The Technique of Confessing Sins, No. 3

Techniques of the Christian Life


This is the technique of confessing sins. This is the third segment. As we have seen, we have a perfect God who has provided a perfect salvation for believing sinners, and it's so perfect that it can never be lost again. This is what we have referred to as positional truth. It was important that we review positional truth before we get to this subject of the technique of confession of sin. This background, as a matter of fact, will be relevant to everything else down the line on the techniques that we study. We have also, therefore, reexamined the factor of eternal security and the fact that a born again sinner, once he is in Christ, can never leave that position, but he does take with him an old sin nature. Consequently, we reviewed the structure of the old sin nature, how it works, and the devastating effects it has upon the lives of believers. We found that even though a person is in the family of God and he is destined for Heaven, he is fully capable of the most debasing kind of sins. Nothing has changed in that respect. The only thing that is different is that he has a control element which he did not have before.

Who Controls a Christian's Soul?

So the issue that we are concerned with is who controls your soul as a Christian. That's what we're leading up to. If the old sin nature, with all of its septic qualities, controls your soul, you have long range eternal destructive losses. It is not only loss (and a lot of grief) now for you in this life, but it is also eternal loss that you can never recoup. That's why this single technique is so strategic. You can blow all kinds of things in the way of money and make all kinds of bad deals, but someplace along the line you always have a chance to recoup. However, in this matter of confession of sin, you can never recoup if this technique is not applied--and applied (and I'm adding a qualifying word) biblically. You should really pay attention now, if you have not been carefully following, because we are not going to talk just about confessing sin in different ways that you have heard about. We're going to talk about confessing sin biblically. There are Christians who do indeed confess sins but it doesn't do them one bit of good because they have not confessed sin biblically. That's what we're driving at.

Sin Breaks Fellowship with God

We have found that when a Christian chooses to sin, he breaks fellowship with the Father in time. He leaves the inner circle of our diagram. The old sin nature takes control of the Christian's life. All production is either human good or individual acts of sin. Under this status he may teach a Sunday school class; he may be a Christian leader; he may witness; he may pray; and, all of these things, very sacrificial as they maybe, are done under the power and strength of the old sin nature. They do not have one bit of value in all the world. It is impossible in this condition to live the supernatural life that we have been called to live as believers.

Divine Discipline

The continuance in this status of broken fellowship will lead to divine discipline. Hebrews 12:6 tells us about that. This discipline will include physical incapacity. It will include sickness. It may even include death. Therefore, it is very crucial that the proper technique has to be applied because even your life is at stake if you knowingly do not apply this technique of the confession of sin. Many a person has checked out of this life in the days of youth, very prematurely, because of the failure to use this technique and to use it biblically. We never know when that's the case, but undoubtedly it has often been the case.

There's an important difference between being in fellowship, being spiritual, and being mature. We must understand something about positional truth: There's a difference between what is true about you because you're related to the Lord, and what is true of your fellowship--your walk with the Lord. These are two different things entirely. A Christian can do wrong and still be saved.

The Corinthian Church

We want to look at the scripture in 1 Corinthians 3 that deals with the carnal and spiritual Christian, in one more segment of background. In the book of 1 Corinthians, you can find over 60 different sins which were true of this congregation at Corinth. This was the carnal Church of the New Testament. It was also, strangely enough, the church which had the greatest array of spiritual gifts in the greatest abundance. They were most liberally blessed with people who had effective desirable spiritual gifts, and at the same time they were a very carnal church. In 1 Corinthians 3:1, the apostle Paul says, "And I, brethren (speaking here to believers), could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto to carnal even as unto babes in Christ." The Bible teaches that there are two kinds of Christians. One is called spiritual, and the other is called carnal.

