Section Eight: Confession And Forgiveness

Section Eight: Survey

Confession And Forgiveness

In the right hand margin, write "true" or "false" after each of the following statements.


God's forgiveness depends upon what we do to deserve it.



Sin is breaking a set of rules established by man.



Confession means admitting to God we are wrong.



Every man is a sinner.



Repentance is feeling sorry about your sin.



We have been forgiven for all our past, present, and future sin because of the death of Christ.



If we fail to confess our sins, we can lose our salvation.



Once God has forgiven our sins, He will never bring it up again to hold against us.



God is the only One who can forgive us our sins.



It is important for the Christian to accept God's forgiveness, or to face the guilt that follows sin.


Section Eight: "Confession & Forgiveness.

Key/Memory Verse: I John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


According to I John 1:8, 10, we continue to sin as Christians. Our memory verse encourages a specific response to our sin. Which of these responses is the correct one according to I John 1:8

There are a variety of responses to sin possible, but confession is the one response with guaranteed results. Hopefully, as you study and prayerfully meditate on this topic, you will experience the cleansing power of God's forgiveness through your confessing the sins of your own life.

I. What Is Sin?

Sin is anything that is contrary to God's nature in thought, word, or deed. (James 4:17, Romans 3:23)

Although Scripture clearly categorizes many actions as sinful behavior, it is important to note that sin can't be limited just to actions or external behavior.

Jesus clearly taught that when our inward thoughts and motives are contrary to God's nature, we are guilty of sin just as if we had outwardly sinned. (Turn to Matthew 5:21-22 where Christ equates the attitude of anger with murderous behavior, in Matthew 5:27,28, Christ equates lustful thoughts or attitudes with adulterous behavior.)

God is not merely concerned with the externals of our life and behavior, He's very much concerned with our inner motives and attitudes. In the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37, Christ said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."

God desires first and foremost that inwardly we love God with a love that transforms our hearts, our motives, will, and thoughts. This inward transformation will, in time, bring about a transformation in our external behavior.

Again, sin is anything contrary to God's nature in word, thought, or deed.

II. Dealing With Sin

When we understand clearly what sin is, we can quickly agree with the Bible when it states that we continue to sin as Christians (1 John 1:8, 10). The result of our sin is that we feel alienated from God. Another word for that feeling is "guilt"; we feel guilty. We expect God to punish. We feel that He has in some way turned His back on us, left us temporarily or lessened His love for us.

Man simply cannot live with guilt; thus he tries to deal with his guilt feelings in one of two ways -both of them wrong. Hal Lindsey's booklet, The Guilt Trap, presents these two common and foolish ways of dealing with guilt/sin.

1. "He (the person who has sinned) tries to justify himself. He makes excuses and offers valid reasons why he did something:

When we justify our actions, the results will be a feeling of loss of fellowship with God, because deep down inside we know that we haven't been honest with ourselves or God. We sense we've offended God by our deviousness. And when we feel that God has been offended, then we will also feel estranged from God. Remember, God isn't mad, but we think He is."

2. Another way man deals with guilt, and it's equally wrong, is to condemn himself. He sins over and over in the same area, guilt sets in, and then he begins the self-condemnation trip. Satan loves to get his hands on one of these "sensitive" Christians. With no trouble at all, he can get them to feel like no-good worms before God. He'll convince them they couldn't possibly expect God to hear them when they pray, and surely He wouldn't answer their prayers even if He did hear. He gets their eyes so focused on their shabby Christian lives that they're sure God couldn't possibly use them." (The Guilt Trip, p. 11)

A. Guilt and all its negative effects upon man's being and life is not God's desire or plan for our life. According to I John 1:9, what does God want you to do about your sin?

B. Because all sin is committed against God, to whom then must we confess our sin? (Psalm 32:5)

When we sin, God does not approve of what we have done, but He is not alienated from us. Then what about our guilty feelings?

God has put feelings of guilt over our sin within us. These feelings are result of the Holy Spirit's convicting ministry in the life of the believer (see 2 Corinthians 7:8). If you didn't feel guilty about your sin, then that would be like living without physical pain. Guilt in a person's spiritual life is like a bell or buzzer that goes off when you sin. When you sin, guilt should immediately bring you to the point of confession. Guilt is God's way of allowing pain to hurt your soul. Then you should confront the sin in your life and say to God, ‘I know it is sin. I know it is against You. I realize that it is my fault. I don't want to do it again. Give me the strength to walk on another path" (The Guilt Trip)

III. Confession:

The word "confess" is our English translation of the "reek word homologeo. Homologeo is a combination of two words, logeo means "to speak", homo means "the same." Thus, homologeo or "confess" means to "say the same". Confession is not begging for forgiveness; it is saying the same thing about your sin that God says— that it is sin and is your fault. Confession is an agreement with God that you have sinned.

A. According to Proverbs 28:13

1. What is the result of not admitting sin?

2. What is the result of confessing sin? (Will find compassion)

3. What should accompany your confession of sin? (Forsake sin and repent)

B. What should be your attitude toward sin? (Psalm 139:23, 24) (Let God lead us)

When I confess my sin, I am not saying, "God, please forgive me." When you became a Christian, how much of your sin did God forgive? The Bible says, "... your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake" (1 John 2:12). All of your sin is forgiven. Confession is not a matter of forgiveness; it is a matter of agreeing with God that you are a sinner and are willing to deal with sin. Jesus has already paid the penalty for all of my sin, and it doesn't have to be paid again. You are already forgiven; confession is just agreeing with God that you are at fault, and that these specific named sins are totally and completely forgiven through the death of Jesus."

IV. Forgiveness:

A. How is God described in Psalm 86:5?

B. According to Ephesians 1:7, on what basis are you forgiven? blood of Christ

We are forgiven on the basis of Christ's death on the cross in our behalf. Our feeling bad about our sin, or our attempts to "make up" for our sin through good deeds, avail us absolutely nothing towards the forgiveness of our sin.

C. What do these verses assure you regarding God's forgiveness of sin?

1. Hebrews 10:12 one sacrifice for sin for all time

(Christ's sacrificial death is the basis for all your sins - past, present, and future to be completely forgiven,)

2. Hebrews 10.14_

3. Hebrews 10:17

Christ's work, the forgiveness of our sins, is eternal and irreversible. According to these verses (as well as others, see Isaiah 43:25), our sins are eternal and irreversibly forgiven - never to be brought up against us again.

When we sin and acknowledge, or confess, our sin to God, we can know on the basis of I John 1:9, that God will forgive and cleanse.

If after confessing our sin, and acknowledging the truth of God's Word that we are forgiven, we still feel guilt, that is an indicator that we have turned our focus away from God's forgiveness to ourselves. Then we're saying that our sinful weaknesses are more powerful than God's forgiving power. Either He isn't big enough to forgive us or He doesn't want to forgive us; both of which are untrue - God's big enough to forgive us and He has!


As you went through this study sheet, some things about your life either currently or in the past may have impressed you as being sin. If so, pause right now, confess those sins, and claim the promise of 1 John 1:9, that God has forgiven and cleansed you from your sins. Thank Him for His forgiveness.






Mercy - God not giving us what we deserve.

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