A personal admission of sins before God, with true repentance, asking for forgiveness from God through His Mediator and High Priest, Jesus Christ.
A public proclamation of God's purposes as revealed in the Bible, confessing or admitting one's dedication to do God's will, and telling of God's provisions for vindication of His name and salvation of men through Jesus Christ.
A personal admission to other Christians of our sins, in order that we may have their Christian, Scriptural counsel, help and prayers, that we may remain spiritually healthy and in harmony with the Christian congregation.
A false understanding—"The Sacrament of Penance—. .. This whole procedure is usually called, from one of its parts, 'confession'; ... it is a judicial process in which the penitent is at once the accuser, the person accused, and the witness, while the priest pronounces judgment and sentence,... the confession is made not in the secrecy of the penitent's heart nor to a layman as friend and advocate, nor to a representative of human authority, but to a duly ordained priest with requisite jurisdiction and with the 'power of the keys', i.e., the power to forgive sins which Christ granted to his church." —The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911, Vol. XI, pages 618, 619.
True confession originated with righteous Abel, who admitted his sins and made a sacrificial offering to God, properly foreshadowing the ransom-providing sacrifice of Christ.—Hebrews 11:4.
The false practice of confessing to priests began in ancient pagan Babylon. (See Hislop's The Two Babylons, pages 9, 10.) The false doctrine of penance was reconfirmed in the Roman Catholic Church by the Council of Trent (1551)
God the One to Whom to Confess for Forgiveness of Sins Through Christ
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Matthew 6:9-14 "Our Father in the heavens,. . . forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
Psalm 32:5 "I acknowledge my sin unto You, and my iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
Ephesians 1:7 "By means of Him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His undeserved kindness."
Mark 11:25, 26 "And when you stand praying, forgive whatever you have against anyone, in order that your Father who is in the heavens may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in the heavens forgive your trespasses."
Ephesians 4:32 "But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you."
Daniel 9:9 "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness; for we have rebelled against Him."
Christ the Only Mediator Between God and Men
1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 2:18 "Because through Him we, both peoples, have the approach to the Father by one spirit."
Ephesians 3:11, 12 "According to the eternal purpose which He formed in connection with the Christ, Jesus our Lord, by means of whom we have this freeness of speech and an approach with confidence through our faith in Him."
Romans 5:1, 2 "Therefore, now that we have been declared righteous as a result of faith, let us enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have gained our approach by faith into this undeserved kindness in which we now stand, and let us exult, based on hope of the glory of God."
On Accepting Christ, Former Sins Are Confessed
Acts 19:18 "And many of those who had become believers would come and confess and report their practices openly."
If Spiritually Sick, It Is Proper for Christians to Confess Sins to Fellow Christians So They Can Counsel, Help Us, Pray for Us—This Command Given Specifically to God's Anointed Servants
James 5:13-16 "Is there anyone suffering evil among you? Let him carry on prayer. Is there anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms. Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, rubbing him with oil in the name of Jehovah. And the prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him. Therefore openly confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may get healed. A righteous man's supplication when it is at work has much force."
No Man Can Forgive Sins —Healing Equally as Easy
Luke 5:23. 24 " 'Which is easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven you," or to say, "Get up and walk"? But in order for you to know that the Son of man has authority on the earth to forgive sins—' He said to the paralyzed man: 'I say to you, Get up and pick up your little bed and be on your way home.' "
Improper for Priest to Interrogate Person About Every Phase of His Life
1 Peter 4:15 "However, let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a busybody in other people's matters."
2 Thessalonians 3:11 "For we hear certain ones are walking disorderly among you, not working at all but meddling with what does not concern them."
God Through Christ Judges
Hebrews 10:30 "For we know Him that said, 'Vengeance is Mine; I will recompense'; and again, 'Jehovah will judge His people.' "
John 5:22 "For the Father judges no one at all, but He has committed all the judging to the Son."
Romans 2:16 "This will be in the day when God through Christ Jesus judges the secret things of mankind, according to the good news I declare."
Acts 10:42 "Also He ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead."
Acts 17:31 "He has set a day in which He purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed."
Hebrews 12:23 "God the Judge of all."
No Christian Has the Right to Judge His Brother
Romans 14:10-13 "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written: 'As I live,' says Jehovah, 'to Me every knee will bow, and every tongue will make open acknowledgment to God.' So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God. Therefore, let us not be judging one another any longer, but rather make this your decision, not to put before a brother a stumblingblock or a cause for falling."
Matthew 7:1 "Stop judging, that you may not be judged."
Israelites Confessed Sins to God Before Priests and Public so that Proper Offering and Restitution Might Be Made—No Secret Confessional
Numbers 5:7 "Then he shall confess his sin which he has done: and he shall make restitution for his guilt in full, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him in respect of whom he has been guilty."
Leviticus 5:5, 6 "And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that wherein he hath sinned: and he shall bring his trespass-offering unto Jehovah for his sin which he has sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him as concerning his sin."
Israelite Priests Had to Admit Their Own Sins Before God and Make Atonement Offering
Leviticus 16:6, 17 "And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself, and for his house. And there shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel."
Entire Congregation or Organization May Publicly Confess Sin, or a Wrong Course Taken
Nehemiah 9:2 "And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers."
Isaiah 12:1 "And in that day you shall say, I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah; for though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me."
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