If Christ died for the sins of the whole world, why did he institute Confession?
Let’s take our old friend, the little boy with the baseball who breaks windows (accidentally).
He breaks the window of the guy next door. He goes over and apologizes. He is forgiven. . .BUT there is still a broken window.
Now, the guy is a nice guy and understands that the boy doesn’t mean to break windows, but in learning to pitch, the boy IS going to break more windows, right?
Not only that, but over the course of years, many little boys come to practice by this man’s house, and they break windows accidentally. Some even do it on purpose!
Now. . .each and every time that somebody breaks the window, the guy forgives them. Usually if they only do it once, HE assumes the cost of replacing the broken window. If it happens more than once, he usually asks the boy to come and help him nail the new window up, or if it’s deliberate, asks the family to help pay the replacement cost. . .but always, if he is asked to forgive, he does.
So. . . everybody in town knows the guy will forgive a broken window.
Does that mean that they never have to come and apologize for breaking the window?
If they do it more than once, or if they do it deliberately, should they not have some responsibility to fix the window?
Even though they’re forgiven, isn’t it important that they both ask the man in person for forgiveness, even knowing without doubt they will be forgiven?
Voila – Christ instituted confession. . .Scripturally found in the ‘binding and loosing’. . .the need for ‘face to face’ acknowledgment and ‘face to face’ forgiveness. . .
But if Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins, why must we confess them to be forgiven?
So He can apply that forgiveness to each sinner individually and assure him of forgiveness. It’s more personal that way.
As one of the sacraments of the church, confession helps you with the faith journey.
Does His death somehow abrogate our need to confess our sins? Why would it?
Picture two men (or women). Call them A and B.
A and B both sin against God.
Now God, as you know, will forgive sins, for He loves us. But. . .we cannot be forgiven what we do not ‘know’ or ‘ask’ to be forgiven for. That is why if a person does not KNOW he is doing something wrong, he will not be judged with the same judgment as a person who did wrong knowingly.
OK, so A and B know they have to ask for forgiveness, right --because if they don’t ask (and we’ll posit that they both know they did something very wrong), they won’t be forgiven even though the forgiveness is THERE. IOW, we need to ‘cooperate’ with God. He doesn’t forgive us, as it were, against OUR will.
So A goes into his room and mumbles, “Um God I’m sorry.” And A “feels’ forgiven. In fact, he feels SO forgiven he immediately sins again, because he just 'feels in his heart” that God understands and will just forgive him without asking, because A is such a ‘good person’, ya know?
B, OTOH, goes to the priest. He takes time out of his Saturday, goes and stands in the church where people passing through can eye him and wonder, “what is HE here for, must be for confession, bet he’s done something awful”. . .where people he knows and admires can see him and he worries that they are judging him, are laughing at him. . .
And he waits. And he confesses to a priest. . .in some little room, kneeling on a kneeler, in some old-fashioned ritual. And the priest talks to him and tells him to get down and pray, and instead of trying to be so successful in THIS world, to go out and give up MORE of his time to go help some annoying people. . .without even getting the credit of being KNOWN to be the one helping. . .and to do this regularly. . .
B isn’t sitting around in his own comfy insulated house and life sharing how ‘great’ he is with a god made in his image and likeness. B is out in public view looking perhaps even ‘worse’ than he is truly, being ‘judged’, being made ‘uncomfortable’ in the WORLDLY sense, made to feel not that he’s a cool guy for even acknowledging his failings, but like these failings are just the tip of the iceberg and even knowing and trying to do something is just getting STARTED on what he will NEED to do to be like Christ.
And yet when B hears from the priest, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I absolve you from your sins”. . .B isn’t just IMAGINING a ‘good feeling’. B is actually getting. . .‘direct from God’. . .that kind of one-on-one PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP founded not on platitudes or trying to make oneself look ‘better’, but a relationship where God knows all the WORST of B and yet loves him anyway. . .and B through the priest really, REALLY knows this. He doesn’t just ‘imagine’ it.