Confession does not equal repentance.

5 Dec

The words confession and repentance are two words that in regards to the Christian faith, go hand in hand when discussing sin and reconciliation.

In Bible Study on Tuesday, we were discussing this topic and it spurred me to spend some more time meditating on this yesterday afternoon.

Satan plays a sneaky little game when dealing with the words confession and repentance.  While they go hand in hand, they aren’t effective in our lives if we express one of them as if we’ve expressed both of them.  Satan isn’t always manipulative in these extravagant ways that are obvious and in defiance against the gospel.

In fact, he is MORE effective at taking the gospel and twisting it.  A twisted understanding of The Truth, can lead us just enough in one direction or the other, that we miss The Truth entirely.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

There can be times in our lives when we’ve had a repetitive sin in our lives, and we’ve really hurt someone else with this behavior, but once we repented of it, we never confessed it.

An unconfessed sin, even though repented of, does not bring restoration to the situation.


~When you’ve gossiped about someone. Even if you realize it was gossip and don’t continue to do it, without the confession to God AND the person, the restoration and healing can’t take place.

~When you’ve told a lie.  Even if you make a decision to go forward not lying anymore, the prior situation cannot be restored without confession.  Either your character will still be compromised if the other party knew it was a lie, or you’re still leading them down a deceptive path if they believed it was true.  Not lying in the future (repentance from lying) does not restore the past.

~ When you’ve been disrespectful to your spouse.  Even if you make a decision to be respectful from this point on, (which is a GREAT commitment to make and is repentance) does not name the prior sin and bring healing to a disrespected person for past hurts.

Without acknowledgement, the sin is just ignored for one person, and unresolved for the other. This will not bring the reconciliation desired as it would from doing both confessing and repenting.


The same can be said for confessing something but not truly repenting of it.  Some times we can get a bit of a big chest from being willing to admit our mistakes.  While it seems embarrassing and humbling (and usually is) … we sometimes take pride in our ability to confess our sins.

However, just confessing our sins, while it might bring forgiveness, does not bring true reconciliation. We have to be willing to stop sinning and run the other direction from it.

~Announcing that we have a gossip problem while we continue to gossip, doesn’t make us anything but a self-diagnosed gossip.

~Admitting that we drink too much while we’re drinking too much, just makes us an even louder drunk.

~Confessing that we struggle with bitterness while holding onto three grudges, just makes us a more obvious unforgiving & proud person to those around us.

I don’t mean to dismiss the value of confessing our sins, but if we don’t plan to repent from them, confessing them isn’t going to bring us the peace and resolution we’re looking for from a right relationship with the Savior.

When we sin out of ignorance (being unaware that what we’re doing is a sin), we face a different reality then when we continue to sin after conviction and confession of the sin.

Practical Application-

Spend some time thinking about these two things.

1.) What behaviors have a I realized are sins and stopped doing, but never confessed to God or the people I hurt?

-Then confess.

2.) What sins do I have in my life that I’m willing to admit, but still just keep doing?

-Take the steps to turn from the sins and finally take the next step to truly repenting.



5 Responses to “Confession does not equal repentance.”

  1. Kris June 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    Okay you mentioned lying to other people, does a job count ? If you felt terrible while commuting the lie and dos it still. Can God forgive you by repenting or do you need to confess to the company also. I guess I feel more convicted when lying of its on paper vs verbally. Yes lying in general is wrong but yea

    • Kayla Gulick June 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      Hey Kris, unfortunately I have to say that if someone lied to a company, even verbally, they should confess. I don’t our confessions to others are always dependent upon our forgiveness from God (sometimes people die before people someone has the chance to apologize and I don’t believe that would make it not possible for God to still forgive.) Although I think when we ask for forgiveness from God – He often leads us to make it right with others too. I hope that helps.

      • Kris June 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

        Thank you for responding. I’ve been battling with what to do. I’ve weighed the costs. Not only does it involve me but two other co workers would be affected by my confession.. I deserve to be punished for the lie. I confessed to a supervisor but she isn’t someone who would’ve been affected by it because she wasn’t supervising the area I lied about. I feel like by not confessing I’m doomed to hell. But I was literally about to go confess and the person I was going to admit it to wasn’t there so I wondered if it were a sign. Thank you. I know I won’t and can’t tell my job. I guess that means for sure I’m doomed to hell.. That’s literally all I can keep thinking is my ultimate punishment for being to cowardly to admit I lied… I’m afraid of all the repercussions that I so deserve .

    • Kayla Gulick June 22, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Im so sorry you’re going through this. I can tell you’re really hurting. When we know we’ve done wrong, that guilt is a gift from God to repent. I would first start there. Confess to God and repent (turn completely away from the behavior) and then take courage and rest from Him that no earthly punishment is too big for a child He’s holding in His hands to handle. He delights in restoring what’s lost from His children who repent, even if they have to pay a consequence first.

      • Kris June 23, 2016 at 6:59 am #

        Thank you so much. I will continue to pray about this to God. I’m just such a coward and don’t want others in trouble because of my actions and being truthful don’t want the public embarrassment it would bring… Usually after one confession for me comes another. I’m mostly afraid of losing my salvation and neon damned to hell if I DONT confess. So I need to not be anxious but be confident in doing it

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