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Confession of sin

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An admission of sin on the part of individuals or groups of people. Genuine repentance and confession herald divine forgiveness.

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Confession of sin leads to divine forgiveness

Under the old covenant

Proverbs 28:13 NASB95
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
See also Part of the ritual of the Day of Atonement involved the high priest confessing the sins of the nation, while laying his hands on the head of a sacrificial goat; ; ; ;

Under the new covenant

1 John 1:8–10 NASB95
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
See also

Confession of sin accompanied by acts appropriate to repentance

Numbers 5:5–8 NASB95
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged. ‘But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him.
See also ; ; ; ;

Examples of confession of sin

On behalf of the nation

Nehemiah 1:5–7 NASB95
I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. “We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
See also ; ; ; ; ;

By the people as a whole

1 Samuel 7:5–6 NASB95
Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.
See also ; ; ; ;

By individuals

Psalm 51:1–5 NASB95
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
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Confession of sin to other people

Joshua 7:20–21 NASB95
So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”
See also ;
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