The word "carnal" means "flesh" which relates itself to the old sin nature. A carnal Christian is governed by the old sin nature. A spiritual Christian is governed by God the Holy Spirit. Paul could not write to these Corinthians as belonging to the spiritual class, but only as belonging to the carnal class. Because they were carnal, and therefore, out of temporal fellowship, they were not making any progress in spiritual maturity. As you know, your spiritual maturity will go from a baby stage up to an adult stage, with an adolescent stage in between. These people had been Christians for many years, and yet they were sitting down here at the babyhood stage. The reason for that was because they were carnal believers. When you are a carnal believer, it makes no difference how many times you go to church, how much you read your bible, how much you pray, how much you give, or how much anything. If you're a carnal believer, you're going to sit right down here on rock bottom relative to spiritual maturity. That was the case with this magnificent Corinthian church with all of its spiritual gifts.

In this carnal situation, the soul is being controlled by Satan. These people were in a pretty bad way. Their carnality was due to the mental attitude sins as well as the overt sins of their bodies and of their tongues. They were thinking human viewpoint, and when you think human viewpoint, that is sin in itself. Therefore, they are in this carnal status. Verse 2 says, "I have made you with milk and not with solid food, for to this time you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able." Paul was forced to teach the Corinthian Christians elementary truths of doctrine because carnality had prevented them from growing into spiritual maturity. It is very hard to teach Christians who are babies. You have to really be simple. You have to be elementary. You cannot go into what the Bible calls the deep things of the Spirit of God. They were not able to bear it. Verse three says, "For you are yet carnal, for whereas there is among you envying and strife and divisions, are you not carnal and walk as men?"

Notice that it says that they "walk as men," which means they walk as unbelievers. Sometimes you cannot distinguish between the life of an unbeliever and the life of a Christian. Sometimes the life of a good moral religious unbeliever is far more attractive to look at than the life of a very carnal believer. You couldn't tell a difference and sometimes they were worse. The unbeliever will very often be very attractive on the outside, but, of course, he too is shot through with these sins of the mind--bitterness, envy, hatred, greed, worry, frustration, vengeance, guilt feelings, and so on. The carnal Christian is just as capable as the unbeliever to gossip, to slander, to criticize, to gripe, to discredit, and so on. The reason I'm stressing this is that Christians today, when we talk about sins, usually think about sins as (what we call) our great, gross, flagrant, overt sins. Then they think of a few taboos, and they say that those are sins. Yet, from God's viewpoint you discover that the worst kind of sins are the sins of our mentality--the sins of what we are thinking, rather than the sins that are outward.

The Seven Sins that the Lord Hates

The Word of God tells us the seven sins that God loathes above all other sins. They're interesting to look at because one of the problems we have with this technique of confession of sin is that we don't know that we have to use it, because of our estimate of sin. We will now study Proverbs 6:16-19: "These six things that the Lord hates; yes, seven are an abomination unto him." He is going to list 6 things here that God hates. The seventh is a climactic abomination in the eyes of God.

1) Pride

Number one is pride--"a proud look." Actually the Hebrew here says, "haughty eyes." This is a reference to the eyes (as a part of the body)--the eyes which reflect an inward attitude of the mind. Actually this is mental attitude pride. Therefore, first of all, God says that one of the worst sins heading the list is a mental attitude sin--a sin of pride--an arrogance which is conveyed by one's face. Pride, as you know, is one of the lusts which motivates the old sin nature. Proud people are not inclined to admit that they are guilty of sins. That's one reason that God hates this. Proud people are not inclined to admit that they are guilty of wrongdoing. It would ruin their pride. Consequently, they, because of this pride, tend to remain in a status of carnality and continue to be either do-gooders or workers of evil.

2) Lying

Number two He calls "a lying tongue." The next thing God despises is lying. This is when the mouth (as a part of the body) which is used as an instrument of verbal deceit. Again, this must come from a mental attitude. It's a condition of your mind where you want to slander somebody, where you want to misrepresent something, where you want to indulge in some gossip, or where you want to exaggerate. Here's one of the greatest expressions of the mental attitude often connected to pride--that we exaggerate. Boy, in the professional ministry, this is one of the favorite little stunts: exaggerating how many people attended; exaggerating how many hands were raised; exaggerating how many seats you have; or, exaggerating how many towels you use in the wash room over a Sunday--just to present a magnificent picture to the world out there. You can see how loathsome this is to God, and also this takes your "Mr. Clean / white lies" into account. These are not so clean in the face of the Lord. The basic procedure with the Christian is truth with tact. That's the order of the day. You do not have to tell everything you know or think. You may be wrong about a lot of what you think you know, or about a lot of what you think. But what you have to say should conform to the truth. Don't treat it as a white lie.

