What is the point of confessing sin? Why is it so important?
The point of confession is not primarily to confirm our understanding of the rules, not primarily to agree with God’s righteous requirements. His law is perfect, His commandments pure, His rules true. We acknowledge the standard and submit to His authority when we confess our sins. But confession is not mostly a test of our ability to define righteousness with exactitude.
Nor is the point of confession primarily to express sorrow over our disobedience. Blessed are those who mourn; there is a godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation. But confession is not mostly a time for God to rub our noses in our mess to make us feel extra bad on top of the pain already in our consciences.
So what is the point? Confession gets us back into fellowship.
Sin disrupts relationships, both up and down (with God) and around (with each other). Unrighteousness separates. So disobedience breaks fellowship. We don’t confess to ratify that we were walking in darkness. We don’t confess to apply dark lipstick to our guilt. We confess to be cleansed and restored.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6–7 ESV)
John goes on to say that nobody can claim sinlessness, and that means we all get out of fellowship. So what do we do? We confess our sins and He is faithful to forgive us. He doesn’t forgive us by yelling at us from across a long room with His faced turned the other direction. He forgives so that we are welcomed back with Him so that our joy may be complete.