Confession and forgiveness
About confession the Bible tells us, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). The conditions of receiving the mercy of God are clear, just and reasonable. The Lord does not ask us to do some hard work in order that we may have His forgiveness for sin. It is simple. He who confesses and forsakes his sin shall have mercy (1 John 1:9).
Confession to both God and man
Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your faults to those that you have offended. If you have hurt your fellow human being, you are to admit your fault, and it is his duty to forgive you. Paul writes, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16).
Then, you are to seek the forgiveness of God, because the brother you have hurt is God’s child, and in injuring him you have sinned against his Maker. And our great High Priest, who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” and who is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” will cleanse you from every stain of iniquity (Hebrews 4:15).
The only reason why a person does not have forgiveness of past sins is because he is not willing to humble his soul and carry on the conditions of God’s Word. The psalmist says, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Confession must be specific
True confession must be specific and acknowledges distinct sins. Sins may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only. And there may be sins that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered harm through them or they may be of a public nature, and should be publicly confessed.
But all confessions should be exact and to the point, admitting the very sins of which we are guilty. In the days of Samuel, the Israelites strayed away from God. Consequently, they reaped the negative results of their sins for they had lost their faith in God. They left the great King of the universe and wished to be ruled by earthly kings as were the nations around them. For this they had to make a specific confession: “We have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king” (1 Samuel 12:19). They had to confess the very sin they actually did.
Confession should be accompanied by repentance
Confession will not be accepted by God without genuine repentance and change (Acts 3:19; Joel 2:13). There must be clear reforms in the life. Everything that violates God’s commands must be set aside (James 4:8). Sin darkens the mind and the sinner does not see the darkness of his character nor the gravity of the wickedness he has committed. So, unless he surrenders to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he remains in blindness to true nature of his sin (Isaiah 59:2).
Paul says, speaking of the work of repentance: “Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:11).
The Lord calls all to repent, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16, 17). And He promises pardon and life to those that forsake their sins, “If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die” (Ezekiel 33:15)
In His service,