Q. You encourage believers to keep confessing our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness. But isn’t it true that we’re already forgiven? If so why do we have to ask again? Is there another verse in the Bible that confirms this?
A. Confessing our ongoing sins, as mentioned in 1 John 1:9, is not a salvation issue because we’re saved for eternity, with a righteousness that comes through faith to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22). Ongoing confession is a fellowship issue that keeps us in good standing with God in the here and now.
In any important human relationship, we would apologize if we did something that disappointed or offended the other party so as not to put a strain on the relationship. It should be the same for our relationship with God. After all we didn’t stop sinning when we became believers, and our sinful behavior grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephes. 4:30).
As for other references to confession, every time we say the Lord’s prayer we’re asking the Lord to forgive our sins (Matt. 6:9-15). This is a prayer for believers only, who can’t lose their salvation but can find themselves out of fellowship with God because of their behavior.
I frequently receive questions like this and I’m always amazed at the number of believers who resist confessing their ongoing sins. If for no other reason, it just seems like the polite thing to do avoid the possibility of putting a strain on our most important relationship, especially knowing the lengths to which He went for us.