555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

407. Is Confession a Christian Duty?

"Confess your faults one to another" James 5:16. It makes the whole problem of confession simple to remember that the duty is to confess to those whom we have wronged. If we have done any wrong to any person, we must confess it to him, and ask him to forgive us. A wrong that affects no one but God and ourselves needs to be confessed only to God. Often, however, a public confession is helpful. Under the awakening of conscience a Christian may be led to feel that he has been living under false pretenses, and will find a relief in saying so, and in making a new start. After all, we ought not to dread confession so much as we do. The Christian has no righteousness of his own to uphold; his righteousness consists intrusting Christ Paul liked to declare that he was, to all intents and purposes, so far as the law was concerned, a dead man; he had been crucified with Christ, and Christ lived in him. He had no reputation to sustain. He liked to speak of himself as having been the chief of sinners. Then, too, people are apt to be kinder than we think; our friends will not want to condemn us, but help us. But, on the other hand, this is often a fruitful source of cruel temptation to sensitive souls. They imagine they ought to speak of things which no one but God needs to know about. Remember that God is never unreasonable, nor harsh. Tell him all about it, and then he will tell you plainly and kindly whether any other confessions are necessary.