Definition: To make known or admit to being guilty of sins or faults.

1. It is part of human nature to try to cover up our faults and mistakes.

Genesis 3:8 [Covering up goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden to the time right after Adam and Eve had disobeyed the Lord] And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. [See verses  1-13 for the whole story; Job 31:33]
Job 24:13-17 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. 14 The murderer … in the night is as a thief. 15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face. 16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. 17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know [recognize] them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
Ezekiel 8:12 Then said He unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
1 John 1:5,6 This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

2. We may sometimes be able to hide our mistakes from others, but we can never hide them from the Lord.

Job 34:22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
Psalm 44:21 Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart.
Psalm 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. [See also Psalm 44:21]
Psalm 94:9,10 He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not He correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not He know?
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. [See also Psalm 69:5]
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Isaiah 59:6a [We can’t hide behind our “good works.”] Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works.
Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. [See also Psalm 94:9,10; Ecclesiastes 12:14]

3. Being aware of the consequences of not confessing, motivates us to be honest about our sins and shortcomings; it keeps us in the fear of the Lord.

Job 9:4b Who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?
Psalm 38:3,4 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. [See also Psalm 32:3]
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us?
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. [See also Psalm 66:18]
Matthew 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this Stone [Jesus] shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
1 Corinthians 11:31,32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
1 Timothy 5:24 [It’s better to confess now and be able to change and do better, rather than to wait till the Judgement Seat of Christ and have them exposed] Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 [Those not receiving godly counsel are opposing themselves and ensnared by the Devil] A servant of the Lord must … 25 In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him [to do] his will.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

4. The first step in being able to confess faults and mistakes is to be willing to face them — to want to see where we’ve been wrong.

Job 13:23 How many are mine iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin.
Lamentations 3:40,41 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the Heavens.
John 9:41 [Self-righteousness kept the Pharisees from seeing their own sins and thus getting the victory over them] Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Hebrews 3:7,8a Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, 8 Harden not your hearts.)

5. Next, we must be willing to confess to the Lord.

Psalm 19:12-14 [A valuable prayer for when we need the Lord’s help to see where we’ve done wrong:] Who can understand His errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.
Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
Psalm 32:5,6a I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 6a For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found.
Psalm 38:18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
Psalm 51:2,3 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 139:23,24 [King David prayed:] Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
James 5:16 [Confession with wholehearted prayer can bring healing, both spiritual and physical] Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.
[See also Condemnation and Remorse, #2]

6. We must put feet to our prayers of repentance, and mustchange.

Job 33:27-30 [The Lord blesses honest confession] He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; 28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. 29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, 30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalm 119:59,60 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies. 60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments.
Ezekiel 18:30 I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. [See also Jeremiah 31:18,19]
Malachi 3:7b Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.
Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. [See also Luke 13:9]
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Acts 17:30 [When we don’t know better, God has lots of patience; but when we do know, He holds us accountable to change] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
James 4:8-10 Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

7. If we confess and repent, the Lord always forgives.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Nehemiah 9:17b Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. …
Psalm 86:5 For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
Daniel 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against Him.
Micah 7:18,19 Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Romans 2:4b The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

8. It is also important or helpful to confess to others, as well as the Lord.

Joshua 7:19b My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
Matthew 5:23,24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

9. The Lord always blesses honest, open confession.

Psalm 51:2-6,10,16,17 [Though king David made serious mistakes and committed grave sins, his repentance was so genuine that God called him a man after His Own heart] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest. 6 Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 16 For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
Luke 15:17-20 [The Prodigal Son is a classic example of humble, straightforward confession and a beautiful testimony to the Lord’s unfailing love and forgiveness] And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
1 Corinthians 15:9 [Paul’s wholehearted repentance and continued humble attitude about his mistakes put him in a position to be mightily used of the Lord] For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.