3) Murder

Then, number three He declares: "hands that shed innocent blood"--murder. That's one that you probably would have thought you knew about. You say, "Here's one of those overt ones." However, we also know from the Word of God that murder is also a mental sin that begins with hatred. Therefore, we're back to another mental attitude. By the way, this is the execution of hands that shed innocent blood. It is not murder to execute somebody who's been condemned for a capital crime, or to kill on the field of battle. This stems from the mental attitude of hatred.

4) Evil Scheming

Then, number four is a heart that "devises wicked imagination." This is dreaming up evil schemes. It's a mental attitude sin again--of daydreaming. Many sinful thoughts are indulged as daydreams and this is the thing that is included here. A mind which is conjuring up evil images. Evil thoughts will eventually, when given an opportunity, express themselves overtly. Many a Christian has fallen into sins that he would have been the first to declare that he would never be guilty of. But he was not guilty of them because he did not have opportunity to be guilty of them. However, because he had not really prepared himself with this sin of evil scheming, when the opportunity presented itself, he was fully prepared to enter it outwardly. That's the danger of daydreaming and evil mental scheming that you never intend to execute.

5) Mischief

Number five is "feet that are swift in running to mischief." This one is readiness to engage in evil. Mischief here means evil--an eagerness to go along to engage in something that is sinful. This again is a mental attitude--a mind which is so receptive to temptations. When somebody comes up and propositions you, you enthusiastically enter into the evil acts that are presented to you.

6) A False Witness

Then, number six is a false witness. This, of course, refers to perjury. This is connected to lying, but this is in the specific area of giving testimony which is fiction or which is a distortion of facts. Justice is based upon the evidence of witnesses who tell the truth. God is truth. Therefore, perjury, which stems again from a mind's attitude to deceive--a deliberate mental attitude of desiring to deceive. Therefore we are willing to perjure.

7) Discord

Finally, comes the one that God says is the one that he despises--that is an abomination to Him above all else. What is that? Discord. It says the worst of all sins is "he that sows discord among brethren." This is an abomination unto him, and the Hebrew says, "an abomination unto his soul." Unto the very deepest recesses of the being of God, this is what He despises most. He despises things like when you go around dividing the people of God, like in a local congregation with your murmuring, your criticism, your sympathizing with people with whom you should not sympathize, your egging on, your being willing to listen to somebody else's complaints. You are as bad and as party to that as the person who is making the criticism. You too, by that very act, are demonstrating: "God, You can't run your operation. God, You're so helpless that You can't run your show down here. We can't commit this problem to You. We have to discuss it among ourselves and see if we can create sides and divisions and discord among the brethren."

If you've got any historical frame of reference, or if you remember, you can probably think through within your own experience, and you will be able to think of people within your own experience who were guilty of sowing discord among the brethren, and you will discover that in time, the Lord placed them under discipline. The Lord removed them from places of service and from places of blessing, and He brought this upon their families, and He brought discord right back into their own lives. This is the way the Bible tells us that we are dealt with. With whatsoever you meted out shall be returned to you. If you sow discord among the people of God, you shall get discord back. If you go slander somebody, you will receive somebodies slander back. If somebody slanders you--that's easy. Somebody slanders you, and you go attacking back, God says that he takes the discipline that you have meted out, and it will be returned to you, and pressed down. In other words, you are guilty, and you will receive judgment upon yourself for your own mental sins. You receive the judgment that that person had coming to him--it is added to yours. You are thrown out of fellowship so you are in carnality, so there is a third reason that you begin to come under discipline. You begin to pile discipline upon yourself left and right.

So, here are the sins--seven of them. God says, "I will tell you what are real sins in my eyes," and you notice that every single one of them is in one way or another related to the mind. They all stem from mental attitudes. Some of them are overt. Some of them stay right in your mind: pride; lying; murder; dreaming up evil schemes; readiness to engage in evil; perjury; and, causing discord between believers.

