Question: Must I keep confessing my sins daily to God so I can be admitted to heaven? I don’t want to die unforgiven.
Answer: When you accept Jesus as your Savior and become a Christian, the beginning of that life change is admitting or confessing to God you have sinned and need His forgiveness. God accepts your confession of guilt and applies the sacrificial death of Jesus to your account as a new believer, which is like the last payment due to pay all that is owed and to close the sin account. As a believer, or follower of Jesus and His teachings, you are counted as forgiven in God’s record and will not have any more sin debts charged to you – ever! This was Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth as a man, to pay the final price for mankind’s sins.
“When Jesus had received the drink, He said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
Because Jesus paid the debt in full for future followers like you with His own life and blood on the cross, you will always remain forgiven, even though you are still human and commit sins. Whenever God’s Holy Spirit prompts you to realize that you are falling back into doing the same wrong things yet again, it’s important to face those problems by admitting them and asking God to strengthen your resolve and show you how to turn away from sinful habits and choices.
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” I John 1:7-10
You can see that the Bible shows that you were forgiven when you first asked God, and you will never again be considered sinful by Him. Jesus took care of paying the penalty for your sins a long time ago when He died on the cross and was resurrected three days later. Your name was added to His “Book of Life” as a believer who accepted Jesus’ death as payment for your sins. If you were to be required by God to earn your forgiveness by asking repeatedly or performing tasks to cancel out wrongs, then God’s grace (His forgiveness and favor you didn’t deserve) would no longer be a free GIFT but would be something you had worked hard for. You don’t receive God’s gift by giving money, praying, working, learning, or by attending church, and He will NEVER take that gift away. Jesus has done the work for you!
“For by grace you have been saved through your faith, and not something you earned or achieved yourselves. It is a gift from God, not from any work you did, so that no one can boast of his accomplishment.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“As far as the east is from the west, over this distance has God removed our sins from us.” Psalm 103:12
As we know from personal experience, Christians are far from perfect people. We continue to sin, both knowingly and unknowingly. When we pray each day, we should feel remorse and again admit the wrongs the Holy Spirit has made our minds to recognize we’ve committed; we ask God for forgiveness and thank Him that He always does forgive. Is this a requirement in order to keep our salvation? No, it’s something we feel we should do before our loving heavenly Father to maintain our right relationship with Him from an attitude of humility and obedience. To ignore sin or refuse to admit that our actions are wrong leads to many problems, such as interfering with the transformation God is accomplishing in our lives. A regular practice of admitting our errors to God helps get us back on the right track – His road for our lives. Remember that when Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them the best way to pray to God, He answered with what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4), which included this instruction on confession:
“Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, just as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:3-4
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer…I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my sin to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:4-5
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
“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
Jesus didn’t instruct that constant confession was required to remain a believer and enter heaven after death, but it should continue to be our humble admission that we need His forgiveness. Also, we must forgive others who wrong us. Others often aren’t repentant when we feel they’ve treated us badly; they neither confess that they were wrong nor ask for forgiveness. Even in these cases, we must seek to view others as God sees them, as sinners in need of a Savior, and be models of repentance and of Christians who are thankful to Him! But, even more important than that, because God forgave you, He requires you to forgive others. Jesus spoke more than once about not forgiving us if we refuse to forgive! How can we claim to be His true followers if we reject His commands for life?
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Matthew 18:21-22
“Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
You may wonder, does God command that I tell other people about my wrongdoing or only Him? It’s wise to have a friend who loves you and keeps matters private. This also helps us to have another person to remain accountable to. Another one of His purposes for involving a friend is for our fellowship with other believers, for learning, growth, support, correction, and encouragement. But the scriptures don’t state that confession must be made public, such as at a church worship service. A church may have a practice of public confession, but this must not be conveyed as a requirement for salvation and church membership. Jesus criticized the religious leaders of His day for requiring more from people than God did!
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
The Bible does say that, before participating in communion, or the Lord’s Supper, we should prepare our hearts by asking God to show us any sin that is interfering with an attitude of humility and repentance we should have; then, ask for His forgiveness.
Proverbs 15:29: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
There are times when God may withhold His answers to your prayers if you are not acknowledging your wrongs and turning back to what He has shown you is right. There will always be people who claim to be Christians but refuse to live by God’s rules for life. They stubbornly cling to old habits and sinful behaviors and will not yield to God. Rather than erring due to weakness or ignorance, they knowingly and willfully oppose God by trying to decide right from wrong for themselves, which is a very dangerous practice.
“These people honor me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is useless and meaningless; their teachings are merely human rules.” Matthew 15:8-9
Have you felt convicted by His Holy Spirit in your heart and mind that it’s time to follow Jesus to a better life? Say or pray this to God:
God, I know you have a love for me that is so great, I cannot even imagine it. I confess that I have ignored you and not cared what you thought of me and my life. I want to get right with you and stay right, but I need your help. I have tried hard to change and can’t do it on my own. I understand that your Son Jesus died on a cross as payment to atone for all the wrongs I have done, and I thank you for that! I am grateful that you give me this opportunity to enter into a relationship with you through Jesus, and that He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to stay with me and transform me into the person you have destined me to be. Thank you! I will seek your guidance every day of my life, from now on. Amen!
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’” Romans 10:9-11