The deep and regular confession of sin is one of the paths we walk to experience close communion with Jesus Christ. Its absence is certain to lead to a weakening faith, and a lack humility, joy, and zeal. Yet I have found some Christians who are uncomfortable with a push toward the ongoing confession of one's sins as if it's guilt-driven religion. But, the confession of our sins is not a defeatist, self-centered, form of fruitless navel-gazing. It is not guilt-driven religion, but gospel-driven soul work that connects us to Christ, and it is an essential part of a healthy Christian life. Octavius Winslow has powerful words on confession in his classic, Soul Heights and Soul Depths.
And here we touch upon a dutyno, a privilegethe most holy, spiritual, and sanctifying of the Christian lifeconfession of sin to God. What a significant and magnificent confession have we in these words: "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" We cannot urge upon the reader a more spiritual, purifying, and comforting habit than this. It seems to involve every spiritual grace of the Christian character; an intelligent apprehension of sin, sincere repentance, deep humiliation, living faith, holy love, and a simple turning of the soul to Jesus.
Confessing your sins is not beating yourself up over all your wrongs. It is an aspect of spiritual warfare that deals a deadly blow to your sins by laying them out before God with an aim at seeing Jesus exalted above them all.
Why is it that so many of God's saints travel all their days with their heads bowed like a bulrush? Why so few attain to the high standard of an assured interest in Christ? Why so many walk in the spirit of legal bondage, knowing little or nothing of their pardon, adoption, and acceptance? May it not, to a great degree, be traced to their lax habit of confession of sin to God? It is because they go day by day, and week by week, bearing along their lonely, dusty road, the burden of conscious sin and uncleansed guilt.
True confession is born of godly contrition, and it then gives birth to vital faith, and in this we find real freedom. Let me be clear—confession is not your hope. Jesus is your hope. But confession of sins is the doorway one walks through into the throne room of grace where we experience an abundance of mercy.
So long as this holy privilege is neglected, guilt, like a corroding poison, an inflamed wound, a festering sore, eats as a canker into the very vitals of our peace and joy and hope.