Biblical Confession

We have to know how to use this technique. We have to know how to confess sin biblically. So, the means to victory over the sin nature is what we are interested in, because that's what causes us all this trouble--this evil thing in us taking charge of our lives. To begin with, there are two false ways of achieving victory over the old sin nature that if you pursue, you will bomb out. Number one is to eradicate the old sin nature. This is the will of the wisp hope. Here's how a Christian reasons: A Christian starts thinking to himself. He says, "You know, all the things that make me a victim to sin is the result of my old sin nature. That's why I sin. If I can get rid of my old sin nature, I will not sin." Is that true? That's true. Get rid of the old sin nature: well and good; you're clean; that's where it all comes from. The problem is, that raises the question: How are you going to get rid of the old sin nature?

Well, they conclude that if they have some climactic emotional experience, or make some great dramatic decision of committing themselves henceforward to the Lord, it's going to remove the old sin nature from their souls, and will project them into a state of holiness. This is what people mean sometimes when they come to you and they say, "I am in a state of holiness." What they're saying to you is that they don't have an old sin nature anymore. You immediately can see that there's going to be a problem.

Do Christians Sin?

The answer to all this is in 1 John 1:8, which tells us that this is not true--that a person never comes to the point in this life where he can remove the old sin nature. 1 John 1:8 says, "If we say that we have no sin (and you remember we learned that sin in the singular is one of the words that the Bible uses for the old sin nature), we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." This "if" is a third class condition. It says maybe you will and maybe you won't. But if you do say that you don't have any sin, that your old sin nature is removed, you are only deceiving yourself. You are not deceiving the people around you, because the truth of the matter is, it isn't. It says that the truth is not in us, which means that this is false doctrine for you to say that. True doctrine says that you have the old sin nature until you are in the Lord's presence. That's when you become like Him and like His soul, but not until then. This false view will never enable you to escape the victimizing work of the old sin nature within your soul. It will never give you control.

The Second Blessing

There's a second false answer to this, and that is the old second blessing concept. A Christian reasons that since all of his sins have been forgiven at the cross, all he needs now is another tremendous blessing subsequent to salvation to put him by God's supernatural power in control of the old sin nature. Then (the Christian reasons), while the old sin nature remains in his soul, he is no longer under its domination. Therefore, people seek some kind of Holy Spirit ecstatic type of blessing that they call the second blessing, and they think that brings them to a state of holiness and freedom from sinning. John 1:10 tells us that this is a false idea. John 1:10 says, "If we say that we have not sinned (and again it's third class condition--maybe you will maybe you won't), we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us." If we say we have not sinned (plural--personal acts of sin), we make God a liar. God says we do sin, and we're saying we don't. His Word is not in us. Bible doctrine again is lacking. We have false doctrine. We have come up with a false issue. The bible clearly declares that Christians do sin. We may read this in many places--1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Romans 7:11-15, Hebrews 12:1-2, 1 John 2:1.

Now we come to the very precious verse in the Bible which is sandwiched in between these two verses that we have just looked at in 1 John. It is 1 John 1:9 that you should learn and memorize. This verse is the key, the answer, to the controls that God has given us for the old sin nature. This verse summarizes the technique of the confession of sin. This verse applies only to believers. Unbelievers are not forgiven on the basis of confessing their sins. We know by the context of this book which is written only to believers. This verse is talking about forgiveness that believers need, and they certainly don't need forgiveness for salvation.


The biblical technique for the control of sin is: if we confess (and this again is third class condition--maybe you will and maybe you won't), if you do, the rest of verse nine will apply to you. If you do not, it will not apply to you. The word "confess" is the Greek word "homologeo". This word is made up of two words. The word "homo" means "the same," like homogenized milk. The second part, "logeo," means to admit, to name, to acknowledge, or to cite. Therefore, what we have here is a word that says to admit to the same thing that God the Holy Spirit is pointing out in my soul. God the Holy Spirit is pointing out to my emotions, and saying that was a wrong feeling you had. He is pointing to my mind and saying that was a bad thought. He is pointing to my will and saying that action was out of line. God tells you that what you said there was out of line. When the Holy Spirit says that to us, then we turn to him and say, "Yes that was out of line; that was wrong; and, that was sin." What I did with my emotions was sin. What I did with my mind was sin. What I did with my will was sin. We admit and we name the sin to God the Father. We name the thought. We name the deed. The Holy Spirit points out the sin on the basis of the Word of God, and we agree with him.

