Listen:  119.4

Let’s begin answering your question by reading 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This gives believers the assurance that when we confess our sins to the Lord, He will always forgive those sins and cleanse us.

We might wonder why we need to confess our sins if our sins have truly been paid for by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is true that all our sins have been paid for by the blood of the Lord Jesus.  1 John 1:7 emphatically tells us that, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  The confession of our sins is to maintain a good relationship with the Lord.  In confessing our sins, we tell our Lord what we have done.  When we confess in true repentance, we are restored to a good standing before Him.

Your question seems to suggest someone confessing their sins to someone else, perhaps a priest or a minister.  This practice is not found in the scriptures.  Let’s read James 5:16 which says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  This teaches us that we should confess our faults, or our trespasses, to each other and to pray for one another.  This admission of our faults to one another is in reference to personal offenses such as we read in Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”  We confess our faults to our brother to be reconciled to him; we confess our sins to the Lord to be reconciled to Him.

Should we write these sins down so that we don’t forget them?  Since we make our confessions to the Lord, instead of writing our sins down, we should just pause and confess these sins to the Lord right away.  He will forgive us immediately and He will cleanse us immediately.  (119.4)