1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Whatever the sin, the Lord assures us that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness when we confess our sins to Him. 

The concept of ‘auricular confession’ or confessing our grave sins (in contrast to mortal sins) to a priest, is not a scriptural teaching.  I believe the teaching is that by confessing our sins to a priest, he can absolve us of our sins.  In Luke, chapter five, we learn of a crippled man who was brought to the Lord Jesus by four close friends.  Upon seeing this man, the Lord Jesus proclaimed, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Verse 20).  Upon hearing this, the scribes and Pharisees (who did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God) responded by saying, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Verse 21).  In this incident, the scribes and Pharisees were right.  It is ONLY God who can forgive sins.  They just refused to believe that the Lord Jesus was truly God manifest in the flesh.  (Read 1 Timothy 3:16). 

James 5:16 instructs us to, “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.”  The Greek word for ‘faults’ is ‘paraptoma’.  That word is also translated as “trespasses” (Matthew 6:14), “offences” (Romans 4:24), and “sins” (Ephesians 1:7).  Once we have confessed our sins to the Lord, we should confess these sins to the ones we have sinned against.  We should also experience the joy of confessing our sins one to another so that others might pray for us…even as we pray for them.

The Lord declares of Himself in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”  As stated previously, it is ONLY the Lord that can forgive us of our sins.  For a man to declare another to be forgiven is to replace the power of God to forgive with man’s forgiveness. 

We do not need a mediator, or a go-between, between us and God.  We already have that mediator.  We read in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 

Have you sinned by an act of immorality or any other sin?  Confess that sin to the Lord.  If your sin has harmed or offended someone else, then confess that personal sin to him/her after you have confessed your sin to the Lord.  Matthew 5:23-24 tells us, “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.”  Reconciliation to our brothers and sisters in Christ is accomplished by confessing to them any sin we have committed against them.  Unconfessed sin will hinder our proper worship of the Lord. 

It has been said that we should keep ‘short accounts’ with the Lord.  In other words, if we sin, we should be quick to confess that sin to the Lord so that are relationship with Him is not hindered.  (382.6)