John the Baptist called upon the people to confess their sins. See Matthew 3:5–6, People went out to Him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. See also Joel 2:12–13, Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.
Confession of sin is one of the most important things which results from the new attitude of a person who is truly repentant.
There are, however, two extremes which we must avoid when confessing our sins. They are:-
1. A shallow confession of sin.
2. An exaggerated confession of sin.
The Christian who says no more that, “Lord, if I have sinned, forgive me” is taking confession very lightly and clearly doesn’t believe that sin is a very important matter. He doesn’t have the humility to recognize his own sins. Perhaps he or she hasn’t had a change of heart toward sin, or in other words, he hasn’t really repented.
That is, the Christian who doesn’t confess his sins in detail make a shallow confession.
The problem with shallow confession is that it is not real confession at all. Genuine confession is made when we accept responsibility for our sin and seek forgiveness for them, whereas half-hearted confession leaves sin covered. See Proverbs 28:13, He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Therefore, true confession is detailed, or specific; we must tell God exactly what we have done wrong, as well as things we failed to do.
I said that there were two dangers which we must avoid in confession. One is shallow confession, and the other is to exaggerate the burden of our sins. Some people confess the same sin over and over, without feeling forgiven. One of the reasons why these believers carry such a burden around with them is that they have not learned to accept the Word of God. Read 1st John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiveness for sin has been promised to those who confess their sin. We do not need to FEEL forgiven in order to experience forgiveness. Forgiveness must be received by faith.