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Confession and Forgiveness


What instruction is given concerning confession of sin?


Say to the Israelites: ‘When a man or woman wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Lord, that person is guilty and must confess the sin he has committed. He must make full restitution for his wrong, add one fifth to it and give it to all to the person he has wronged.” Numbers 5:6,7. 


How futile is it to attempt to hide sin from God?


“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23. “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” Psalm 90:8. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13.  


What promise is made to those who confess their sins?


“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.


What different results attend the covering and the confessing of sins?


“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. 


Being Definite in Confession

How definite should we be in confessing our sins?


“When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned and, as a penalty for the sin committed, he must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest will make atonement for him for the sin.”

Leviticus 5:5.


Note – “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and then should be publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.”

Steps to Christ, p. 43.


How fully did Israel once acknowledge their wrongdoing?


“The people all said to Samuel. “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all are other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

1 Samuel 12:19. 


When David confessed his sin, what did he say God did?


“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I confess my transgression to the Lord – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5.   


God’s Delight in Forgiving

What is God ready to do for all who seek for forgiveness?


“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

 Psalm 86:5.


Upon what did David rest his hope of forgiveness?  


“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1. 


What is the measure of the greatness of God’s mercy?


“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is the love for those who fear him.” Psalm 103.11.


How fully does the Lord pardon when one repents?


“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:7.


What reason is given for God’s readiness to forgive sin?


“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18. (See Psalm 78:38.)


What does God manifest such mercy and longsuffering toward men who seem to be holding on to sin?


“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.


Specific Examples


When the prodigal son, in the parable, repented and turned toward home, what did his father do?


So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20.


How did the father show joy at his son’s return?


“But the father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For his son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Verse 22-24.  


What is felt in heaven when a sinner repents?


“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Verse 10.


What did Hezekiah say God had done with his sins?


“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17.    


How completely does God wish to separate sin from us?


“You again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19. “As far as the east is from the west, so far he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103: 12.  


How did the people respond to the preaching of John?


“People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judah and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”

Matthew 3: 5,6. 


How did some of the believers at Ephesus testify to the sincerity of the confession of their sins?


“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.”

Acts 19:18,19. 


Conditions of Forgiveness

Upon what basis has Christ taught us to ask forgiveness?


“Forgive our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12.   


What spirit must those cherish whom God forgives?


“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, Your Father will not forgive your sins.” Verses 14, 15.


What exhortation is based on the fact that God has forgiven us?


“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God has forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.  


The Blessed Giver and Receiver

Through whom are repentance and forgiveness granted?


“The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead – whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” Acts 5:30,31.  


In what condition will one be found whose sins are forgiven?


“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

Psalm 32:1,2.




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