When I Confess a Sin
How many times have you expectantly confessed a sin to God, only to be disappointed because nothing happened or changed? We all have done that. And, we have heard many reasons why, especially that you must be patient and wait for the change. Or, God is trying to teach you something, Am I right?
Well, today with the help of the Holy Spirit I am going to show you why your confession of sin did not work, and I will show you what will work. Would that be okay with you?
First thing, I want to show you a verse from the Old Testament. Psalm 32:5 says it clearly.
I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgression to the Lord [continually unfolding the past till all is told], then You [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalm 32:5 AMPC
Here we have an OT verse that tells us what happens to us when we confess a sin to God. It says we are instantly forgiven for the guilt and iniquity of the sin we confess. Wow! Something is supposed to take place in us immediately when we confess a sin. There is an instant cleansing of unrighteousness.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:9 says when we confess a sin we are cleansed of all unrighteousness. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the Greek word for “unrighteousness” means a condition of not being right. When I first saw this definition, I marveled because the definition is very similar to the definition for iniquity. Strong’s Concordance in the Hebrew Dictionary, defines iniquity as perversity. Something perverse is in a wrong condition according to God’s standards. Thus, the definition for iniquity can be “a wrong or not right condition.”
For more clarification of what Psalm 32:5 and 1John 1:9 are telling us, Leviticus 5:17 in the New Jerusalem Version of the Bible shows iniquity as being the consequences of sin. And, in the center reference of some New King James Versions of Leviticus 5:17, iniquity is said to be punishment.
I want you to see that unrighteousness in 1John 1:9 and iniquity in Psalm 32:5 mean the same things. Therefore, in Psalm 32 the psalmist is telling us that God instantly forgave him for the guilt and wrong conditions in his life created by the sin he confessed.
The New Testament is always our standard for confessing a sin. So, now we can now see that 1John 1:9 is also telling us that when we confess a sin, we are instantly forgiven and cleansed of all guilt and wrong conditions in our life that came because of that sin. In other words, there is a noticeable change in us when we are forgiven – not a slow change, but an instant change!
This knowledge changes what we have believed about the forgiveness of sins. This tells us that many things we thought God forgave us for were not forgiven when we confessed them to God.
Some will question this. Some will say this is not true because Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. Some will also say that He always forgives our sins when we ask Him. I would like to reply to this by asking you to read what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 6 in what we commonly call the Lord’s Prayer. I’m sure many of you can say it from heart.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Let’s read the next two verses after the Lord’s prayer, also.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6: 14-15
Jesus said it twice in the same passage. If you don’t forgive others, you won’t be forgiven.
What an eye-opener! This is a huge problem in the church today. Now some things are beginning to make sense. It’s no wonder that often nothing happens when we confess a sin. This is because there is someone we need to forgive before God will forgive us.
If this seems to be your problem, here’s what you do. Remember one of the sins you confessed to God where nothing happened. Now, ask the Lord to show you who you need to forgive that is associated with this sin. When you know who you need to forgive, then prayer the following prayer to forgive them. You will be very glad you did this.
Father, I choose to forgive _____ from my heart for what I believe he/she did to me. Please forgive me for each instance of my apathy, bitterness, disappointment, distress, envy, fear, frustration, greed, grief, harassment, hopelessness, impatience, jealousy, lying, resistance, shame, thoughtlessness, and vengeance, each of which also resulted from my ancestors, back 4 generations, disobedience to You. Please fill my empty places with God, and please replace my problem with what is right, healthy, and loving. Thank you, Father; in Jesus name I pray, AMEN. _____, I bless you in Jesus name.
Now, ask God to forgive you for the sin associated with the person you just forgave. I would suggest that you ask the Lord to bring other people you need to forgive to mind so you can forgive them, too. You will feel much better when you are done! †