“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”, 1John 1:9,10 

We know from Scripture that confession is not what makes God forgive us. But why then, does God link confession to direct forgiveness of all sin? It is simply because confession allows elimination of sin from its roots.  Let’s go find this treasure. I believe confession turn forgiveness possible, for it is able to take sin away from us and remove them to put the possibility of sinning from us as far as the west is from the east.

Confession of all sins is a treasure in itself. It has got a mighty effect upon people and upon God.

I have talked to a Ukrainian woman as she came to the Lord. She was unknown to me and I came near her one day and said I would like to talk to her urgently concerning the salvation of her soul. She was put under such conviction after a few days that she thought the Lord would never forgive her. She asked me twice whether I would help her confess all her sins. I said yes. I told her, then, to go and write down all her sins on paper and bring them so we could help her reach the throne of grace. I could easily see she would not fix her life alone. She believed that it would work out by being helped in prayer, though. She went home writing her sins on paper (in her language) and brought them two days later. We talked for a while concerning the love and the word of God, (we were in a place where many people were passing by going to the beach, seeing we had no other immediate place to meet).

After a short prayer, she went on mentioning her sins in Portuguese before me (I am Portuguese) and it lasted for only two minutes. I kept my silence listening as she tried talking and pleading God to forgive her. Two minutes later she broke down in tears and started praying in her own tongue as if there was none listening or even looking at her any longer. People would pass by and look at her, thinking she was in a very sad moment of her existence. It shows just how wrong people can be. It could well be the the most glorious day of her life. She wasn’t even conscious of the fact that people were looking at her. She would look on her paper occasionally and there would be a new flood of tearful Ukrainian confessing, of which I could not understand a single word. I kept quiet right through as she talked her heart out to God. I tried hard to be non-existent. The presence of God was felt in the air. After a while, I felt there was no need for me to pray anymore, for I felt the Lord had forgiven her fully. She believed by being with somebody she trusted, and I felt she needed me no more after she had believed. We bowed down (perhaps one hour or so later) and I thanked the Lord for the forgiveness she was experiencing while people were looking at us. We went home and today that hard, harsh woman is the contentment of all those who had been praying for her for a while, and even to unbelievers. She was changed on the spot of confession. I recall her last words were: “If the Lord were human, if He was like a human being, He would have killed me long ago, for all my sins harmed Him greatly. I am His possession and lived as a wild goat!”.

This incident gave me a lot of thinking to do and I was so glad I could have followed what the Lord put in my heart to do to meet her problem and it worked out in a most marvellous manner. Yet, I was more touched by the fact that she did not break down when she wrote down her sins in Ukrainian at home, but rather when she confessed and mentioned them out. It was a touching scene to see. And then those words in Scripture kept coming to my mind, every now and then: “Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed”, Jam.5:16. I understood the practical part of that healing then. I saw it happening right there. I could have rejoiced greatly, but kept silent for her sake, rather crying with her as if I had committed those sins myself.

I am so sure she will never return to those sins she had confessed there. Confession has the power to do away both with the guilt and the very power of sin on the spot; it breaks down the barrier of all unbelief too and is able to bring God down to earth because of it. Most people don't even become aware that they have changed when they have, so effective is that power - they just feel light and clean, spotless, and can seldom account for what has happened in them at that point. They will hear from others they have changed and they will feel a lightness within which they cannot kill away unless they sin again, and that keeps them stay away from all sin from then on; they will continually ascribe it plainly to God because they lack the words to explain what has really happened within, and know not where the winds came from, nor where it goes from then on. Wanderers they were, in all kinds of sin, pilgrims they have become through grace. They will feel like the blind man that has been healed and said when people enquired if Jesus was Lord or not: "A man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go...' John 9:11. "He answered and said, Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that being blind, now I see", John 9:25. Real praise is never flattering towards God. It talks about reality.

Confession is also able to humble people the right way, for there are many permissive and wrong ways to let people humble themselves. it so happens because they see how sinful they are without having to experience any rejection by turning sin down nor by making it known. It makes it possible for them to be accepted and to know to be accepted without a word from us, from such as preach to them - at all. If we tell people they are forgiven because they cannot see it themselves, it is because they were not humbled as they should have been. And we have the promise, only "if My people will humble themselves and pray...."

This sudden lightness they feel in them is there mainly because sinning is put an end to, something which turns forgiveness a possible, experiencing task. Confession is mainly there to make someone stop sinning, rather than to tell God what we have done as if He didn’t know about it all, nor to buy God off by a new kind of a self-righteous confessing. There are other things concerning confession, though, like the justice of restitution and the like, which I will not get into right now. But, the link to confession is leading to salvation from sin and from sinning. If we enter this way called confession, the page of salvation from all kinds of sin will be opened up unto us, becoming saved to the uttermost from the power of sin. From here we may come to grasp the full meaning of the word in Prov.28:13, which goes: “He who covers his sins shall not be blessed; but whoever confesses and leaves them shall have mercy”. Confession of sin and the leaving of all sin for good, are linked throughout eternity, for it is a marriage which will never end. Jesus, at our confession, is able to take the sin away – that’s what turns forgiveness possible.

There is a story I recall from the time I have fancied worldly matters and things – it is obviously an imaginary story born in Ancient England from the castles of vampires. The vampires would go out at night, biting people and these bitten ones soon would turn themselves into biting ones as well, who, under the influences, would only feel safe hidden in the shadows of darkness. I recall how, as a child, I saw one of these movies where the main vampire, at last, was thrown into the open sun-light and withered away dying an awful death. It began to crumble wither away speedily, its body becoming, in a few minutes' time, as rotten as a body would after many days of decomposing exposure to the elements of nature. They followed all the bitten ones up to find the one who made them bite. They found him and threw him into open sunlight. The body of sin would, that way and in no time, found the decomposition it should have gone through, as the tale goes, during hundreds of years. It found its total decomposition in a few minutes. All bitten ones would turn to normal once the biting, influencing one died - something they found hard to do, until they exposed the one who caused them to sin, causing him to die through exposure. Only light would kill that influence for good and for real.

Although this is a devilish fairytale, yet there is something we may take from it for the purpose of dealing with this “body of sin” we are told about in Scripture. We read from Paul that “for whatsoever doth become manifest, is light”. It means that darkness, once exposed, may not be regarded as darkness but as something in the light and revealed from then on - it is become light. We know Christ forgives once a person becomes unable to be or to do what he has confessed. It is not a liar anymore who confesses to have lied. Confessing the lie exposes the liar to death. If a liar says “I have lied”, mind, he is talking the truth!

We see that the most known verse touching confession stating this very issue (something which is easily and promptly overlooked by all Christians and preachers who crave after ways to carry on sinning by finding a “Scriptural” excuse to do so). It says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful … to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  Mark the word ALL in there and take it not away from Scripture. There is no sin from which the power of God is not able to save us once light has been allowed to shine upon it the way it should. People who state they cannot live in holiness, know not the power of God and miss out on such a privilege as this! As long as they argue against it, they will not have it by refusing to be exposed.

If someone goes back to give stolen money, stolen honour, in fact, any stolen thing, it will mainly create an impossibility for the person who confesses to go back to the same sin again, seeing God will demand the same or even a worse humiliation and restitution from such again. Remember, this is a time where young converts still love the old wine more then the new one, and God, therefore, creates in them a perception without words that there is a greater price to pay by sinning than by not sinning. Grown up Christians will be happy to be humbled down, but not young converts. Besides, there is that awful conviction which reminds them how God feels about sinning for real: many believe God will not forgive them if they sin once more. (I uphold that people feel that way to be saved, for the opposite of it is confident Ananiah an Saphirah who might fall dead at the feet of Peter Act.5). After they come to love the new wine for good, they will wish they had humbled themselves even more! But now, in wild days of conception, perhaps, this will not be the case.

Besides the fact that the power of God has to take away sin, confession manages to close the door to it for good. This is just one of the ways it does achieve those things for the good of man, for there are many other good after effects coming from confession.

The confession of all sins will also open up the door to the perception towards God’s love on the spot. Remember: to love God with all our heart is what we are trying to achieve as soon as possible. The magnitude, the amount, of sins seen and contrasted against the light of God, put in match with God’s love, is something any young convert seldom resists and such a perception of the reality of God’s real love for them turned suddenly real unto them is fully able to melt them down on the spot to begin through so as to be turned into a flooding love towards their newly found Saviour ahead and be turned holy from then on, if holiness is followed and chased after and achieved in all faith. That’s why many of them just cry and wash Jesus’ feet with their tears, lacking words to express in a better way or form of expression whatever they have seen, to state what  it is they are experiencing and feeling all over them. They are drawn to God during such times of loving, vivid and lasting forgiveness! This is, in a vivid and practical form, what Scripture talks about by saying, “And I…will draw all to Myself” (“if I am lifted up”), John 12:32.

In here people begin to love God for real and it will lead them to unfeigned love eventually, once they lay down the weapons and the ways they “loved” with before, when they used to show just how they loved, according to the course of this world. People used to show they love by doing, giving and such like things. True love does not show, but it is and seldom is accounted for by the lover, and is seen only because none can hide an enlightened city set upon a mountain top. The world usually gives flowers to say “I love you” while loving itself. Once people meet God and His forgiveness, these start, right there, to put genuine love above giving, showing the absence of scenes of self-love and omitting love for self by pleasing others, which omit honesty and truth within from oneself concerning real issues of faith and love. They are now known to love for real even when not giving a flower to state so - love lives and breeds in the air, it is smelled and experienced in a distance and people know not where it comes from, nor where it goes from there. One pretends towards unreal and surreal things alone. Once God’s love is grasped as real, these weapons of showing “love” will soon die away as well in genuinely converted people because they really start loving (but these weapons will stay and remain with such as have not genuinely put forth their sins in the light, against the light of God). 

This turns confession of sins, one by one, such as God reveals, a greater issue than people may ever think of. There are other reasons we may attain to by confessing, but if we discuss them all, this will not be a short message any longer. On your knees you will find all reasons; go quickly, make haste towards wisdom and God will surely bless you with it on the spot. But start by confessing yourself.

Here is a last remark concerning legalistic confession. If the intuition of confession, the goal of it, is to have people stop sinning for good, people under a legalistic conviction usually create in themselves an opportunity to sin more by confessing over and over the same sins, seeing it makes them more and more aware of them, something they feel pleased with. If this is the case, they do not have to remind themselves of their own sins, but rather forget all about them if done so in the light of God for sure. Legal confession of sins is always a lethal weapon for the soul in the hands of the devil. Beware once the devil starts helping people confessing their sins! He has put Catholics to confess them to idols and priests already! It shows just how the devil may use truth to fabricate lies. Because of it, protestant Churches disregard confessing sins today after a biblical fashion because they have rejected all Roman Catholic ways, they say. Legalism kills such as are wrong as well as such who want to be on the right light concerning such an important issue as this! Beware of this double-edged, mortal and mortifying weapon of the flesh! It is able to reach both sides by one stroke. There are people all over the world today who disdain holy living, the kind of holiness without which none will ever see God,  Heb.12:14, because legalistic people have crossed their way somehow. Holiness is far above legalism, saints far holier these legalistic fellows - not less. Jesus said we must EXCEED Pharisees by becoming real and far better.

Confession of sin is a living weapon in the hands of a living God. Disdain it not, therefore. Confess your sins and hide not behind the excuses Catholics made to be reasons in you and among yours; allow it not to happen to have legal weaponry take away forgiveness from you and yours. Rather have God bless you through it. Calvinism and Armenianism have both the same problem. I have seen very few people living as legalistically as Calvinists do, even if they preach grace to overlook their sinning! I have also seen very few people depend upon God’s mercy as some Arminians do, so much so that they come to a standstill even preaching they depend upon their will power. There is nothing more dangerous to a person than coming out of Arminianism and into Calvinism, or the other way round, really. Wrong they were in spirit, more wrong have they become - one and the other. Soul work is not doctrine and the reality of it is what is at stake here - not the explaining of it, really. Whatever people preach and proclaim, their life and life style, is always the main issue we should mark out fully – the fruit of it is what is able to tell whether they have met God or not (not baptism), and whether they are still in the Way after having met Him for sure - if they have indeed. What they preach matters very little. Sin and Religious ways are twins which talk fiercely against each other, for they hate one another being equal and of the same flesh. Blessed is the man who does not enter their discussion. One day, as a small boy, I was following and huge dispute between two drunckards. One of them threw a metal thing to the other and it deviated and hit me. Blessed is the man who uses his time rather to enter the narrow door of salvation promptly and quickly. Now is the time. At least concerning its timing, the Arminians are right.

Have all your many, awful sins confessed in such a way as to put a sure end to them all for once: that’s the key to forgiveness. Jesus forgives a killer once such has stopped being a killer and not once he has confessed to it. Confession deals with the sinning power from within. Whatever people may say or state about it all, invent or even take away from or put into Scripture, this truth will always stand out (hope it does in a new light to you from now on): “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, 1John 1:9,10. We read also: "And the Redeemer shall come ... unto them that turn from transgression, saith the LORD", Is. 59:20. Nevertheless, it is exposure of sin which has the power to do away with it.

If you reject that because the devil has the means to do the same thing his way, there remains no cleansing for you unless you do the right thing the right way. Remember that Abel did as Cain did, imitating him and Abel was accepted. It was not wrong for him to do as Cain did (offering), just because Cain had been evil and invented offering unto God by himself. Achieve the same grace Abel did even if you believe other people are wrong by confessing as you should be doing. You should do it the right way then, if you know there is a wrong way, even if you confess sins with your brethren, such as can pray to be heard above for real, concerning such an important issue as this: your own life. Catholics got it from somewhere, from the early church maybe, even though they do it to a priest nowadays. You do it to God with your brethren if it need be - or with a godly man who can pray and be heard above as well. Amen.

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José Mateus