What Is Confession and How Do You Confess?

In Christianity, we hear the word “Confession” used often. What does confession mean?

Growing up in the church, this was a term that was used frequently. But if you are a young believer, then this might be a word that you are not familiar with. Or, you might be a seasoned believer that never fully understood what this word means.

Well what does the word confession/confess mean?


Before we dive fully into this, let me clarify some things. I am not referring to confessing your sins to a priest, but confessing your sins to God. After all, He is the only one that can forgive you of your sins.



Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

I love how this verse breaks things down for confession. So let’s break this verse down phrase by phrase.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper”

This goes back to our need to confess our sins. The Bible shares over and over again that if we try to hide our sins, it will make us miserable and ultimately our sins will be found out.

Psalms 32:3-4 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.

Numbers 32:23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.

While watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, I frequently see clips of children with makeup all over their faces while trying to deny that they did anything when their parents are asking them what happened. You can just see the guilt literally written all over their faces. If you have any kids, you probably have many of your own stories that you could tell that are similar.

Our sins will be found out, and it will make us miserable. Just look at what is happening in our culture today. It becomes more and more evident daily. What is a story that you have recently heard of that exemplifies someone who thought they had covered their sin so no one else would know?

“but he who confesses”

Dictionary.com says “acknowledgment; avowal; admission” particularly of something that is hidden, such as a sin. 

tumblr_niyo4fLUsQ1u732o3o1_1280In the original language the term carries a meaning that is to “throw out.” So throwing out what is hidden into the public or to God. That might be one reason why hand raising got started, because it is throwing your hands out as a sign that you are confessing and forsaking your sins and saying God take all of me.

“forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Forsakes, speaks of leaving something behind and moving in the opposite direction. If I want to forsake my ugly couch at the dumpster, I would leave it and drive away glad that it is gone.

Same thing with our sin. We confess, or admit our sin to God, and we put that sin behind us as we make our course straight to God.

The problem is many times we make lip confession but never forsake our sin. Click To Tweet We need to do both.

How can we confess?

  1. Humility. Taking your sins before God means that we must be humble. This is probably one reason why so many Christians don’t confess theirs sins. They are too proud to admit they did something wrong. With humility, we must admit/confess our sins to God.
  2. Confess. Admit your whole sin to God. The more specific, the better. We want to keep a short account of our sin before God. This should be a daily, and moment by moment habit for us.
  3. Forsake. Look for a way to leave that sin far behind you. The easiest way is just in constant pursuing of Christ and confession of sin immediately after it happens.
  4. Rest. Rest knowing that God is faithful to forgive you of all your sins (1 John 1:9). There is absolutely no sin too big for God to forgive. God wants to forgive you of ALL your sins. Just confess your sins and God will forgive you.
  5. Search. Ask God to search your heart for any sin that needs to be confessed. I have memorized the following two verse to help me remember and pray this to God.    Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Will you confess and forsake your sins? I know for me, this has to be a daily and constant habit.

What is a definition of Confession that you use? 

Why do you think it is hard for people to confess their sins? 


I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

Comments 2

  1. Confession is the admittance of a morale error in the part of the confessor.

    People do not confess because of the guilt, harmful and self-defeating emotions that can come along with it. Some people have been demanded and reprimanded into confessing in some form and their experiences shape their view on confession. But guilt shouldn’t always be negative and it can help us understand and adhere to Gods standards.

    1. I agree. One thing is that most people do not understand the difference between the conviction that comes from God and the condemnation that comes from the devil. When people understand that and the incredible forgiveness of God, I believe that they will be much more willing to regularly confess their sins.

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