Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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There is something about confessing sin that makes it more difficult for us to return to it. God knew that from the beginning. When He commanded us who have sinned to confess what we have done, He was not so much punishing us for sinning as He was trying to cure us from the desire to return to sin. Public confession burns a bridge and makes us safer.
Repentance consists of two or three fundamental parts: (1) confession, (2) doing righteousness and, when the sin has harmed another, (3) reparation, if possible. The refusal to confess sin will prevent one from being forgiven by God, no matter how much he reforms himself and no matter how much good he may begin to do. We cannot negotiate with God concerning what we must do to repent. The pride of our flesh may prompt us to try to persuade God to redefine repentance so that we do not have to humble ourselves and confess the wrong we have done, but God is not moved by our foolishness. We must confess.
Every person in human history who has been washed clean from his sins has confessed those sins first. But since Adam fell from his purity, the normal way of man is to try to cover over his own sins instead of confessing them. That is why mankind, in the main, remains unforgiven. The humble and wise man Job mentioned once that he did not hide his sins in his bosom, the way Adam tried to do. That is what made him a great man; he just did things God's way without trying to negotiate a "better" solution to sin than the one God demands.
Consider these verses from the Bible about confession:
"He who covers his sin shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1Jn. 1:9).
"And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing, and he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he has sinned . . . and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he has sinned, and it shall be forgiven him" (Lev. 5:5,6, 10).
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord', and you forgave the iniquity of my sin (Ps. 32:5).
"Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed" (Jas. 5:16).
How many souls have been lost because of too much pride? How many souls are in hell now, confessing openly their once-hidden sins, but too late? When you are told that "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord", understand that there is more to confessing Jesus as the sinless Lord than mouthing the words. Included in the confession of Jesus and his righteousness is the confession of us and our sin, and any soul too proud to confess his sin is not worthy of the kingdom of the sinless Son of God.