If We Confess: Straight, Plain Bible Teaching

For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3

Lack of balance in the Christian life is often the direct consequence of overemphasis on certain favorite texts, with a corresponding underemphasis on other related ones. For it is not denial only that makes a truth void; failure to emphasize it will in the long run be equally damaging.

One example of this is the teaching that crops up now and again having to do with confession of sin. It goes like this: Christ died for our sins, not only for all we have committed but for all we may yet commit for the remainder of our lives. When we accept Christ we receive the benefit of everything He did for us in His dying and rising again. In Christ all our current sins are forgiven beforehand. It is therefore unnecessary for us to confess our sins. In Christ they are already forgiven, we are told.

Now, this is completely wrong, and it is all the more wrong because it is half right.

It is written that Christ died for our sins, and again it is written that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). These two texts are written of the same company of persons, namely Christians. We dare not compel the first text to invalidate the second. Both are true and one completes the other. The meaning of the two is that since Christ died for our sins if we confess our sins they will be forgiven. To teach otherwise is to attempt to fly on one wing!

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