who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
‘Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD.
He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
If we confess our sins,…. Not to one other; for though it is our duty to confess our faults to our fellow creatures and fellow Christians which are committed against them, yet are under no obligation to confess such as are more immediately against God, and which lie between him and ourselves; or at least it is sufficient to confess and acknowledge in general what sinful creatures we are, without entering into particulars; for confession of sin is to be made to God, against whom it is committed, and who only can pardon: and a man that truly confesses his sin is one that the Spirit of God has convinced of it, and has shown him its exceeding sinfulness, and filled him with a godly sorrow for it, and given him repentance unto salvation, that needeth not to be repented of; and who, under such a sight and sense of sin, and concern for it, comes and acknowledges it before the Lord, humbly imploring, for Christ’s sake, his pardoning grace and mercy; and such obtain it:
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins: forgiveness of sin here intends not the act of forgiveness, as in God, proceeding upon the bloodshed and sacrifice of Christ, which is done at once, and includes all sin, past, present, and to come; but an application of pardoning grace to a poor sensible sinner, humbled under a sense of sin, and confessing it before the Lord; and confession of sin is not the cause or condition of pardon, nor of the manifestation of it, but is descriptive of the person, and points him out, to whom God will and does make known his forgiving love; for to whomsoever he grants repentance, he gives the remission of sin; in doing of which he is faithful to his word of promise; such as in Proverbs 28:13; “and just”; in being “true”, as the Arabic version adds, to his word; and showing a proper regard to the blood and sacrifice of his Son; for his blood being shed, and hereby satisfaction made to the law and justice of God, it is a righteous thing in him to justify from sin, and forgive the sinner for whom Christ has shed his blood, and not impute it to him, or punish him for it; though the word here used may answer to the Hebrew word which sometimes carries in it the notion and idea of mercy and beneficence; hence mercy to the poor is sometimes expressed by righteousness; and the righteous acts of God intend his mercies and benefits unto men; see Daniel 4:27; and so forgiveness of sin springs from the tender mercies of our God, and is both an act of justice and of mercy; of justice, with respect to the blood of Christ, and of pure grace and mercy to the pardoned sinner: the following clause,
and to cleanse us, from all unrighteousness, is but the same thing expressed in different words; for all unrighteousness is sin, and to cleanse from sin is to remove the guilt of it, by an application of the blood of Christ for pardon. The antecedent to the relative “he” in the text, is either God, who is light, and with whom the saints have fellowship; or his Son Jesus Christ, who is the nearest antecedent, and who, being truly God, has a power to forgive sin.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentar
confess—with the lips, speaking from a contrite heart; involving also confession to our fellow men of offenses committed against them.
faithful—to His own promises; “true” to His word.
just—Not merely the mercy, but the justice or righteousness of God is set forth in the redemption of the penitent believer in Christ. God’s promises of mercy, to which He is faithful, are in accordance with His justice.
to—Greek, “in order that.” His forgiving us our sins and cleansing us, etc., is in furtherance of the ends of His eternal faithfulness and justice.
forgive—remitting the guilt.
cleanse—purify from all filthiness, so that henceforth we more and more become free from the presence of sin through the Spirit of sanctification (compare Heb 9:14; and above, see on 1Jo 1:7).
unrighteousness—offensive to Him who “is just” or righteous; called “sin,” 1Jo 1:7, because “sin is the transgression of the law,” and the law is the expression of God’s righteousness, so that sin is unrighteousness.
Oh what a beautiful Savior who persistently comes after us an knocks gently and on occasion harshly. He searches and calls His lost sheep but they must turn.
When He, Christ, was nailed up on the Cross with two apparently guilty thieves, one was saved. When did he receive forgiveness and salvation?
When he asked.
C44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. 39 One of the criminals who hung there heaped abuse on Him. “Are You not the Christ?” he said. “Save Yourself and us!”40 But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same judgment? 41 We are punished justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our actions. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””
Wow, isn’t that powerful? One criminal mocked and the other fessed up. One derided Jesus and the other exercised holy fear and is now in Paradise.
The bottom line is Jesus did what we could NOT do for ourselves. We were born into this beautiful mess of a fallen world. He is our hope. With that said, as it’s as true as anything, did you notice the itty bitty two letter word that starts this passage?
What a huge word ‘if’ is. Of course not in length but rather responsibility. We have our role and responsibility. In this case to confess.
It this, then that.
Lord, you know me better than I know me. Help and prompt me to be real. Help me to say what I mean and mean what I say. Help me be a man of action and not merely unfulfilled thoughts. Help me be quick to serve, quick to repent and slow to transgress, slow to slack.
By You, all things, all good and great things are possible!