Do I Have to Confess My Sins for God to Forgive?

Jul. 5, 2017 | By Creflo Dollar


When we wrestle with the question of whether we must confess our sins for God to forgive us, we should remember that Jesus already offered us forgiveness two thousand years ago. The assumption that we must confess our sins, first, tells us that forgiveness depends on our own efforts. Forgiveness is part of the finished works of Jesus, but most Christians think they are required to continually confess their sins. Their fear is that if they do not do this, they will not have fellowship with God and they might die with unconfessed sin. A true understanding of His forgiveness reveals that He has already dealt with our sins. There is always a place for confession but, for believers, this should never be an attempt to get our sins forgiven. We confess and speak openly to our heavenly Father because we are already forgiven.

  1. Confessing as believers is radically different from confessing as unbelievers.
    1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:1-5).
      1. We must read the Scriptures in context. This entire chapter was written to unbelievers. Chapter two was written to Christians.
    2. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:6-10).
      1. If we read verse nine out of context, we may think we must confess, first, in order to get God to do something. This is not sound reasoning, because even if we do not confess our sins, God is still faithful.
      2. The light that is referred to is not our behavior, but rather our position in Christ when we are in Him.
      3. Because of the finished works of Jesus, we are already cleansed from sin once for all (Hebrews 10:10).
    3. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1, 2).
      1. “My little children” indicates this was directed to believers who were already children of God.
      2. There is a stark difference between how forgiveness of sins is discussed in chapter one compared to chapter two. There is a distinction between confessing sins as an unbeliever versus confessing them as a believer.
      3. Unbelievers need to make Jesus Lord of their lives, but as believers, we know He has already dealt with our sins.
      4. As believers, we have already confessed our sins and believed on Him. If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9).
      5. Forgiveness does not depend on what we do, but on what Jesus already did.
  2. Jesus forgave our sins already; we are the beneficiaries of this forgiveness.
    1. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then should they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged would have had no more conscience of sin. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (Hebrews 10:1-7).
      1. Under the Law of Moses, animal blood could not get rid of sin, only cover it for a year.
      2. All the animal blood in the world could not give the people a perfect conscience (Hebrews 9:9).
      3. The first way of dealing with sin was through animal sacrifices. The second way was through the sacrificial offering of Jesus’ body.
    2. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool (Hebrews 10:8-13).
      1. Jesus did not need to offer Himself daily. Therefore, we do not need to continually ask for forgiveness. His one-time sacrifice was forever.
      2. After sacrificing Himself, Jesus sat down at God’s right hand. His risen body is now in heaven.
      3. Thomas doubted that Jesus’ risen body was physically real, but Jesus allowed him to see for himself (John 20:24-27). A spirit does not have flesh and bone (Luke 24:39, 40).
    3. For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy (Hebrews 10:14, AMPC).
      1. As believers, we are cleansed without having to confess our sins first. This is deliberately written in the past tense because of the finished works of Jesus.
      2. Even when we miss the mark, we are being continually cleansed. Sin cannot stick to us.
      3. When Jesus is living inside us, we will not want to sin anymore. He changes us (Romans 6:1, 2, 15).
      4. We were made holy when we got born again. Holiness and sanctification are not ways of acting; they are our position in Christ.
  3. We have been freed from continually having to ask for forgiveness.
    1. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).
      1. The grace message liberates us and sets us free, which is exactly God’s intent.
      2. It is significant that this Scripture says “according to the riches of his grace,” and not “according to the riches of our confession.”
      3. If we had to confess in order to be forgiven, that would not be grace. Grace is unmerited favor that we receive by faith.
    2. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
      1. The Bible does not say we live from confession to confession. We cannot build an entire doctrine around First John 1:9.
    3. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
      1. If we insist on confessing our sins, as believers, in order to receive forgiveness, we must remember every last sin we committed and not forget any of them. Our sins are not always the obvious ones we think of first. They also originate from our fears, our doubts, and our worries.
      2. We should take care not to continually ask for forgiveness the way Job did. He was entirely sin-conscious, and constantly made sacrifices in case his family sinned (Job 1:5).
    4. 4. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
      1. If confessing our sins for forgiveness was so important, the apostle Paul, who wrote a large part of the New Testament, would have addressed it. It is significant that he did not; he wrote primarily about grace.
      2. When the people sinned, Paul reminded them of their righteousness. He did not condemn them.
      3. When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, He gave her forgiveness instead of condemnation (John 8:1-11). This free gift of no condemnation equipped her to overcome sin.
      4. Whatever is built on condemnation will cause a cycle of sin to begin and be maintained. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).


1 John 1:1-10 Hebrews 10:1-13
1 John 2:1, 2 Romans 10:9
Hebrews 9:9 John 20:24-27
Luke 24:39, 40 Hebrews 10:14, AMPC
Romans 6:1, 2, 15 Ephesians 1:7
Romans 1:17 Romans 14:23
Job 1:5 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
John 8:1-11 Romans 8:1

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