HOW TO CONFESS YOUR SINS TO GOD by Christian McArthur for Core Christianity
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away…” (Psalm 32:3) I’ve felt the same torment–I’m sure we all have. What would my friends think if they knew? What would my spouse think? What would God think? Hidden sin traps and torments, and it ultimately kills (James 1:15). Hiding is an ancient problem. After disobeying the instruction of God, our first parents hid from God in order to escape his judgment. This remains our natural inclination.
The Bible beckons us to come out of the darkness and invites us to the light of truth. It does so by commanding us to confess our sins. Only through confession will we experience the joy and freedom of forgiveness. “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
What is a confession of sin?
We confess our sin by recognizing that we have disobeyed God’s law. In contrast to hiding or lying, a confession of sin is acknowledging the wrong we have committed before the parties injured. No matter who we have wronged, we must recognize that we have first offended God. King David, after sleeping with Bathsheba and killing her husband to cover it up, cries out to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:4) Clearly David’s immorality had multiple victims, but he rightly realizes his first sin is against God. We are no different, therefore, he is the first to receive our confession.
Confess your sins privately to Jesus.
During the time of the Old Testament, offerings to atone for sin were given to a priest to sacrifice on the altar. After Jesus came, that changed. We can approach God directly through Jesus Christ who is our once-for-all sacrifice and our eternal High Priest. Because of who Christ is and what he has done, we can go to God’s throne with boldness to confess our sins and receive his mercy (Hebrews 4:16).
Magic words are not required, only a broken spirit and a repentant heart. But If you are new to private confession, you can use this historic prayer: