If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
During my seminary days, Bertha Smith, a retired missionary from China who had seen the fire from heaven come on the Chinese people bringing great revival, spoke to one of my classes. After being introduced to our class by our professor, I sat on the edge of my seat to hear her stories first-hand. Expecting her to weave a tale of excitement, I was caught off guard when she queried, “Boys, are your sins confessed up to date?” She wasn’t there to tell missionary experiences, but to challenge young leaders to get ready to be used.
Confession for the believer restores the flow of fellowship, not reinstating relationship. Once an individual surrenders to Christ via repentance from sin and faith in Jesus’ atoning work, he is ushered into a vibrant, eternal relationship in a position of sonship. It is complete at that moment; and nothing is to be added to the work of Christ on the cross. His work guarantees to seal the union between the believer and God. It is done once and for all! Why is there a need for confession of sin? Remember, John was writing to a believing audience in his pastoral letters. Confession of sin for the believer opens the door for enhanced fellowship, not a renewal of relationship.
Our children, like yours, have had their moments of disobedience and correction. Regardless of what they have done, it never takes away their heritage and identification with me as their father. On the other hand, compliance with family expectations and guidelines keeps harmony and blessing flowing within the framework of our home. When sin takes root in the life of a believer, the relationship is never damaged. However, the momentary fellowship between the lawbreaker and the lawgiver is blurred.
As the admission of personal responsibility and sorrow is expressed for willful rebellion, the unspoken barriers of isolation which sin brings are removed. The flow of unbroken communication is enhanced. Like releasing the water from a huge dam on an expansive lake, the rush of reunion powers its way into greater service and future responsibility. Leaders, are your sins confessed up to date? Let the voluminous whitewater flow!