Do Christians need to continue confessing sin after they’ve come into a relationship with Jesus Christ?
I was recently asked that question by a friend who’d been told that continued confession is unnecessary. Since that conversation with him, I’ve heard and read others propagating that same perspective. I don’t know how widespread that thinking is but it is categorically unbiblical and dangerous to one’s understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
The entire narrative and tone of the Bible establishes God superior to man and man subordinate to God. A methodical reading of just Proverbs reveals two core biblical points: 1. The way to grow in fear (awe/devotion/worship) of God is to pursue (relentlessly chase after) the wisdom (good sense), understanding (mental grasp) and knowledge (familiarity through experience) God offers in His word; 2. The person who embraces these actions with the goal of living a life pleasing to God will live; the person who does not will die.
Confession is foundational to both points, and it would be difficult to circumstantially support continued confession as unnecessary even through extremely selective proof texting.
Confession must be a constant companion along the route to obedience otherwise one slowly begins to forget their dependence on God. Spiritual arrogance settles in resembling the spiritual arrogance birthed in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve determined in their hearts that they wanted to be like God. Obviously, the consequences of their sin were devastating, and for the Christian to view confession any way other than profoundly necessary to a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ is committing spiritual suicide.
This list is not exhaustive, but here are 10 important reasons why confession should be a regular part of every Christian’s life. Confession:
- Justifies us before God and repentance of sin is the gateway through which we enter into a relationship with Jesus.
- Serves as a continuing reminder of God’s profound holiness in relation to our incomplete holiness.
- Reminds us of our position before God as created beings rather than the Creator.
- Destroys our self-autonomy and recognizes our dependence on God for our spiritual well being.
- Forces us to confront our idol worship of ourselves and of the various “addictions” we pursue for self-gratification.
- Forces us to take responsibility for our decisions that lead to our actions that result in our sin.
- Exposes how ridiculous we look in blaming others for our sin.
- Opens the avenue to grow in fear (awe/devotion/worship) of God which leads to growing in wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God.
- Removes a sense of self-condemnation knowing that there is openness and freedom with Christ, that sin is forgiven, guilt is removed and peace can reign in our souls.
- Expresses love for Christ by consciously purging our lives of the worthless things of this world while also pursuing the ever-satisfying presence of Jesus Himself.
Think about this, the analogy breaks down but it makes the point. If you wronged your spouse would you say, “Well, I’ve apologized in the past so I don’t need to ask forgiveness for any of the wrongs I’ve done since.” Do you think that position increases the chances that relationship will flourish or do you think it will begin to wither and die?
God does not need to confess anything because He has wronged no one. We are the offenders, and it happens all too frequently. Fortunately the grace that is found at Jesus’ cross and sets us right with God as we being our journeys with Him is also sufficient enough to forgive us time-and-time again as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. However, to access that forgiving grace, we must practice the discipline of confession.