Confessing Sins and God’s Forgiving Grace

Have you ever heard someone pray to God, “Forgive us for our many sins”? Maybe you have heard someone speaking of how all Christians sin daily or that we are all sinners. In the Bible, sinners are practice sin and are condemned or those who have committed sin and have repented. As Christians, we no longer practice sin, those who do so are eternally condemned (Matt 7:21–23; John 3:18–20; Rom 1:32; Gal 5:19–21; 1 John 3:10). “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26). How can we know if we are practicing a sin or not? To practice sin is to “walk in darkness” (1 John 1:6). To practice sin is to “continue in sin” (Rom 6:1; cf. 1 John 3:4–9). Practicing sin is to live in sin (Col 3:5–7). The person who continues sinning also continues doing so without repenting of the sin and without confession of sins.

However, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8), and “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). In the past, we were sinners (Eph 2:1–3). Jesus declared, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). If a person claimed to never have been a sinner, then that person lacks the humility necessary to recognize their need for Christ, so that such a person is not able to follow Christ. The truth is that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23, cf. 5:12). We need God’s forgiveness.

We have all sinned, but we cannot practice sin willfully, remain a sinner, and actually be saved by God’s grace (cf. Rom 6:1ff). We know that God’s forgiving grace is conditional, and only by walking in the light does Jesus’ blood cleanse us of every sin (1 John 1:7). By confessing our sins to the Father, we are cleansed of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Is that confession of sins for forgiveness only for past sins, or is this forgiveness for all sin — past, present, and future? Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matt 6:12; cf. Luke 11:4). Jesus taught to pray for forgiveness that is continuous, which clearly includes forgiving grace for past, present, and future sins. Are we saved one minute and lost the next? No. This is certainly not true. This is the extent of God’s grace that if we walk in the light and confess our sins then we are cleansed of all sins. Let us know that we are saved (1 John 5:13). We know that this forgiving grace saves only those who have died with Christ, been buried with Him, and rise alive with Him (Eph 2:4–6, Col 2:12–13).

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6:1–2).

Grace and peace to you all in Christ.

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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