On the Necessity of Confessing Sin

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Confession of SinI was thinking, before coming into the studio today, about how we have lost the ability to think biblically. Having lost that critical ability, post-truth moderns are being quickly transformed from cultural change agents and initiators to cultural conformist and imitators. The problem is pop culture is always beckoning and, all too often, postmodern Christians are taking the bait. Instead of proper spiritual formation rooted in historic Christianity, believers are increasingly enamored with incessant novelty, ahistorical immediacy, spiritual impatience, and an immature exposition of biblical mandates. Here is just one example.

I am hearing it over and over again, as Christian leaders on television, radio, and print have embraced this new fad of telling devotes that continual confession of sin is not only unnecessary but it is tantamount to cheapening God’s unmerited favor or even worst it is kind of like mocking Him.

This of course despite the clear urging of John the apostle that his “dear children” (1 John 2:1 NIV) (so he is talking to believers) in the faith, those who have been forgiven on account of Christ’s name, are to continually confess their sins (1 John 1:8–10). Far from cheapening God’s grace, confession purifies our hearts; it restores the joy of our salvation.

By the way, the prayer of Jesus — this was the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray — includes the petition: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12 NIV) (i.e., forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us). That kind of a petition, like the contrition of King David (2 Sam. 11:1–12:25; cf. Ps. 51), brings with it grace and peace.

Remember what David said? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17 NIV).

Think about James; he explicitly exhorted believers to “confess your sins to each other” and also to God (James 5:16).

Remember the grammatical construction used with the verb “confess” in 1 John 1:9? Not to get too technical, but this is a present active subjunctive. That is important because it denotes continual confession.

Each time we partake of the Eucharist, we are to examine ourselves and confess our sins so that we will not come under judgment (1 Cor. 11:27–32).

Continuous confession brings with it the certain promise that God is faithful, He is just, He will forgive our sins, He will purify us from all unrighteousness. Perhaps in place of embracing incessant novelty and instant gratification, we do well to look back to the early apostolic church and how they embraced a faith by which they overcame the world.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following:

Grace upon Grace: 1 John 1:8-9 and the Forgiveness of Sins (Steven Parks)

Joseph Prince: Unmerited Favor (Warren Nozaki)

Thanksgiving and the F-A-C-T-S on Prayer (Hank Hanegraaff)

6 Responses to On the Necessity of Confessing Sin

  1. Mevashir says:

    doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer confess sin?

    don’t Catholics recite it every day?

    are you Roman Catholic?

    • Many Christian traditions regularly recite the Lord’s Prayer – Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc.

      CRI is not a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church. Hank Hanegraaff is not a Roman Catholic.

      CRI Staff

  2. Ken Temple says:

    Dear Hank,
    Lots of articles and pictures of you becoming Eastern Orthodox on the web.

    Did you become Eastern Orthodox?
    Please explain in light of:
    Sola Scriptura
    Sola Fide
    Prayer to icons
    E. Orthodox view of original sin and original guilt
    E. Orthodox’s negative view of theology of Augustine

    Ken Temple

  3. Ken Temple says:

    Dr. James White today on the Dividing Line pointed out that if you did become Eastern Orthodox, you also are agreeing with the Roman Catholic argument against Sola Scriptura (because their arguments are basically the same) – so now you agree with Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples who were on the BAM in the past. (vs. James White)

    The positive thing about Eastern Orthodoxy is at least they realize the Papacy claims are not Biblical nor historical in the early centuries.
    On that issue, Protestants and EO agree.
    Ken Temple

    • That is a great Q to bring up on the Bible Answer Man broadcast. I would encourage you to call in. Please visit the CRI web site for times to call in. Hank Hanegraaff also discusses his membership to the Eastern Orthodox Church on yesterday’s Bible Answer Man broadcast (4/10/2017), which is available for download from our broadcast archives.

      CRI Staff

      • Ken Temple says:

        Thank you for allowing my questions through and encouragement to call in.
        I could not call in, but I Listened to others call in and ask questions that are close to what I am asking. (by archive the next few days)

        Dr. James White, on his Diving Line Podcast (twice, on April 10, and then on April 13, 2017) analyzed Hank’s conversion to EO and how it does contradict Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura, which are views that Hank had before. Dr. White was on BAM with Hank several times (maybe up to 20 times) from around 1995-2003; and did two debates/discussions with Roman Catholics, Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples, and Hank was on Dr. White’s side of the argument then. It seems he has changed his position on Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.

        I am going by memory here, so forgive me if I get exact wording wrong; but I remember sometime back in 1995-2000 ( ?), Hank explained why he could not sign the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) document and explained it in terms of the forensic nature of justification (that righteousness is imputed / reckoned / counted to us when we believe) ( Galatians 2:16; Romans 4:1-16; 5:1; Philippians 3:9)
        I am going by memory, so I could be wrong on the exact wording, but I seem to recall that. Unfortunately, the BAM archives on your web-site don’t go back that far. (or I have not found them)

        I have always appreciated Hank’s stand against the Word of Faith/ Prosperity health and wealth- heresies and the Counterfeit Revival and his book on the Resurrection and anti-Darwinian Evolution (The FACE) stance, but his conversion to EO honestly, to me, seems like a contradiction to Evangelical Protestantism and that Scripture is the only Infallible rule of faith and doctrine and practice, and final authority in determining differences. The EO official position is that Scripture has to be interpreted in the light of the sacred oral tradition in the liturgy, so it seems to me, that Hank has to explain this a lot more in the coming days.

        Is Elliot Miller still with CRI ?
        Ken Temple

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