Now, notice: If we confess our sins, and we will confess because God has burdened our hearts as directed through His Holy Spirit that we have sinned. It is important for you to understand that it is not up to you to alert yourself to your sins. It is the business of God the Holy Spirit to alert you to your sins. When somebody goes running around examining his heart and examining his soul and looking to see whether he has sinned, he becomes a spiritual weirdo of the worst kind. It is this fanatical concern with: Have I sinned? This is the kind of a person (that some of you may have had experience with) who comes up to you and says, "If I've done anything to offend you today I want to tell you that I'm sorry." I mean that is really covering your tracks.

I used to work in a factory in Dallas when I was a seminary student. There was another seminary student who began every morning by opening his locker, kneeling down in it, and praying. And they had crummy small lockers in this factory, and that was really something. That was real devotion, like a little shrine he had in there. We were in the packing department, and our jobs included hammering nails. He would be concerned and keep track of how many nails he bent. One day I told him, "If you weren't so concerned with how many nails you bent, and making up those bent nails, you'd be able to get more in straight." But he was hung up on taking care of, "Have I sinned? Have I sinned? Have I sinned?" Now that's very gruesome, and God does not call you to that kind of a malignant attitude toward yourself. When you sin, the alarms are going to go off in your soul, friend. The red flags are going to fly up all around. You're going to have to be a real do-do bird not to know that the Spirit of God is saying, "Wait a minute. That was wrong."

The Holy Spirit is the sentinel who monitors our life and points out the sins. He does this for the unbeliever, we have pointed out, in John 16:7-11. He is the one who calls attention to the sin, a factor that we have to face. The Christian should not be obsessed with examining himself beyond a reasonable examination. I don't mean to imply that you should not concern yourself. I think there are times during the day when maybe you ought to sit down and kind of think things over, and that's perfectly in line. However, you should not be obsessed with it: "Is there something I should have confessed?" In other words, I don't want you to go home tonight and say, "I wonder if there's something I'm out of fellowship with, and everything I'm doing is going down the drain." The last time I taught, this is exactly what a lady came up and asked me. She was all beside herself that there just might be something she didn't know about that she should have been confessing, and she didn't really know whether or not she was in a state of fellowship, and it may have been all to naught.


The way of grace is stated for us in Hebrews 12:2: "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." It is Christ who is responsible, who authored your faith, to finish you in that faith. It is up to Him to see to it that, through His Holy Spirit, you are completed spiritually, and that you are completed in spiritual maturity. He does that by reminding you of what you need to know.

So, how does he remind you? Well, for one thing, he'll remind you through loss of peace (Philippians 4:6-7). He will remind you through severe chastening (Hebrews 12:6). He'll remind you through a guilty conscience (Hebrews 13:18). He reminds you through sorrow (Psalm 30:2). He may remind you through a remark that somebody makes. Or, you're sitting and watching a TV program, and the plot unravels, and suddenly you are reminded of sin in your own life by the plot you see unraveling. God has His ways of reminding. The issue is, not how he reminds you, but your response. He will remind you, but if you do not respond with the proper technique, you have placed the first layer of callous on your soul, and you have taken the first step down toward what could ultimately be the sin unto death. The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, points out our sins, and we confess them. That's Grace.


The only stipulation, the only requirement, for that position of divine good production is to confess. We are not called upon to repent of our sins. We are not called upon to be sorry for our sins. Sorrow will never cleanse you from your sins. It says "confess." It does not say that you are to even call upon God to forgive you. Once in a while, you hear people praying and saying, "Oh, Father, forgive us this and that." Usually they just cover it with a blanket statement like, "Forgive us our sins," and that covers the whole works. God is not going to forgive your sins because you ask for forgiveness.

