sins against God.
Whenever a Christian sins after he has come to the knowledge of
the truth he is treading under foot the Son of God.
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
The important understanding that we need to arrive at with confession is this. All our sins are against God and they all need to be confessed to God as sin if we want and expect God to forgive us. Their is, however, a demonic spirit of confession that would deceive Christians into confessing each and every sin to those around them. This is not God's will, and it gives legal grounds for Satan to destroy relationships and cause divisions and schisms in the body of Christ. If you are in bondage to a spirit that has you in the error of comparing yourself with yourself and comparing yourself amongst other Christians rather than doing what you're supposed to do and compare yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and I confess to you that I committed a sin that you have never committed it's going to be a snare to your vanity. You're going to be tempted to become puffed up with pride and righteous in your own eyes saying something along the lines of, "well, I know I'm a sinner, but at least I've never done THAT".
Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
It is also a huge snare for a passive minded Christian to think on things that do not fit these rules concerning what we should be thinking about. If a harlot were to come into a church, and by the grace of God receive repentance and then begin to loudly confess all her sins in front of the entire church it would cause many to be ensnared in lust for instance. Another way Satan uses this is if someone is in bondage to an unloving spirit or a spirit of unforgiveness, and you confess a sin to them that they did not know about they may have a very hard time loving you in deed and in truth after they are burdened with that knowledge. Unscriptural confession also gives huge legal grounds to spirits of talebearing and strife. If you confess a sin to someone that has a spirit of strife, they're going to go around as a talebearer among the people and promptly get over into one of the seven abominations The Lord says he hates, sowing strife among the brethren. They then get themselves under the curse of smiting their neighbor secretly and they try to sow discord and strife among the brethren by being a talebearer and telling everyone else in secret what you mistakenly confessed to them. Talebearing and strife go hand in hand.
Prov 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Confessing specific sins to someone that does not have a right spirit in them will lead to strife and divisions in the body of Christ. Satan uses it to cause schisms within the body of Christ.
Another thing to consider is that once you confess your sin God is faithful and just to forgive you of that sin and to cleanse you from unrighteousness. Once you have in fact, confessed a sin then God doesn't remember it any more, and any person or spirit that tries to bring it up again is not acting in God's will. If you receive conviction from the Holy Spirit that you have sinned against God, you should IMMEDIATELY confess that sin to God as sin to restore a right relationship with God. Once you have done that you should forget it. We are commanded to forget those things which are behind.
Phil 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Phil 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If you are confessing it to someone else after you've confessed it to God, you have given spirits of accusation legal grounds to attack you by not adhering to the instruction in this verse to forget those things which are behind. If you haven't yet confessed it to God, then you are in error and need to do so. If you have confessed it to God you need to rebuke any remembrance of it that demons try to bring back into your mind. Satan attempts to use these remembrances of past sins that have been confessed to God as a way to keep Christians in bondage to the sins they're in the process of turning away from. If you make the mistake of confessing these sins to another man Satan can then use that other person to operate as an accuser of the brethren and try to bring it back to your remembrance that way.
The key to victory in our walk with God is the shed blood of The Lord Jesus Christ. We have something that the children of Israel didn't have that gives us the power and authority to have victory over sin and over demons.
Heb 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
That victory lies in having our consciences purged from dead works. It's only by having our consciences purged that we can truly be set free from the bondage that comes from the fear of death to love and serve The Lord our God with all our mind, soul, and strength. Satan tries to hinder us serving God through his attempts to keep us from having our conscience purged by the blood of Christ. When we confess our sins inappropriately, we are actually giving him legal grounds through ignorance to keep us in bondage to the sins. If you have another person with a spirit of accusation in your life that you have made the error of confessing things to that you shouldn't have, it becomes much more difficult to forget those things which are past because they are going to become a continual reminder of them.
