Why Should I Confess My Sins to a Man?

It is GOD who forgives sins, and once forgiven, He ceases to remember them.

Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
It is God only who forgives sins.

Jeremiah 31:34, "...for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Ezechiel 18:22, "I will not remember all his iniquities that he has done."

Romans 3:26, "GOD in His patience remitting former sins..."

Hebrews 8:12, "Because I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more."

GOD forgave sins through a human nature.
Matthew 9:2-7, "...And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Take courage son; your sins are forgiven you...For which is easier to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins", then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your pallet and go to your house.""

GOD uses His priests as His instruments of reconciliation. The New Covenant priesthood is prefigured or 'typed' in many places in the Old Testament. Here are several examples from the Old Testament of reconciliation and atonement being performed by a priest:

Leviticus 4:20, "...Thus
the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven

Leviticus 4:26, "Thus
the priest shall make atonement for the prince's sin, and it will be forgiven

Leviticus 4:32, "Thus
the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven

Leviticus 4:35, "Thus
the priest shall make atonement for the man's sin, and it will be forgiven

Leviticus 5:5-6, "...then whoever is guilty in any of these cases shall confess the sin he has incurred, and as his sin offering for his sin he has committed he shall bring to the Lord a female animal from the flock, a ewe lamb or a she-goat. The priest shall then make atonement for his sin
See also Leviticus 5:10,13,16,18, 12:8, 14:18-20,31, 15:15,30, 19:22.

Leviticus 6:7, "And
the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord; and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he has done in trespassing therein

Leviticus 7:7, "Because the sin offering and the guilt offering are alike, both having the same ritual,
the guilt offering likewise belongs to the priest who makes atonement with it

Leviticus 16:32, "
This atonement is to be made by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to the priesthood
in succession to his father."

Leviticus 19:20-22, "If a man lies carnally with a woman . . . they shall not be put to death . . . but he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord, to the door of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him . . . before the Lord for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him."

Numbers 6:11, "The priest shall offer up the one as a sin offering and the other as a holocaust, thus making atonement for him for the sin he has committed by reason of the dead person

Numbers 15:25, "And
the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them

Numbers 15:28, "And
the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for him who sinned inadvertently; when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven

The prophets in the Old Testament spoke in GOD's Name, in the first person. Here are examples...

Deuteronomy 18:18-19, "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen, and will put My words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I commanded him. If any man will not listen to My words which he speaks in My name
, I Myself will make him answer for it."

Ezekiel 3:4, "And He said to me: Son of man, go to the house of Israel,
and you shall speak My words to them

David the King conversed directly with GOD:
2Samuel 2:1, "And after these things David consulted the Lord, saying: Shall I go up into one of the cities of Juda? And the Lord said to him: Go up. And David said: Whither shall I go up? And he answered him: Into Hebron."

Yet David still had to confess to Nathan and hear from him that he had been forgiven.
2Samuel 12:13, "And David said to Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David: The Lord also hath taken away thy sin: thou shalt not die."

The priest has been given the ministry of reconciliation. He mediates GOD's forgiveness to the sinner. The priest is merely an instrument of GOD. As an analogy, think of GOD as the Supreme Healer, the Master Surgeon. He will remove the cancer of sin from the soul, while using one of His priests as the scalpel.

his GOD given ministry is shown very plainly in Holy Scripture:

Matthew 16:19, when Jesus gave the power and authority to Peter, "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 18:18, Jesus gave this power to all of the Apostles, "Amen I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven."

John 20:21-23, "He therefore said to them again, 'Peace be to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you'. When He had said this, He breathed upon them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained'

Matthew 10:40, "He who receives you
receives Me; and he who receives Me, receives Him who sent Me."

Luke 22:29-30, "And I appoint to
you a kingdom, even as My Father has appointed to Me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in My kingdom; and you
shall sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

2Corinthians 5:17-20, "Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, GOD making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

learly, the Apostles were given the authority to remit sins, or to bind them, in the person of Christ. How are they to accomplish this if they do not know what sins to remit or to bind? The sinner is required to confess his sins as shown.

1John 1:8-10, " If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

The Apostles obviously would not live forever, and sin will always be with us, so they passed the authority on to others.

2Corinthians 2:10, "Whom
you pardon anything, I also pardon. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I have done for your sakes, IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST

The priest says in the confessional, "I absolve you of your sins." The priest is acting in Personna Christi, in the person of Christ. Since the priest is acting in the person of Christ, then it is Christ to whom you confess your sins. It is Christ alone who remits them. Jesus Christ uses the priest as His voice and His hands.

As mentioned earlier, the prophets of the Old Testament spoke in GOD's name. They spoke
IN THE PERSON OF GOD. The priests of the New Covenant speak IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST
GOD never changes.

Matthew 9:5-8, "For which is easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven you, or to say arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins" - then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your pallet and go to your house". And he arose, and went away to his house. But when the crowds saw it, they were struck with fear,

The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.

Christ, the High Priest of the New Covenant, ordained the apostles to continue His priestly mission. James 5:14-16, (14) "Is any among you sick? Let him bring in the presbyters (priests) of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; (15)and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he be in sins, they will be forgiven him. (16) Confess, therefore, your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be saved. For the unceasing prayer of a just man is of great avail."

St. James taught us that we must go to the "presbyters", and not to just anyone, to receive the "anointing", and the remission of sins. First, he told us to go to the presbyters, or priests, in verse 14. Verse 16 continues with the word "therefore", so that word is a conjunction that connects verse 16 back to verses 14 and 15. It is the priests to whom St. James told us to confess our sins.

Why do we go to confession? What is the real reason?
We go to meet Christ...

Compiled by Bob Stanley, November 12, 1999
Updated September 10, 2004
Updated March 27, 2007
Many thanks to Christian Le Blanc for his valuable input.

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