Asking God

Think of how many Christians go to church every Sunday, and they know that sin is wrong and that they should do something about it. And, someplace along the line they picked up the mistaken notion that they should ask God for forgiveness. Some of them are even worse because they picked up the notion that God is not going to forgive them unless they go running to the person that they offended, or think they offended, or did offend without that person knowing it, and they confess to that person and ask for that person's forgiveness.

Asking People

God never calls upon you to ask for forgiveness of people, nor for making public confessions. And I have stood in this very sacred hallowed hall in which we now meet, and have had people come forward down the aisles to want to make public confessions. And I had to send them right back. This is an obsession. It is plain unadulterated human viewpoint when you think that you must add anything to this verse. You don't have it in this verse. You get this out of your old sin nature itself. There are many sincere Christians who are hung up on that because Satan, that character, wants to devastate grace, and this is one way of devastating grace. Just imagine the splendid example of grace in the technique of confession. I sin. God points it out. I admit it. He forgives it. I'm clean. Now that's Grace. Satan says, "No, we can't do it that way."

What if you confess sin to the Father and weep. Is that alright? That's alright, if you're emotional and you cry. So cry. Enjoy yourself. If you're that type, OK, but don't think that your tears are going to add to that. That's got nothing to do with it. There may be a personal resolve in your life that you don't want any more part of that sin. That's perfectly alright. It's alright for you to say, "Lord, I'm know this is wrong and I want no further part in it." Just don't think that promising the Lord, so to speak, that you're not going to do it again is part of it, because it is not. The issue is simply to name the sin, period. How you feel about it has got nothing to do with it.


As a matter of fact, what if you don't believe this? What if you believe that you've got to do some penance? Are you going to have your sins forgiven by confessing it even if you don't believe it? Yep. Even if you're dumb enough not to believe it, God is going to be kind enough to forgive you. You're violating his grace, and it would be very difficult, in a way, to do that because generally if you don't believe it, you'll confess, you'll have a guilt feeling about it, and you'll be right out of fellowship. Or, you'll confess, then grit your teeth and say, "I'm not going to do this anymore," and right away you're depending on the flesh and so you're right out of fellowship. So, in practical effect, I'm not sure that you could really violate this and add anything to it, and still get away with it.

Faithful and Just

So, it says, "He is faithful and just." "Faithful" means he will forgive you every time you confess. Some people might ignorantly say that you can only be confessed for a single specific sin one time--maybe two if God is really gracious, but that's all. You don't like that? So you've been doing worse than that, huh? He is faithful, which means every time that you do it. This is what Peter asked, "Lord, how many times should I forgive--seven times?" Peter thought that he had learned some doctrine and found a perfect number--seven. He thought that would be the perfect number of times to forgive. He thought, "You know, I've got this little fink, James, who gives me a little trouble once in a while. He's a little proud, and I'm going to watch him. And, John thinks he's kind of smart because he's such a good friend with you. So, every time I see pride in him, I'll remember--OK, one pride, and I'll mark it down every time, and I'm going to keep track." So, he's thumbing through the pages finding his friends' names so he can mark down their sins. When he gets to seven, that's all--no more forgiveness. You're out. And the Lord tried to say to him, "No, it's unlimited--seventy times seven"--just no limit to this thing. You're going to go on and on. That's how God is. He is faithful. He will do it every time you confess. You confess, you're back in the inner circle, and he has forgiven.

He can do this because he is also just. He is just in doing this because he has done this on the basis of the death of his Son. Now we're back to positional truth. That's why I stressed that. You can understand why God can forgive you if you understand positional truth. People who don't understand positional truth, and the inner and outer circles, are in a panic to know this. We won't get to it in this session, but the blood of Jesus Christ does continue cleansing us, as 1 John 1:7 tells us. Somebody will come along and say well that means I can really go out there and sin really good. Still, no matter how horrible and gross the sin is, God will cleanse it. Damage may have been done, and probably has been done. However, the blood of Jesus Christ, his burying our sins on the cross, cleanses us at the point of salvation and at the point in time that we need it.

