Does God forgive our sins before we confess them?¶
I believe –and have been told by the Church– that God forgives our sins unconditionally, even before we tell anybody about them. God loves you as you are, including of your sins. This is the Gospel. This is why Christians dare to speak about sins. We speak about sins because we dare it.
For God there is only one unforgivable sin, very different in nature from everything we use to call a sin: refusing to be aware of your sin. When you are an alcoholic and can’t get rid of your dependency: no problem for God as long as you acknowledge that you have a problem with alcohol. Similar words for sins that really harm other people and can’t be undone. Because if you acknowledge them, you know your responsibility and act accordingly.
Refusing to realize your sin makes you sweep them under the carpet. You don’t get rid of them, they will accumulate and grow. This unforgivable sin, the “sin against the Holy Spirit” because it separates you from God. You exclude yourself from Heaven.
Clarification: Of course a sin causes harm to you or others (or both). But that’s not a divine punishment, it is a natural part of life. God does not punish. The father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32) had been waiting for the return of his son already before the son had confessed his mischiefs to anybody. If the prodigal son hadn’t decided to return to his father, he would have died miserably without receiving God’s forgiveness.
See also Die Grenze seiner Gnade
Jeremy Myers (redeeminggod.com) for example agrees with me. But Suzie Hartwright (covenantkeepers.com) clearly doesn’t. She writes “Does God forgive our sins before we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? Does God forgive our sins before we confess and repent of them? The answer to all three questions is no, we have no evidence or examples in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that would support that.” Note that she is a biblicist (her statement is based on the Bible and she does not ask for evidence).
To confess your sin means to agree with God that it is a sin. It is more than just to admit, proclaim, or declare it. The opposite of confession is denial.