Is Confession Of Sins Required For Salvation?
by David J. Stewart | July 2013 | Updated June 2016
1st John 1:6-9, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
No, you do not have to confess your sins to be saved. The Gospel according to the Bible is simply the DEATH of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, His BURIAL, and bodily RESURRECTION the third day:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
This is the simple Gospel message. Our text verse in 1st John 1:6-9 is teaching us about “FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM,” and not about salvation. 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Carefully notice 1st John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him...” The subject is “FELLOWSHIP” and not “SONSHIP.” You don't need to confess your sins to be saved, because Christ has already paid for our sins 2,000 years ago.
As Christian believers we confess our sins daily to maintain fellowship with the Lord, which determines our happiness as a Christian. We must differentiate between “fellowship” verses “sonship” as God's adopted child. John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Every Christian is an adopted son of God, but Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We don't confess our sins to get saved. We simply receive the gift of God, which is by faith in the Good News of Christ crucified, buried and risen.
Tragically, Baptist churches all across the world are teaching doctrines of devils by adding extra requirements to the Gospel which the Bible does not require. We are saved by believing the Gospel, period! Anyone who receives the Gospel as full payment for their sins is saved. Eternal life is the free gift of God, paid for by Jesus' precious literal blood. Our part is to believe, the Lord's part is to save us! Salvation is received, not achieved. Salvation is receiving, not giving! Jesus doesn't forgive sins! That is correct! Jesus has already paid for our sins, all of them! Jesus paid for our sins on the cross with His own precious blood. Hence, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are a gift, which need only be freely received by faith. JESUS PAID IT ALL!
Anyone who requires a person to change their lifestyle to be saved is preaching “ANOTHER GOSPEL” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Anyone who requires making a commitment to Christ, asking Jesus to take control of one's life, water baptism, receiving Jesus as “Lord” of one's life, or intent to reform to be saved is preaching “ANOTHER GOSPEL.” Galatians 1:6-9 pronounce a “CURSE” upon anyone who preaches “ANOTHER GOSPEL.”
One of the most misunderstood Scriptures in the Bible is 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” They say that if you've really been saved, you won't continue in intentional sinful behavior. This is a matter entirely of Discipleship, not Salvation. The Bible says:
Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The preceding Scripture is a plea from God to the Christian to use our life for Christ. This has NOTHING to do with salvation. 2nd Corinthians 5:17b, “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The “new creature” is the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). Please notice that Romans 12:1 is a “CHOICE” for the believer. We ought to present our bodies a living sacrifice to serve Jesus Christ, but the fact that the apostle Paul is pleading evidences that every believer has a “choice” in the matter, a freewill. God doesn't force anyone to follow Him, which is why not all believers will receive rewards from the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1st Corinthians 3:11; 2nd Corinthians 5:9-11; Matthew 6:19-20).
When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, past sins are buried in the depths of the sea, removed as far as the east is from the west (these two directions never meet). Once you are born-again, you have eternal life—God NEVER takes that back!!! But now you have a choice, whether or not you will follow Jesus or self. Anyone who teaches that you're not saved if you don't follow Jesus is a false prophet, a liar! The Bible is full of saints who weren't very saintly! Moses murdered a man. Samson loved his harlots. Jacob was a thief, liar and coward. Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands instead of trusting the Lord. Solomon was a sex pervert. Jonah forsook God's will. David committed adultery, impregnated the woman, and then murdered her husband. Jeremiah quit the ministry. Jacob's sons by Leah sold their half-brother Joseph into slavery. These were all Christians doing these evil things!
There's a lot of heresy circulating in our Baptist churches these days, which says... “If you're really saved, we'll see it in your life.” That's unbiblical. Dr. Curtis Hutson used to wisely say that you can't tell how much gas is in a car's fuel tank by the sound of the horn. Likewise, there's no way of determining whether a person is saved (or not) by looking at the way they live. Demas at one time was faithfully serving the Lord alongside the apostle Paul, but then he forsook Paul, because Demas loved this present world (2nd Timothy 4:10). The apostle Peter was butt naked in public, in a boat with the other disciples, having quit the ministry (John 21:7). Today's self-righteous fruit inspectors in our churches would have concluded that Peter was not saved.
FUNDAMENTALIST HERESY (an awesome MP3 sermon by Dr. Hyles about many false Gospels)
Here are some unbiblical popular additions to the Gospel, which are circulating today in many Baptist churches:
ask Jesus into your heart
repent of your sins (or turn away from sins)
confess your sins
feel sorry for sins
- start a relationship with Jesus
- be willing to turn from sins
- make a commitment to Jesus
- forsake the world
- ask Jesus to take control of your life
- promise to do better with God's help
- invite Jesus into your life
- dedicate your life to serve God
- confess Jesus before men
- follow Jesus
- walk down an isle to the church alter
make Jesus your “Lord” (or say “Jesus is Lord”)
pray a sinner's prayer
None of these things constitute the Gospel! You may do all these things and yet never have been born-again at all. We are saved by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL. Beware of all the religious additions and substitutes for the Gospel.
You don't have to confess your sins to be saved. Everyone's sins are already paid for. Jesus has already paid for everyone's sins. That's why the Bible calls it a “gift.” People burning in Hell already had their sins forgiven, but they didn't receive the gift by faith. Every Christ-denier has their sins already paid for...
2nd Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Amazing! The Bible says in 2nd Peter 2:1 that Jesus “BOUGHT THEM.” Bought who? The “false teachers” who deny the Lord. Isn't it beautiful to know that Jesus paid for everyone's sins! Christ died for our sins 2,000 years ago. Everyone in Hell has their sins forgiven, but they would not accept the gift of God. Eternal life is a gift . . . “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” (Titus 3:5a). Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eternal life is free and clear, paid in full—a gift waiting to be accepted by faith in the Gospel. Just believe and the work is done. John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29 speaks of “the work of God,” and not a self-righteous work of man.
