Why is the Christian faith so insistent on us confessing our sins to God?
To answer that question satisfactorily, we need to understand the essence of confession. The Greek word for “I confess” is homologeo, which literally means, “I say the same thing.” To confess is to agree with what God says about what we have done, and about who we are, and about what God has done on our behalf.
Since confession, by its very nature, is to agree with what God says, then the absence of confession is to stand in opposition to God.
Whenever we confess we take a stand with God in facing the truth about our sins (they hurt and/or diminish ourselves and others, and they hurt our relationship with God), and about His promise to forgive us through Jesus’ death on the cross.
The Bible stresses that confession is a good thing and a healing thing for us, but from the very beginning confession has not been our first inclination.
When Adam & Eve committed the very first sin, they could have confessed. They could have said, “Wow, God was right! Eating that forbidden fruit was a bad idea. Suddenly we are afraid and ashamed and resentful. What we did was wrong.”
Instead of confessing, though, they sewed fig leaves together, and they tried to hide in the garden, and they tried to pass the blame around to others. When we try to avoid the truth about our sin by sewing fig leaves, or hiding, or blaming, or coming up with excuses or rationalizations, we stand in opposition to God, and we never get anywhere worthwhile.
To confess is to give up relying on any cover-up, or excuse, or rationalization, or attempt to smooth things over by trying harder. To confess is to trust, instead, in God’s grace.
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend write, “To ‘confess’ is to agree with the truth. When God or others are disciplining us, we need to agree on the issue or problem. When we confess, we are aligning ourselves with the process of growth and repair (James 5:16). When we do not confess, we can negate discipline’s good effects.” (How People Grow, p. 254)
No wonder the Christian faith is insistent on us confessing our sins to God.