Through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
God alone can forgive sin, the breaking of divine Law. When David committed a serious sin, he found peace after he confessed to God. ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin’ (Psalm 32:5).
Human tradition has once again distorted the teaching of the Bible. Some priests claim the power to judge sinners and give or withhold absolution (a judicial sentence of forgiveness). Some members of a denomination are taught that Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance when he told the apostles: ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ (John 20:23).
Undoubtedly Jesus gave them power to forgive. But we must ask: what kind of power did Jesus give them? Did he appoint them judges in God’s place? Or did he commission them to forgive sins by proclaiming the gospel? The answer is clear if we read the Acts of the Apostles and the rest of the New Testament.
There is no evidence in the Bible that the apostles heard confessions or gave absolution. Rather they preached the gospel and urged people to repent and believe in Jesus to obtain forgiveness. The apostle Peter preached, ‘To him all the prophets witness that, through his name, whoever believes in him will receive remission of sins’ (Acts 10:43); and the apostle Paul said, ‘Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins, and by him everyone who believes is justified’ (Acts 13:38,39).
If you desire God’s forgiveness, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, just as the apostles taught, and you will be saved.
Confession to a priest is a human invention, unknown in the church for many centuries. Jesus taught us plainly that we should confess directly to the Father, ‘Our Father in heaven … forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’ (Matthew 6:9, 12).
There is another critical mistake in the some denominational religion about forgiveness. The Church teaches that God’s forgiveness is incomplete. After a person is ‘forgiven,’ He must perform acts of penance to make satisfaction for his sins. Even after death, most Catholics expect to undergo purification in the fire of Purgatory.
The Bible assures believers that ‘your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake’ (1 John 2:12) and ‘the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us form all sin’ (1 John 1:7). They need not make satisfaction for the sins that Christ took upon himself; they need not go to purgatory whose sins were cleansed by his blood.