If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
It is true that all our sins were forgiven at the cross. Every sin past, present and future was hidden forever from the eyes of God. But this does not mean that confession has outlived its purpose. We are still sinners.
Change is impossible until a man is willing to confess his actions. Why does God have us confess? Simple, because confession puts an end to self-deception and replaces it with humility — the one quality required in order for us to continue our sanctification process. The original word for humility in the New Testament pictures something that is pliable or flexible. So when the Bible says that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6), it makes perfect sense: Humility shows a willingness to be guided by God, to be moldable, to be flexible enough to confess our failings in or to gain character transformation. The idea of character change and its linked to confession is vividly illustrated in the life of Jacob in the Old Testament. From the time Jacob was young, he had lived up to his name, which meant “deceiver” or “manipulator.” He schemed, connived, and took advantage of people before running from responsibility. I’m glad that our names today are not given because of our character flaws. If this were the case I would have been toast.
After God literally pinned Jacob and got him to confess his name (in other words, confess his character problem), the story reads: The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel…” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face but my life was spared.” (Genesis 32:28-30). God did not give up on Jacob; He changed his name to Israel which meant “Prince of God.” God saw Jacob’s potential and not his past. God saw a prince of God within a deceiver.
Father, You have provided a way of escaping my selfishness.