It must be said that there IS a place for confession TO another person. If you have sinned against another person then you need to repent to them, and just like with God, repentance to that person has to involve a confession that you sinned and transgressed against them. If I were to come to your house and steal something from you, and then I received conviction from the Holy Spirit that it was a sin, I should go to you AND YOU ALONE and confess that sin and repent of it. Because all sins are against God I also need to confess it to God. What I should not do, is then go out and confess it to everyone else. Aside from all the legal grounds I'd be giving Satan to attack me through others, I'd also be giving Satan legal grounds to attack you. If you forgive me of some great transgression, and then I go out and tell everyone that I sinned against you and you forgave me I've just allowed Satan to use me to lay a snare for your vanity. You're going to have some people that approach you and commend you for forgiving me and pretty soon you're likely to become vain and puffed up in your fleshly mind that you're such a good person to be able to forgive me in the first place. If you sin against another person, go and confess it to them alone and repent of it. If there is not another person involved, then confess it to God, and then stand on his promise that he is faithful and just to forgive you of it and stand on the God's Word that you are forgetting those things which are behind. If you don't, Satan will try to use that lack of obedience to hinder you from pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Satan tries to use mass confession and public confession of sins to steal, kill, and destroy in the body of Christ. Ignorance of God's Word allows him to keep Christians in bondage because it's only the truth that we KNOW that sets us free. We are promised that all that would live Godly in this life SHALL suffer persecution, but there is no reason to give Satan legal grounds to persecute and attack us more than he already is going to. And, if you have made errors through improperly dealing with the issue of confession, part of what you are suffering from is not persecution for righteousness sake but is actually a buffeting for your faults because you failed to study to show yourself approved to God and bring yourself into agreement with the instructions he provided for us in his Word.
Improper confession of sins is driven and motivated by demonic spirits. One clue to discern the counterfeit of God's gift of conviction and confession of sins is whether or not it is a compulsory, or involuntary action. Compulsory confession is NOT of God. God never usurps man's free will to choose. God has given commandments, but it's entirely up to each individual to choose now, this day if they will obey them. God gracefully gives Christians CONVICTION of sins by his Holy Spirit and leaves it up to the Christian to CHOOSE of HIS OWN FREE WILL whether or not to confess the sins to be forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness. Demons always try to usurp man's free will and get man into bondage and slavery. Anything that is compulsory is not of God. Christians will often say "God MADE me do it", or, "I couldn't help it, I HAD to do it". This is an error and these are statements that exalt themselves against the Word of God. If it is something that is not subject to your free will that you are doing, God is not part of it.
1 Cor 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
A Christian that is in bondage to a spirit that is driving them to compulsively confess sins will find themselves "blurting" out a sin and then realize they had no clear intention to do so, and had not made a free will choice in their own mind to do so beforehand. This is another warning sign that demonic activity is behind the action.
Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
God works in us to will and do of his pleasure, he doesn't compel us or force us to do his will. The Holy Spirit is there to help us to choose of our own free will to obey God's Word.
Sometimes the roots of compulsory confession lie in a spirit of self pity which springs up from pride of life. If a Christian has a lust for respect of persons they can fall into the snare of confessing their sins improperly in order to try and manipulate others into catering to their self pity or flattering them. If one acknowledges that they used to participate in a gross sin then others may be deceived into flattering them about how great the obstacles were that they overcame in their walk with God. The person confessing the sin is often seeking to glorify himself and his own self righteous works rather than to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ. No one ever confesses or repents of any sin aside from the Grace of God giving them repentance unto the acknowledging of the truth, and no flesh has any cause to glory in His presence.
Job 35:7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
The repentance is a gift of God and it's because of his mercy and loving kindness. It's not a work of self righteousness that we give to God. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and he would not that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, but we have nothing that was not given to us. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. If we are trees of righteousness, it's because we were planted by God's own hand that HE might be glorified, NOT so that we might be glorified in comparing ourselves with ourselves, and glorying in how far we have come in putting down our old sin nature. There is also a Godly sorrow that leadeth to repentance, and there is a worldy sorrow that leads to death. Someone that is wallowing in worldly sorrow does not want to confess their sins to God and turn away from them, but they instead want to continue to indulge in the sin, and confess it to another man in the hope that they will receive pity from the other person. If the Christian they are confessing it to is not strongly rooted in God's Word, they may offer the person sympathy that reinforces the sinner's vain imagination that they can continue to sin and not reap what they are sowing.
If something is compelling, or forcing you into some action, even if it's something that seems Godly like confession of sins, it is not the Holy Spirit, but rather an unclean spirit that is behind it. They drive someone to do something that seems to be Godly, and then they deceive them into violating scriptures in the way that they do it, such as confession of sins to another man when the sins were against God only. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and he's always trying to accuse Christians of sins to keep them in the bondage of guilt and shame. He does this to keep them from having the freedom and joy that comes from having their conscience purged from dead works through faith in the work done at Calvary by The Lord Jesus Christ. Satan will even try to get Christians to assume guilt for non existent sins in order to burden them in the spirit of their mind. We are commanded to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good, and the only thing we have to prove things by is the Word of God. If something troubles our conscience we must consider if it's genuine conviction of sins by the Holy Spirit or if it's a demonic spirit of accusation before we take action. It is the Holy Spirit's role to convict us of sins God does NOT use demonic spirits to to convict Christians of sins. If it's the Holy Spirit, there will be a clear violation of something in scripture that is brought to our attention to show us the error of our ways. Even if there is clear indication of deviation from God's commandments given in his Word, we still have to follow God's instructions in how we deal with the sin to have it atoned for, and to avoid giving Satan more legal grounds to attack us.
ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If we've offended in one point, we are guilty of ALL the law. All Christians that have read their Bible should know that all other Christians are sinners. All Christians that have a genuine conviction of sins from God should know that they have a full plate working out their own salvation and need to be in fear and trembling lest they become castaways. The fact that sinning in ONE POINT makes one guilty of ALL the law should do away with the carnal minded attitude of comparing ourselves amongst ourselves by comparing our sins with the sins of those around us to see how good we're doing. There is none good, no not one. This is a good memorization verse.
1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief
Christians need to get a good grip
on this verse. Paul wasn't confessing that he was the worst
sinner in the world, he was confessing that he was the worst
sinner that he personally knew. AND the important thing is that
he said this is a saying worthy of ALL acceptation. Do you accept
this verse? Are YOU the chief sinner that you know? If you're
not, you're missing the mark and you need to get on your face and
ask God to renew a right spirit in you and give you the grace to
find repentance from your vanity and envy. We don't fully know
the thoughts and intents of our own hearts, and we sure can't
know nearly as much about the thoughts and intents of other's
hearts. If we're walking humbly with God we should be worrying
about our own sins and not those of another. If you're not the
chief sinner that you know, you'd better pray that you're not
having your conscience seared with a hot iron if it hasn't been
We are commanded to confess our sins one to another.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
This confession and praying for one another is intimately connected with healing. If I sin against someone, and that person is not able to forgive me and pray for me, they will be turned over to the tormentors for their lack of forgiveness and suffer physical infirmities in their own life because their lack of forgiveness towards me for my sins shuts off their receiving forgiveness from God. The Lords prayer attests to this fact.
Mat 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
If I sin against someone, and they don't do the scriptural duty of love and rebuke me, they will fall into the sin of hating me in their heart, and they will be walking in unforgiveness and suffer sickness for it. Jesus often told people their sins were forgiven them when he healed them. The lack of forgiveness towards our brethren keeps us from receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, and that lack of forgiveness of sins keeps us in bondage to the physical sicknesses and diseases. All sickness and suffering is the result of sin, and Satan keeps people in bondage to sin by deceiving them into not forgiving their brethren so that they are shut off from receiving the same good thing from the Lord. When we confess our sins to those that we have sinned against, we take away that stumbling block that we had cast before them that could have made it difficult for them to walk in forgiveness. If we confess the sin to them, and then they are able to forgive us and pray for us, then they are able to receive forgiveness from God and be healed of their infirmities. This becomes a litmus test for when we should confess our sins one to another. It should only be done to the point that it is necessary for healing to take place. If there can be no healing from the confession because the sin was not against that person, then it is unscriptural to confess that sin to them, unless the confession of the past sin is part of your testimony of how God has done wondrously and chosen to be glorified in your life by delivering you from the bondage of sin. If the sin caused a stumbling block to be cast before our neighbor and because of the sin they had opportunity to take offense, then it needs to be confessed to all those who had reason to take offense so that they can more easily forgive us and pray for us. Our lack of confession of sins to those that we sin against is a way that Satan keeps people around us in bondage to physical infirmities. If they are not strong enough in God's Word to not take offense and pray for us despite our lack of willingness to confess, they will fall into the snare of unforgiveness and be turned over to the tormentors. We can help cut off occasion for the enemy to attack our brethren by taking back those legal grounds by confessing our sins to those that we sin against and asking them to forgive us.
I confess that I have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that I am a redeemed sinner bought and paid for by the shed blood of the Lamb of God. Here's the way this should ideally work. If you sin against God and no one else is involved, confess it to God and repent and forget about it. If you sin against another person, confess it to them and repent, confess it to God and forget about it. If they didn't already know about the sin before you confessed it because they were not on the receiving end of it, it is unscriptural to bring them into the situation after you have confessed it to God.
Christians need to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling and quit trying to work out each other's salvation with priestcraft and witchcraft spirits of accusation, manipulation, and control. When people get out of Godly ordained order about confession, they lay snares for those that are of weaker faith to get into bondage to talebearing, strife, accusation, and sowing discord among the brethren. They also give Satan legal grounds to steal, kill, and destroy in their own lives.