“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Sins in the plural refer to acts of sins, particular sins (not the sin capacity or sin nature). These are sins that we know as sins. The moment a believer sins, he breaks his fellowship with God. Immediate confession of a particular sin restores that fellowship.
We confess personal sins, not deny them.
The Lord Jesus takes care of our broken fellowship with God in glory. He intercedes for you personally. If we confess our sins, Jesus will take care of everything else. The basis of forgives is not our morality but the substitutionary death of Christ to take our place in suffering for sin.
He 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those [believers] who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
We confess our sins; we do not deny them. Note that we are not to ask God to forgive our sins. God forgave our sins at the moment we trusted the death of Christ to pay for our sins. God has already forgiven the believer in Christ.
The idea of confession is calling sin what God calls it – anger, jealousy, pride, malice, bitterness. We call sin exactly what God calls it. We do not cover it up. We do not squirt perfume on it. We do not rename it. Confession means to name sin the kind of sin it is, label it for what God says it is.
If you are irritable and angry, then admit to God that you were angry. If you are full of pride, tell God you are a proud person. If you are selfish, tell God you are selfish. Call the particular sin for what it is before God. Don’t call it by distorted terms such as a “mistake.” That is a fancy toe-dance away from admitting your guilt. Just say, “Lord, I am angry, proud, selfish, and bitter.”
Tell God the truth. Be honest with Him. There is no way to fellowship with God and not be on the level with Him. You do not confess private sins in public but in private communion with God. This is a matter between you and God alone. If your sin involves someone else, then you want to deal with that later. Go to the person at that time and get it straight.
We do not have the right to regret our sins once we confess them. Feeling sorry for sin is an attempt to displace the work of Christ. Jesus accepted the responsibility for our sins on the cross. He personally paid the price for our sins. Therefore, the Christian should have no delusions about his ability to satisfy an absolutely holy God by something he does. Only Jesus can do that.
Some people believe that if they feel sorry for their sins, they will not do it again. Sorrow has nothing to do with resisting sin. Only a person controlled by the Holy Spirit can resist sin.