While we should seek to remove sin from our lives, we will still sin. While Christ has declared us perfect, practically we still live in our old and fallen bodies. While God’s righteousness has been credited to us, we will not be without sin until heaven.
But what we do when we blow it is essential. How we respond to God as we sin is vital in our relationship with Him.
If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One. (1 John 1:8–2:1)
This verse is very practical. Hate sin. But when you do sin, make things right with God. And you are able to make things right with God because Christ is your advocate. His death defends you. Constantly.
So why do I need to confess if God has already forgiven me?
Kaye and I have a great marriage, but it is not perfect. And sometimes we argue, discuss, debate. OK, we fight. And we say things that are hurtful. We react in ways we should not. We offend each other.
Kaye has already forgiven me. I have already forgiven her. We are secure in our marriage. The relationship is not in jeopardy each time we argue. But the intimacy is harmed. So we always apologize.
When I blow it (and it’s usually my fault even if it’s not), I confess my failure to her and ask for her forgiveness. And our intimacy is restored.
While God has already forgiven you completely, confession restores your deep connection with Him. Confessing sin to God is not informing God you blew it as if He missed it, as if He does not already know. Confessing sin to God repairs the connection and allows Him to remove your guilt.
Adapted from Identity (2008, B&H Publishing Group)