1 JOHN 1:9 (NLT) – First (1st) Confession is about true forgiveness and cleansing from God.
9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.
Being God’s people does not mean denying sin (1 John 1:8), but confessing it. Because all people are sinners, our Lord Jesus Christ had to die. Because sin is not completely eradicated from the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ, God graciously gave his followers provision for the problem of sin. John explained it here in a nutshell: If we confess . . . he is faithful and just to forgive.
To confess our sins means to agree with God that an act or thought was wrong, to acknowledge this to God, to seek forgiveness, and to make a commitment to not let it happen again. Confession of sins is necessary for maintaining continual fellowship with God, which in turn will enable people to have good fellowship with members of the church community.
Confession is supposed to free people to enjoy fellowship with Lord Jesus Christ. But some Christians do not understand how it works. They feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over; then they wonder if they might have forgotten something. Other Christians believe that God forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost. These Christians do not understand that God wants to forgive people. He allowed His beloved Son (God Himself became flesh – John 1:1-12) to die just so He could offer them pardon. When people come to Lord Jesus Christ, He forgives all the sins they have committed or will ever commit. They don’t need to confess the sins of the past all over again, and they don’t need to fear that God will reject them if they don’t keep their slate perfectly clean. Of course, Born-Again Christian believers should continue to confess their sins, but not because failure to do so will make them lose their salvation. Born-Again believers’ relationship with Lord Jesus Christ is secure. Instead, they should confess so that they can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with Him.
That God is faithful means He is dependable and keeps His promises. God promises forgiveness, even in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19-20). God wants to forgive His people; He wants to maintain close fellowship with them. But this can only happen when the way to Him is cleared of sin’s debris – and that can only happen through confession.
That God is just means that He could not overlook people’s sin. He could not decide to let people get away with sin or to make the penalty less severe. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sacrifices had been offered for sin, and blood had been spilt from the beginning. This could not change because God does not change. Justice would have to be done in order to decisively deal with sin. But instead of making people pay for their sins, God took the punishment upon Himself through His Son. In this way, justice was done, and the way was paved for God to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. Those who confess their sins to God can trust in His forgiveness because they can trust in His character.
James 5:16 NLT – Second (2nd) Confession is about healings and prayers.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
It is not God’s plan that His people be alone. Members of Lord Jesus Christ’s body should be able to count on others for support and prayer, especially when they are sick or suffering. The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any member, and the church should stay alert to pray for the healing of any who are sick. But we are often not only guilty of hesitating to lean on each other in our sicknesses and weaknesses. We are even more liable not to confess our sins to each other.
The recent emphasis on small groups within churches has risen largely from a need to recapture some of these basic features of life in the body of our Lord Jesus Christ that have been neglected. When Christians are really working to “share each other’s troubles and problems,” the world does take note, and we come closer to fulfilling “the law of Christ” (see Galatians 6:2). Loving your neighbor as yourself does include, above all else, praying for him or her.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results because the person who is praying is righteous. The person is not sinless, but he or she has confessed known sins to God and is completely committed to Him and trying to do His will. Again, we can say that the righteous people get what they want in prayer because they want what God wants.
The Christian’s most powerful resource is communication with God through prayer. It is the instrument of healing and forgiveness and is a mighty weapon for spiritual warfare. The results are often greater than we thought were possible. Some people see prayer as a last resort, to be tried when all else fails. Our priorities are the reverse of God’s. Prayer should come first. God is pleased to use our prayers to accomplish His purposes and He delights in answering our needs, but He is never bound by our prayers. God’s power is infinitely greater than ours, so it only makes sense to rely on it—especially because God encourages us to do so.