Q. Can you explain how we confess our sins and repent of them so that we don't have to be judged later? I can't find your article about this subject. I would like to print it out for my Bible Study this week.
Thanks for your question. We usually file this article in the Family&Marriage section of Remnant Report articles .
Please understand that if we have accepted Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins then we will go to heaven when we die.
That is a done deal. There is nothing more we can "do." This is called "Justification." There is absolutely nothing more we need to do to go to Heaven.
But, after we have been justified, all of us must go through a sanctification process where we are molded or conformed to the image of Christ (Ro. 8:29).
Sanctification is a lifelong process. It consists of all the trials and difficult relationships we encounter in our walk with the Lord. God uses all of these situations to mold us into the character and personality He wants for us.
Nancy Missler says, "The darkness that He allows into our lives is 'Father-filtered' and is good" (1999, 34). This is a time when we learn like Job, "Though You slay me, yet will I trust You" (Job 13:15). "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:20-21).
All Christians will eventually appear before Christ at the judgment seat and all sins will be adjudicated. The only exception will be those sins for which believers have already confessed and repented.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
4 Cleansing Steps - Patterned after Solomon's Temple
According to Nancy Missler who has done good research in this area, there are four steps involved in cleansing our hearts so that we may grow into becoming Christ like. These are the actual steps that the priests of Solomon's Temple took in the Inner Court to cleanse themselves and the people.
Step 1 - Acknowledgement
The first step is to recognize and acknowledge our sins. We cannot repent of sins we don't really acknowledge. Acknowledging sins is a vital part of true, heartfelt confession.
If you lost your temper and became sarcastic with your teenager, then you must acknowledge your bad temper to God. If you ate to excess then you must acknowledge your gluttony before the Lord. If you drank to excess you must acknowledge your drunkenness to the Father.
We need to identify our sins. Take all of your negative, mean thoughts to God. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we must take all of these thoughts "captive to Christ."
"We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (HCSB).
Recognize and acknowledge any negative thoughts and emotions you have and take these things captive to the obedience of Christ.
"So whenever we find ourselves hurt, angry, resentful, envious, critical, self-centered, prideful, ungrateful, anxious, afraid, confused, bitter, judgmental or filled with any ungodly emotion, we must stop, get alone with the Lord and go through these steps" (2008, 28).
Step 2 - Confess, Repent,&Forgive
Once we have come to grips with the true nature of what we have done, then we need to confess and repent of all that the Lord has shown us - and to forgive those who have wronged us.
Name it&Own it Step
This is a "name it and own it" step. It means if we discover we have been arrogant and self-righteous, we need to tell the Lord. If we have been mean spirited and angry, we need to come clean and confess it to God. If we have abused drugs we need to own up to it immediately before our holy Father.
Psalm 32:5 says,
"I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity.
I said, 'I will confess my transgressions
to the LORD,'
and you forgave the iniquity of my
Confess so your Prayers are Answered
It is important to know that if you will not confess your sins before the Father, He will not hear your prayers! Sin is a hindrance to effective prayer:
"Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2).
Psalm 66:18 says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (KJV).
Forgive to be Forgiven
We must also forgive others for what they have done to us or the Father cannot forgive us for what we have done!
"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15, ESV).
Please understand that we are not "pardoning" offenders for their sins against us. Only God has the authority to pardon us for sins committed. We simply turn the offenders over to God. We know in our hearts that God will deal justly with them. We cannot "make things right" ourselves. Only God can do that. So we release those who have hurt us to God.
Step 3 - A Living Sacrifice
Give everything over to God that the Holy Spirit has shown you to be sin in your life. This is the time to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1). It is where we give everything that is not of faith over to Him.
The priests did this at the Brazen Altar when they sacrificed their offerings to the Lord. 2 Chronicles 7:1 says,
"Now when Solomon had made an end to praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices - and the glory of the Lord filled the house."
Step 4 - Replace Lies with Truth
Finally, step 4 according to Nancy Missler is to "replace lies with Truth" by reading God's Word. God will cleanse our souls with the "washing of water by the Word" (Eph. 5:26).
…"be renewed in the spirit of your minds"… (Eph. 4:23).
"… be transformed by the renewal of your mind…" (Ro. 12:2).
We must get God's Word into our minds and hearts daily. We can do this by reading One-Year Bibles or a few verses of a paragraph in a Bible each day, listening to tapes and commentaries by talented teachers, listening to Praise Songs on the radio or through CDs, and by hanging favorite scriptural reminders on our walls and in our cars.
He Speaks through His Word
Remember to memorize verses that apply to you and your particular problems. Many Christians complain that God never speaks to them. Yet, how can He speak to them if they don't know His Word?
He speaks to us and gives us guidance through His Word. The Holy Spirit brings scripture verses to mind that apply to your personal situation. If you don't have the Word in you He cannot speak to you.
David said, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11, ESV).
Pick a translation you like or that your church uses and read and memorize His Word so that He can speak to you.
Own up to what you have done wrong. Acknowledge it. Confess and repent of your sins. Forgive others. Turn everything over to the Lord. Then replace lies with God's Word - the truth - by reading or hearing the Bible.
Missler, Nancy. 2007. The Kingdom, power&glory: The overcomer's handbook. Coeur d'Alene, ID: The King's High Way Ministries. Available from:www.kingshighway.org.
—-Faith in the night seasons. 1999. Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.
Personal Update. The news journal of Koinonia House. 2008. April&May issues. (P.O. Box D, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816-0347).
Author Valorie Emilio holds an MA in history from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins and a V.O.M. Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.