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If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.[1]

1 John 1:9

I am a great fan of “Leave it to Beaver”. Leave It to Beaver ran for six full 39-week seasons (234 episodes). The series had its debut on CBS on October 4, 1957. The following season, it moved to ABC, where it stayed until completing its run on June 20, 1963.

It is interesting that several adult candidates auditioned for the role of Beaver’s father, Ward, but they finally signed Hugh Beaumont, an actor and Methodist lay minister who had worked with Mathers in a religious film.

Ward was the every-man of the 1960’s dad. Education, occupation, marriage, and family are presented in Leave It to Beaver as requisites for a happy and productive life. We have come a long way since then.

Ward always has practical advice like:

When you make a mistake, admit it. If you don’t, you only make matters worse. ~Ward Cleaver

That was a theme of the early 1960’s as I grew up. That was the role of dads in my neighborhood. They all saw it the same way and gave each other permission to help correct us when we weren’t home.

America had more of a shared culture as the Depression Dads returned home from WWII, married, had families, and built communities around the church.

They also had shared values like “When you make a mistake, admit it. If you don’t, you only make matters worse.”

God’s goal: All God asks is that when we have failed we confess our sins.

What does it mean to “confess”? Well, to confess sins means much more than simply to “admit” them. The word confess actually means “to say the same thing [about].” To confess sin, then, means to say the same thing about it that God says about it.

Of course, cleansing has two sides to it: the judicial and the personal. The blood of Jesus the Messiah, shed on the cross, delivers us from the guilt of sin and gives us right standing (“justification”) before God. God can forgive because Jesus’ death has satisfied His holy Law.

But God is also interested in cleansing a sinner inwardly. David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps. 51:10). When our confession is sincere, God does a cleansing work (1 John 1:9) in our hearts by His Spirit and through His Word (John 15:3).

The great mistake King David made was in trying to cover his sins instead of confessing them. For perhaps a whole year he lived in deceit and defeat. No wonder he wrote (Ps. 32:6) that a man should pray “in a time of finding out” (lit.).

When should we confess our sin? Immediately when we discover it! “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). By walking in the light, we are able to see the “dirt” in our lives and deal with it immediately.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 1:9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 482–483). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.