Confession of Sin

1 John 1:9

The nature of man was not constructed to harbor evil. Sin is an intruder. Conscience, the fear of God, the capacity of memory, all want to acknowledge what is wrong, to expel it and to get rid of its sting. But men knowingly violate all this. They hide their sin. Thus they make untold misery for those about them and bring final ruin upon themselves.

The teaching of the Bible is perfectly clear on this matter. Confession is a good thing. It makes for pardon. It helps toward resisting temptation. It gives humility and vigor to the soul. And it is good, also, because it is the condition on which God grants forgiveness. “If we confess our sins,” says the Apostle, “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Confession is important if only because, in the nature of things, unconfessed sin tends with terrible swiftness to destroy the soul. Evil grows worse by being hidden. Hidden fire—what a peril it is! Undiscovered disease—how awful! If the fire had only been uncovered, it might have been extinguished. If the sickness had been pointed out, a remedy might have been found in time. It is so with sin.

Without confession there is no salvation. The mercy of God is infinite toward men, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has provided a way of purity. But we must plead “guilty” before God if He is to pronounce us innocent.

And without confession there can be no peace of mind. The soul with unconfessed guilt upon it is like the troubled sea, it can never rest. The conscience with unconfessed sin upon it has a burden which nothing can take away.

Confession is an essential part of repentance; not merely the confession of sin in general, but the confession of particular sins. God will be no party to the covering-up business. Without confession there is no road to heaven. Without confession, no hope in Christ.

The solemn message of the ancient teacher is still sounding out its great warning: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Bramwell Booth, Life and Religion

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