Must we Confess to be Forgiven? (2 of 3)

Matthew 6 12 b

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we looked at whether 1 Jn 1:9 applies to Christians, and my conclusion is that it does. Today we explore why, if God forgave all our sins when we trusted in Christ, do we need to confess something that has already been forgiven.

First, let me affirm that all our sins have been forgiven in Christ:
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
• Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
• Col 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
• 1 Jn 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.

The basis for our forgiveness is our redemption through Christ’s blood. He paid the penalty for our sins so we can be pardoned. In particular, note in Col 2:13 that He has forgiven us ALL our transgressions. All means all. It does not matter whether our transgressions are great or small, many or few, remembered or forgotten, confessed or unconfessed, before or after our baptism, or any other condition, all have been forgiven for His name’s sake, according to the riches of His grace.

Then why bother confessing? Isn’t that redundant? Some preachers have argued it this way, “You don’t need to ask for forgiveness because you are as close to God as you can possibly be, raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6). Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:39).” Some even claim, “we are so intricately linked with Christ that when we sin, Christ is there. The whole Trinity is there with us.”

I find statements like these which mix truth with personal assertions to be dangerous and misleading to those young in the faith. We have become united with Christ (Rom 6:5), but not in a way that we are not distinguishable from Him. When we sin, of course God is there, as He is omnipresent. However, we do not drag Christ along by virtue of our union, as some seemed to imply, since God cannot sin. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, but that doesn’t mean God is as pleased with us as ever. When we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30), and our fellowship is hurt.

Positionally we have all we need in Christ. When we received Christ, He gave us the right to become children of God (Jn 1:12). He is able also to save forever we who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25). But the same Lord who gave us our position in Him also taught us to pray:
Mt 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
• Lk 11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

It has been suggested that asking for forgiveness was before Christ’s death on the cross, which changed everything from that point onwards. It is not needed after the cross. Although I agree that the cross is pivotal, I don’t believe asking for forgiveness to be no longer applicable. Would Christ teach His disciples to pray in a way that has meaning only for the three short years before the cross, and is irrelevant afterwards? For that matter, are all of the Lord’s teaching prior to the cross superfluous, not just for the Twelve, but also for all Christians thereafter? Most of what the Lord taught were before the cross, few after the resurrection. Are they all unnecessary? I don’t think so.

(To be continued)

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