Beware of “ANOTHER GOSPEL”:
Galatians 1:9, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
The Necessity Of God's Law
To clarify, confessing individual sins is different than acknowledging one's sinnership. A perfect illustration of this theological difference is found in Judas, one of Christ's very apostles. Matthew 27:1-3 says that Judas felt sorry for betraying Christ. Judas tried to return the 30 pieces of silver, but the chief priests refused, because they knew it was blood money. Judas cast the money to the ground and fled. Judas confessed his sins, but he failed to realize his guilt in God's eyes and consequent need for the Savior. Sadly, Judas didn't believe on Christ, hung himself in suicide, and went to Hell forever. It is so sad.
The purpose of the Old Testament law is to show us our need for the Savior:
Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
The law makes our sin exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13) and shows us our need for redemption in Christ Jesus. The law of God silences every self-righteous mouth and shows us all our sinnership:
Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
The law of God is necessary for salvation, because it shows us our need to be saved. Without the law there is no knowledge of sin. Romans chapter 7 is a beautiful passage of Scripture. We read in Romans 7:1-7 that the unsaved person is married to the law. We are under the curse of the law. When we come to Christ by faith to be saved, then we are dead to the law and we are now married to Jesus Christ. We are now under grace!
Romans 7:7, “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
There are some people who errantly think that they have been saved because of joining a church, making a commitment to Christ, rededicating their life to God, proclaiming that “Jesus is Lord” or praying a prayer; however, they have never “BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD” as Romans 3:19 teaches. The law was given “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Coming to religion is not salvation. Praying “the Jesus prayer” (as one religious singer said in a radio interview) is not the Gospel. The Gospel is not turning over a new leaf. The Gospel is not feeling sorry for one's sins. Our churches are filled nowadays with a false plan of salvation that equates feeling sorry with salvation. As quoted earlier, the Gospel is the good news that Christ died, was buried and resurrected three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
The Gospel is not for the pulpit, it's for the street. The Gospel is for the lost, not the saved. 2nd Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” 1st Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” WOE IS ME IF I PREACH NOT THE GOSPEL!!!
Christ Fully Paid Our Sin Debt
I thank God for saving me. We are saved solely by God's grace...
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
You have to be 100% perfect to go to Heaven. Committing even one sin is enough to cause a person to split Hell wide open the very second they die. I thank God that He loved a sinner like me and sent His only begotten Son to bleed and die for my countless sins. God made Jesus to be as sin, Who knew no sin (sinlessly perfect); that I, who knew no righteousness, could be made the righteousness OF GOD IN HIM!!! ...
2nd Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
When you were born, your name was written into the Lamb's Book Of Life. It will be there when you die if you DIE IN THE LORD (Revelation 14:13). However, if you DIE IN YOUR SINS (John 8:24), then your name is BLOTTED OUT of the Lamb's Book Of Life and you'll spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 3:5). I am so glad that I am saved in Christ Jesus. I am so glad that I am not caught up into all the world's religions. Here is a wonderful Scripture...
Acts 13:38-39, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
I'm so sick of Baptists adding things to the plan of salvation that the Bible does not teach. There are many sincere Bible-believing churches, but they are guilty of adding to the Gospel and corrupting the simplicity that is in Christ. We don't think anymore in our churches. It doesn't hurt for ministers to think once in a while. Why do Baptist ministers require people to walk down an isle to be saved? They're adding something to the Gospel that is sending people to Hell.
Just think how many people have not been saved, because they didn't want to walk down an isle. Perhaps they didn't feel well that moment, didn't wanted to draw attention or were timid? Why can't they get saved in their pew? I mean, if the preacher is up there and the unsaved person is in the pew, why does the sinner have to walk over to where the preacher is to be saved? Isn't that stupid that so many churches require sinners to walk forward to hear the Gospel? I'm not against public invitations, but the plan of salvation should ALWAYS be presented for EVERY CREATURE as the Bible teaches. Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
If you're a Christian, aren't you glad that you're going to Heaven? God didn't require one thing of you! Everybody burning in Hell right now has their sins completely paid for, but they wouldn't accept the payment. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” They willingly and knowingly rejected the gift of God by faith in Jesus Christ. God has provided eternal redemption and total forgiveness of sins to anyone who will come by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. God doesn't require one thing from us to be saved.
Salvation is totally free, paid for completely, a gift waiting to be freely received by faith in Christ Jesus. That's all God asks. It's horrifying to think that billions of people are burning in the fires of Hell this moment, whose sins have been forgiven by Christ's precious blood that was shed for mankind; yet, they willingly rejected the Savior, shunning God's free gift of eternal life.
You have a right to go to Heaven because Jesus paid for your sins, but you absolutely MUST trust in the Lord or you won't go. Please don't listen to some stupid false preacher who has perverted the plan of salvation, by adding requirements which God did not! Why would you reject the house that is bought and paid for? God wants to give you the title for your home in Heaven. Your salvation is bought and paid for, just as we read in 2nd Peter 2:1 about those false prophets who rejected Christ. Those stupid fools went to Hell, forfeiting all the blessings of eternal life in Christ Jesus. It's mind-boggling!
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Do you believe that Christ died, was buried and has risen? Do you know absolutely sure that you are going to Heaven? You can and should “KNOW” (1st John 5:13)! Do you trust in the risen Christ? Do you believe that Jesus came down to earth from Heaven, so you could go up to Heaven from earth? God put in plight (a solemn pledge of fidelity) which costs you nothing. Will you accept it by faith?
Psalms 118:8, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Ye Must Be Born Again!
What Is The Gospel? | Bible Study