If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
The habit to regularly confess our sins is a foundational discipline for the Christian life. We do this at the Spirit’s urging, in response to what He points out in our life. We specifically confess sins, not our nature but our acts and thoughts that led to disobedience. And it is specifically sins that God forgives.
The concepts of sin in the Bible include the idea of missing the mark, as though we were archers and there was a target that we were supposed to hit, but we missed it, not just missed the center of the target but missed the entire thing. Another concept is being “out of plumb” – a concept that builders would recognize, that a wall is seen to be straight by a plumb line, a simple weight tied to a string. To sin means to think and to act outside of the standards of God. Another concept of sin is to walk down the wrong path, to choose to go astray and wander away from what God has told us to be and to do.
How often do we hit the target and miss the target? How often are we out of plumb, not inline with the standards of God? How often do we stroll down the wrong paths in life – literally and figuratively? As the Spirit brings specific things to our memories, we agree with God about these matters. We confess them to Him, in sorrow and repentance.
As often as we sin and are convicted we should confess and seek His cleansing. His work is not to leave us convicted but to convince us of the forgiveness and cleansing we have in Him. This can be taken too lightly – no doubt about that – but it is still offered freely by Him. We cannot earn our forgiveness, grace means unearned favor. The favor is earned by the merits of Christ on the cross, and through that sacrifice and that sacrifice alone is sin dealt with. But there is sufficient grace there to deal with all the sins of every life.
What do you need to confess today? Take it to God, with specificity. Name the specific sin, the specific moment, the deeper attitudes, the moment when you turned off the path, the second that you began to miss the mark. He cleanses from all unrighteousness if we will place these things in His hands in true repentance and faith.
Lord, we thank You for Your promise of forgiveness and cleansing. Show us what we need to confess and cleanse us of our sins. Amen.