Is it necessary for a Christian to go to confess to a priest? If Jesus Christ is called “High Priest” in the Bible and the only intermediary between us and God the Father, can we pray for forgiveness and confess our sins directly to Him?
What is confession?
When the phrase “confession of sins” is used in the original text of the New Testament most often is used the Greek word “exomologeo”, which means to recognize or to fully agree. So, to confess your sins means to recognize the committed sins and to fully agree with God who says that you have sinned. Here is a biblical text that presents well the significance of this word in the context where it is used:
If we say that we have no sin (when we have sinned), we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins (we admit, we fully agree), 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. (1 John 1:8-10)(NASB)
Let us confess our sins
When you sin, you must first ask for forgiveness from those against whom you have been guilty, as the Lord Jesus said:
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (Matthew 5:23-24)(NASB)
You can not reconcile with those against whom you have been guilty, without confessing your sins, without admitting and fully agreeing that you have sinned or done wrong to them.
Then, come to the Lord Jesus in prayer, confess your sin and ask for forgiveness.
John the Baptist asked the confession of sins
John the Baptist preached and baptized people as they repented.
Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. (Matthew 3:5-6)(NASB)
The main condition for someone to be baptized was to testify his sins. It seems that Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to be baptized without testifying their sins, since John has rebuked them so harsh:
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:7-8)(NASB)
Confession to the priest
In the Epistle of James it is written:
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:14-16)(NASB)
It’s good to confess your sins to the priest or pastor that he can pray specifically for you and that he can advise, teach and direct you from the Word of God according to the sins you have committed. It is also necessary to confess your sin to your priest/pastor that he may know how to protect the rest of the church from this sin, which since has affected you, is a real danger for the rest of the church.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru