To this point, the factors we have considered concerning confession of sin focus on God, and what He has done in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is always the divine order of the Gospel, namely, that His solution to our problem precedes and supersedes the problem itself. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound... the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Romans 5:20; Revelation 13:8).
We will now address over the next few days our proper response in availing ourselves of our Lord's forgiveness and cleansing. This involves a number of truths with which we must agree with God (again, remembering that the primary definition of the Biblical word "confess" is "to agree with").
The initial human response to sin was the attempt to hide its effects, and create a carnal means of covering.
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Genesis 3:6-7).
Sin brought an increased self awareness to Adam and Eve, leading to knowledge of their nakedness, and the attempt to hide or cover it by their own efforts. Only God could have adequately clothed the man and woman after sin, and He did so by the sacrifice of an animal (foreshadowing the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary). "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21). This reveals our first responsibility in the confession of sins. We must determine that only God can help us, and that only He can provide true forgiveness and cleansing.
This may seem an easy thing to do, and perhaps even too easy. However, true repentance involves overcoming the proudful delusion of our flesh, and the making of countless "fig leaves" formed in the attempt to absolve ourselves. Because we are the ones who commit the sin, we are prone to feel that we must do something about it. Every false religion promotes this error in some manner, and only Biblical Christianity truthfully portrays the dire seriousness of the matter, and the Divine solution that alone can redeem us. "There is forgiveness with Thee" proclaimed the Psalmist to God, and to no one else can this be said (Psalm 130:4). This is especially true of ourselves. No work, ritual, or attempt of our own to make ourselves genuinely contrite can provide absolution for our sins. Only the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can grant true pardon, and our reception of God's mercy begins with the faith that He alone can forgive our sins, and that we need none other.
"There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
(I Timothy 2:5)
"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
(I John 1:7)