By William V. Beasley
For me to confess simply, “I have sinned” would not really be noteworthy to any who reads and believes the Bible. Concerning the alien Paul said, “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), and to his “little children” (Christians) John wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). In the same context we are admonished to “confess our sins” (1 John 1:9).
While I do not believe the backslider must publicly acknowledge specific sins when he returns to his first love, it is, if my understanding is correct, specific sins when James said, “Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (Jas. 5:16). It is in this private, specific confession of sins “one to another” we so often fail.
A little discretion is in order. Do not place a stumbling block before the weak, or a temptation before the brother or sister who may gossip. A penitent confession taken out of context would be a “juicy tidbit” to the one who goes about as a busybody (1 Pet. 4:15).
Yes, it is hard, at first, to acknowledge specific sins. Our pride gets in the way. It is even hard for many to confess specific sins to God. Oh yes, we pray, “God, forgive me for I have sinned.” But how often do we pray, “Forgive me for lusting, for lying, for speeding (yes, it is a sin – Rom. 13:1-7), for evil surmising, etc.?”
No, God does not need us to tell Him what we have done; He already knows. We need to confess our sins that we may be forgiven. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). May God help us to so do!
Truth Magazine, XX:12, p. 2
March 18, 1976