WHAT mATTERS? If our sins are paid for, why do we need to confess?
There are two kinds of forgiveness with God. Judicial forgiveness and parental forgiveness. Judicial, or legal forgiveness was procured for all mankind when the perfect man Jesus, was made to be sin on the cross, died the death that the wages of sin requires, and was buried to become the Savior of the world. Here is what scripture says, “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” 2 Cor.5:21 “For the wages of sin is death.” Rom. 6:23 “…we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.” 1 Tim. 4:10 Judicially and legally the sin debt required by God’s law has been paid by the death of the Savior on the cross. Christians and non-Christians alike have their sins paid for. The difference between us is that we as believers in His death, burial, and resurrection, have been given the resurrected life of the Lord Jesus, having been “born again.” But they, in unbelief have not submitted to the resurrected Lord and are yet dead in their trespasses and sins. The debt is paid, but they will not believe it, and belief is the only way to receive its benefits.
Parental forgiveness is given to those who have been made a child of God, who have believed Him, who are now members of God’s family as Christians. We have acknowledged our need to be saved (having repented or turned towards God’s way of thinking) and have submitted self-lordship of our lives to the only worthy one–the risen LORD Jesus. Because of our new relationship with God as His child, He desires fellowship with us. Sin breaks that fellowship with God. Therefore, He says in 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.” To confess literally means “to say the same thing as, or to agree with.” The Holy Spirit is the one we are to agree with. He reveals the thought or act we have done as sin. We agree with Him by calling it what He calls it, and God restores us to fellowship with Him. The sins we now commit receive corrective discipline, not punitive punishment.
Some would have us believe that this doctrine leads to immoral behavior and freedom to sin. Rather, 1 John 2:1 gives us clarity, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” What matters is that we come to God in prayer. (See Heb. 4:12-16) Acknowledge that all our sins have been paid for at the cross. Agree with God concerning our failure in the flesh (called sin) as convicted by the Holy Spirit. By faith, we thank Him for His forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness according to the promise of 1 John 1:9. We then endeavor to remember to, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Gal.5:16