Confession of sin is a matter of faith, which by definition, is a matter of agreeing with God. This perfectly correlates with the definition of the word "homologeo," from which "confess" is translated in I John 1:9.
This is to be expected because at the root of all sin is unbelief. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Before Adam partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he disbelieved the plainly stated word of God that death would ensue if he ate the fruit. Even more, Adam distrusted the character, nature, and way of his Creator. The same is true in us. Boil to its essence every act of disobedience to God, and a choice of inward unbelief will be found at the core. We choose to trust the world, the devil, and the flesh rather than our Lord, regardless of whether we realize the full nature of our waywardness.
It is not surprising, therefore, that agreement with God would be the way we access His remedy for our sins. We disbelieve Him in getting off track. We believe Him in order to get on track. Confession of sin means that we choose to remember and affirm the Bible's teaching in the matter of unbelief and disobedience. This series of messages has focused on the fairly broad issue of agreeing with God in order to experience His forgiveness and cleansing. What has He done, and what is He doing in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to make pardon available? How are we to respond in order to avail ourselves of His pardon? Discovering the Bible's teaching in this vital matter, and then choosing to believe the Truth in times of sin is God's means of maintaining our walk with Him in unhindered fellowship and a clear conscience. Again, we sin through unbelief. We are restored through faith.
This raises a vital issue. When we confess our sins, agreeing with God that He promises forgiveness through the blood of Christ, do we believe that He does in fact forgive and cleanse us? We must, because we add sin upon sin if we do not do so. In recent times, the false teaching has arisen in culture and the church that we must "forgive ourselves." This is a logical impossibility that has no basis in Scripture. It actually proceeds from choosing to disbelieve the mighty power of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus. If I feel that I still need to "forgive myself" after confessing sin to God, the truth of the matter is that I need to go back to the throne of grace until I have actually believed the One who sits on the that throne with nail scars on His hands and feet that proclaim the only mercy available for the atonement of sin. His forgiveness is all the pardon we need. We must believe it is all that we need.
Only God's grace received through faith in the finished work of Christ can forgive sin and cleanse our conscience of condemnation. When we adequately know and believe the truth of God's forgiveness, we have no need for any notion of forgiving ourselves. Indeed, His pardon is infinitely adequate to raise us up from any pit of sin and condemnation into which we have fallen. Growth in the Biblical teaching of the person and work of the Lord Jesus builds within us the confidence to "come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and to find help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). We shall not be disappointed when by faith we approach God's throne, finding that the sacrifice of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" is far more than adequate to restore peace to our hearts, and strength for our feet to again walk the path of righteousness.
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."