For those who are saved, those who have the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, we are already forgiven for all the sins we will every commit. In fact, the Word tells us that we have been “made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) It is through the offering of the body of Christ, once for all, that we are free from sin. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

This has to do with our ‘standing’ before God, however we are called to consider our ‘state’ before God in our question. While our ‘standing’ is fixed and eternal, our ‘state’, or that which reflects our actions, can change and needs maintenance. While all our sins are forgiven, we still need to confess our ongoing sins to the Lord to maintain a good state with the Lord.

A couple of examples of our standing before God (those things which do not change) are found in:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:11, “…ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
  • 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

A couple of examples of our state (those things which reflect our actions and affect our good relationship with the Lord are:

  • Colossians 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
  • 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

With that in mind, what does the Lord instruct us to do when we, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, commit sin? He tells us in 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.” While we have been completely and eternally forgiven of all our sins (read 1 John 1:7), we must confess our individual sins so that our state, our active relationship with the Lord, is kept in good standing. If we sin and refuse to confess it, how will that affect our relationship with the Lord? It may cause the Lord to turn a deaf ear to our pleas. We read in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Let’s consider that verse as written in the Amplified Bible, “If I regard sin and baseness in my heart [that is, if I know it is there and do nothing about it], The Lord will not hear [me].” So, unconfessed sin in the believer’s life can have a serious impact on his relationship with the Lord.

For the Christian, true repentance will lead us to make restitution to those we have offended or sinned against. Sometimes that restitution is to say “I’m sorry”, sometimes it could include paying back money if we have stolen or acted frivolously with someone’s money. The Lord tells us in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more…” Restitution comes in many ways. The Word tells us that the Lord forgives and cleanses us when we truly repent of our sins. However, the Lord may still require that we make restitution where we can. Often, restitution brings reconciliation, both to the one you sinned against and to the Lord. If you have sinned against someone, James 5:16 says, “Confess your trespasses to one another…” (NKJV). Confess that sin first to the Lord and then to the one you sinned against. In humility, seek to restore anything you have taken that can be restored. (239.6)