Though all of a Christian's sins are judicially and positionally paid for, this forgiveness does not come into effect for you until you admit it to God. Then, it says, he does forgive. When it says to forgive, we find that our part is to name the sin, and God's part is to forgive it. You do not have to plead with God to forgive. You do not have to ask him to forgive you. That is not the biblical way, and when you do it, you are again imposing human viewpoint. Asking God to forgive you is a psychological device in order to try to make you feel better and perhaps remove some guilt feelings that you have.

Anytime somebody suggests that you to go up and ask a person to forgive you for something you have done, they are giving you advice which is based upon the concept that you must have emotional release from a tension which has been created by the fact that you have offended this person. If you want to go and tell a person whom you may have offended that you regret flying off the handle or you regret offending him, that's up to you. That's your privilege and you may do that, but don't think that this is in some way attached to your standing with God relative to the control of the old sin nature because it is not. That's an addition. It is up to Him to forgive on the basis that he says he will do it, and that is your confession.


The result, it says, is that He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness which means that you may have some sins you don't know about. Or, maybe you did know about them and you bucked the Spirit of God who was convicting you about that sin; you refused to confess it; a period of time has gone by; and, now you've forgotten about. Now you've got an unknown sin back there on your record that you don't even remember. That falls into this category of being covered by the confession of known sins. It cleanses us from that forgotten one too. Confessing known sins covers the unknown. That's what it means when it says that it cleanses us from all unrighteousness. One of the ways that Satan has for neutralizing Christians is to get them thinking that they no longer have an old sin nature and, consequently, that they are no longer capable of sinning. 1 John 1:8 declares that we Christians do have an old sin nature and 1 John 1:10 teaches us that we as Christians do sin.

So these two falsehoods are designed by Satan in order to divert the Christian from the verse that falls between these two, 1 John 1:9. 1 John 1:9 is the key to all supernatural living, to all spiritual growth, to all service which produces divine good. This is the way everybody who has an operational old sin nature is able to handle that sin nature. A Christian who is controlled by his old sin nature is carnal, although he is saved. One who is controlled by God the Holy Spirit is spiritual and saved. Positional truth is the basis for the forgiveness of sins of Christians here on earth in time because they are permanently in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ defends carnal Christians when Satan comes and accuses them (Revelation 12:10). He defends those Christians whether they confess their sins or not (1 John 2:1).

So, the question arises: why should we confess our sins if Jesus Christ is going to defend us against Satan anyhow, and if the sins have already been forgiven? The answer, of course, is that the technique of the confession of sins is God's way of breaking control of the old sin nature without man receiving any credit for it. In other words, 1 John 1:9 is a non-meritorious way of breaking the control of the old sin nature. All of the credit goes to God--no credit to man whatsoever.

So, in that verse we found that the word confess means to name the sin to God the Father. It's present tense which means we are constantly to do it. It's active which means that we have this duty to perform and we are responsible for it. It's in a subjunctive mood which is potential. We can do this. We may not do this, but if we do confess, then the rest of the verse is true of us. If a Christian confesses, the father forgives; the Holy Spirit takes control of the soul; and, the Christian is in a status of spirituality.

Only Confess

There are no requirements added to confess. Any requirements, like confess and be sorry; confess and promise never to do it again; confess and try better; confess and weep; or, anything else, that's all human viewpoint. That does not originate with God's thinking. That originates with somebody who is trying to play God, and, therefore, coming up with additional requirements. Be careful that somebody does not try to play God in your life. There are a lot of people around who are ready to do. There are no requirements beyond confession.

We're told that God forgives us every time we confess because the sin is already paid for in full on the cross. For that reason we read that He is faithful and unjust. I want to stress that it does not say that He is tender and merciful. It says that He is faithful and just--not tender and merciful, as if he were being kind enough to forget our sins, or to excuse us and to give us another chance. He had to pay for what we do. Therefore, He is just in forgiving it. Confession of sins secures forgiveness also for the sins that we have forgotten--the unknown sins. So, the confession of sin technique works whether you believe it or not. You may not use it because you do not believe it, but it still works.

Dr. John E. Danish, 1973

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