Confession of Sin: A Perfect Standing Before God

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
It is most needful in handling any truth of God to cultivate the habit of calmly weighing all our conclusions in the balance of Holy Scripture. In this way we are preserved from the evil of hastily seizing one side of a question and using it in such a way as to mar the integrity of divine truth, and damage the souls of men.
Such is the case as between the perfect acceptance in Christ of the believer and of his confession of sins to his God and Father whenever he has sinned. It is quite true that all our sins were atoned for on the cross; and hence the very moment we believe, through grace, on the Son of God, we pass out of a condition of guilt and condemnation into a condition of perfect forgiveness and acceptance. The believer is united to Christ. He is complete as to his standing before God, so that the Word is "As He is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:1717Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)). "Ye are complete in Him" (Col. 2:1010And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:10)), "Accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1). Nor can we ever lose this perfect standing. It is impossible that a single member of Christ's body can ever for one moment be out of that condition of perfect favor in which he has been set by God's free grace in union with a crucified, risen, and glorified Head.
He may lose the sense of it, the comfort of it, the power of it; but the thing itself he cannot lose. It is his unalterable standing in Christ. Clouds may overcast the sun and hide from our view his genial beams; but the sun shines all the while with undiminished luster. The believer is accepted, once and forever, in Christ. He is united to Him by a link that can never be severed.
All this is divinely true, and is clearly laid down in the Word in passages too numerous to quote here. But, be it remembered, it is not until we believe that we enter into this blessed position. The foundation of it all was laid in the death and resurrection of Christ; but it is only when we, by the power of the Holy Ghost, receive into our hearts the precious truth of the gospel that we enter into the enjoyment of it. "In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:1313In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13).
And we have further to bear in mind that, though complete in Christ as to our standing and title, so that at any moment we are ready to pass into divine presence, and though possessed of the divine nature which cannot sin because it is born of God, yet we have sin in us. We carry about with us a sinful nature, and are liable, if not watchful, to commit sin in thought, word, and deed. "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. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [... ] the whole world." 1 John 1:8-2: 2.
Here then we have the doctrine of confession laid down. "If we," believers, "confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Mark, he says, "faithful and just," not merely gracious and merciful. That He is, blessed be His name, but He is more; He is faithful and just. On what ground? On the ground of atonement. It is wonderful to think that God can be so presented to us in connection with the forgiveness and cleansing of one who has committed sin.
But there must be confession. The conscience must be kept clear. It will not do for a believer to commit sin, and say, Oh! my sins are all forgiven, and I need not trouble myself about this matter. This will never do. A single sinful thought is sufficient to interrupt the believer's communion. It cannot touch his life or interfere with his security in Christ, but it can interfere with his communion and mar his comfort. He cannot possibly have fellowship with God while there is the smallest unconfessed sin on his conscience. What is he to do? Let him pour out his heart in confession; let him make a clean breast of it. And what follows? Full forgiveness and cleansing according to the faithfulness and justice of God.