Confessing and Asking for Forgiveness

For someone who is in Christ, for someone who has been cleansed, washed, and regenerated; their sins have been covered by the blood of Christ and they no longer separate them from God. If this is true, then why is it necessary to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness?

My response to this is in the following paragraphs.

First, consider the fact that healing is in the atonement of Christ. For believers, total healing is inevitable. Christ will descend and the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive will be caught up to receive new glorified bodies that will be incapable of sickness. Perfect and total health is inevitably ours if we are in Christ. This is our possession, but as Eph. says, we are in between ages, the age of inauguration, and the age of consummation (until we acquire possession of our inheritance), and we are in a position where we are asking for God to give us, in limited portions, what we are guaranteed in the future. Now, someone could say, if we are guaranteed healing, and we already possess it as our inheritance, why should we ask for it. The correct response would be, “God has determined to disseminate limited portions of our inheritance to us (his people) as he sees fit, and he has determined to do it “through us asking and trusting in him.”
Second, consider raising up covenant children. If you have a four year old that you want to train and teach the gospel, then there are certain depths and complexities that are above him. For example, a father of a four year old son is probably not going to teach his son that sin is a state of being, a disposition arising from our connection to our federal head Adam, issuing forth in all sorts of evil and wicked deeds that exemplify our need for a propitiation. Rather, a good place for a four year old to start is with the lie that they just told.
So, in other words, if you want to train them to trust that God will forgive them because Jesus Christ the righteous pleads their case, you start by using God’s appointed means of training; namely, confessing their lie and asking for forgiveness and teaching them to trust that God forgives them of their lie for Christ’s sake (not to say that discipline is not necessary still; it is).
For this reason, 1 John 1:9 may very well be the most important text for raising up Christ-trusting children because it provides the most fundamental means for instructing those who are not sure how to deal with their guilt and failures. 1 John was written to people who believed, but who had doubts about God’s forgiveness and therefore lacked assurance (5:13). There were people telling them that they needed to be sinless, and they therefore doubted that God forgave them when they simply asked Him with trust in Jesus. John stepped in to remind them, if you confess your sins, God is faithful, not to you, but to Jesus Christ, the righteous, crucified, and risen Lord, who pleads your case.
God is not merely concerned with our understanding as individuals. He has demonstrated an extreme sensitivity as to how his covenant children (believer’s children) are raised up and fully trained in their understanding of who God is, and how they are to relate to him.
Part II
Imagine that their are a billion steps of faith that a person could take deeper into their trust in Christ. Suppose that you are at step 25. How do you continue to take more steps deeper into your faith in Jesus. We are not automatically at a varsity level of trust in Christ’s finished work. In regards to individual sins that we commit, we grow in our trust in Christ as we “own our sins before God”, and trust that he will forgive us for Christ’s sake. This is how God has appointed us to grow.
Let me take myself for example: When I commit a sin, the process for me is basically the same as my Son’s, but what is broken down into steps is almost a single thought for me. Let me explain: I am called to own my sin. I know deep down in my heart the following is true: 1. I love money and that is idolatry. 2. I am addicted to material things (idolatry); 3. I have thoughts of personal grandeur (pride) 4. I am not the husband God has called me to be. 5. I am not the father that God calls me to be. I own those things, but I also recognize that all of these things are the result of the sinful state of being that I am now in, and that I am in desperate need of God’s grace to transform me. It’s not merely my need for forgiveness that I feel, but my need to be changed into the person God wants me to be. Kirkegard said that faith is being oneself before God. What he meant was that we stand with an open transparency before God. We don’t pretend that God is pleased with our idolatry, he is not. Faith stands before God with total transparency, and with the knowledge that even the faith itself is infested with sin, and rather than being discourage faith looks with utter confidence and says “It is not my faith, or my confession that God is faithful to; Jesus Christ the righteous pleads my case, and God is faithful to Him.” Now, this whole process sometimes takes 2 seconds for me. The life of faith is a life of learning more and more to walk in such transparency, with trust in God to be faithful to his covenant that he made with Christ. I did not start here though. Neither will my son, or your son, or anyone’s son for that matter. WE must train them. The process of confession and asking for forgiveness is such a means.

So, the whole notion that our sins, as believers, somehow separate us from God is not mentioned in the text. We confess and ask for forgiveness, not because we are again alienated from God, but, because this process is God’s appointed means of growing in our trust in Christ. We are called to mature in faith throughout our lives. With respect to sin, owning our sins and trusting in God’s faithfulness to forgive us our sins is God’s appointed method of growing us in our faith. Trusting in Christ, practically works itself and develops day by day; sin by sin, victory by victory. My sins do not aliennate me from God. Once I have sinned my question is: how do I walk away from this sin and deeper into faith? Answer: confess, repent, with full confidence that God will be faithful to the covenant he established through Christ. So, I walk away from sin, and deeper into my faith, when, after I sin, I trust in Christ and with transparency own my shortcomings and pant and yearn for God’s transforming grace to enter my life and make me more like my crucified and risen King.

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