Unworthy Confession

Luke 22:19-20 – “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-34 – “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.”

This study will challenge you to “rightly divide the word of truth” and possibly challenge your current understanding regarding the issue of “unworthiness” while observing (taking) the Lord’s Supper. Let me say from the beginning if you are not willing to read the “words” in the Holy Bible for what they say it’s better for you stop reading right now and simply move on. But if you are open to what the Bible has to say then I encourage you to prayerfully and carefully read what I’ve written.

From the very beginning I want to see we are “worthy” as a believer based on receiving the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, and believing in Him alone. As a believer and current follower of Christ, confessing my sins does not make or qualify me as a “worthy” believer. Living a specific lifestyle does not make me “worthy” as a believer. Reading my Bible, praying, soul winning, eating vegetables, or drinking water does not make me “worthy” as a believer. Having perfect thoughts, perfect words, perfect attitudes, and perfect deeds does not make me “worthy” as a believer. Christ hath made us worthy. Get that. If you were required to come in observance of the Lord’s Supper as a “sinless” and “perfect” mortal human being then you would not qualify to observe the Lord’s Supper—none of us would. Christ, and Christ alone, makes us worthy.

Sin Makes You Unworthy?

This is exactly what many teach regarding the specific verse in 1 Corinthians 11:29 which says, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” Here is what many believe and teach. We (the born again, washed in the blood of Christ believers) are “unworthy” because of unconfessed sin. So in solemn, humble, and mournful defeat we come crawling before the Lord’s Table and plead for forgiveness of our sins so as to not partake unworthily. Even though our sins are already forgiven they must be confessed because they are no longer washed and cleansed by the precious blood of Christ! The erroneous counsel is often: “You better come clean by ‘confessing’ all ‘known’ sins so you can be worthy and not die or become sick as a result of God’s judgment in your life. If you happen to overlook a sinful thought you may have had or perhaps a sinful attitude, word, or deed, don’t worry about it. God will understand. Give it your best effort though. And keep a short list of offenses so you can be worthy.”

It’s possible that some pastor’s use this warning as an instrument in an attempt to manage holy behavior in the member’s life. Some do it simply because they aren’t really reading the scripture and understanding what the words of God really say in context. Read carefully what I’m about to say. If you are confessing sin in order to be forgiven or to become worthy, you simply do not understand the power, efficacy, and finality of Christ’s shed blood and the forgiveness of sins—past, present, and future—that’s already yours in Christ.

Let me clearly say in no way am I suggesting that the truth of Biblical forgiveness is a divine permission slip that encourages you to go forth and commit random acts of sin freely. If that is your attitude you do not understand grace and you are abusing it. Understanding grace and forgiveness actually provides the love, freedom, and the desire to obey Christ. The Holy Spirit operating with the sharp shears of God’s word keeps me “purged” and “pruned” so I will bring forth fruit, more fruit, even much fruit. The word sets me on a new course. It corrects, reproves, and instructs. We should always “repent” from sin as believers when the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, through His word opens our eyes to any and all personal sinful behavior. But “confessionfor the purpose of beingforgiven for sins” and “cleansed from all unrighteousness” for something that has already occurred (in the life of a believer) when first coming in faith to Christ, in my opinion, is not accurate teaching or sound doctrine.

Why confess sin that’s already washed in the precious blood of Jesus? Why confess sin in order to be cleansed from unrighteousness when you are already made the righteousness of God in Christ? And please don’t say in order to restore fellowship with God. That is not what the scripture says. Our fellowship with God, as a believer who is now in Christ, is never broken. We are always in the light because God who is LIGHT dwells in us. Repent, yes. Confess, no.

Ephesians 1:7 – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

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Let me ask you a question, believer. Do we have redemption and forgiveness through His blood according to the riches of His grace? Do we have it right now to the full? Why then do you need to “confess” sins you are already forgiven for? Does a “believer” confess their sins in order to restore their fellowship with God? Is that what 1 John 1:9 says?

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.

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Or do we confess our sins in order to restore our fellowship with God? What does the Bible say? Please consider what I am asking. Personally, I began seeing this passage in 1 John differently as I grew in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. As I began to receive by faith His preeminence in all things and my completeness in Him alone, I began to simply repent of sin and praise and thank Him for what He has already done at the cross. It really is finished.

Why must we confess our sins to be cleansed from all unrighteousness when the Bible clearly says I’m already made the righteousness of God in Christ? Be careful about going back to that “in order to restore fellowship with God” thing again. Remember, we are not told to confess our sins in order to restore fellowship. That is not what the Bible says.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Are we “…made the righteousness of God in him” only when we live in sinless perfection by confessing our sins? What happens to those believers who might overlook confessing a particular sin? (Thought, word, deed, attitude?) Are they out of fellowship with God, no longer in the light, and in darkness? Is that what the Holy Scripture is really teaching?

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

If “walking in the light as he is in the light” here represents holy action, obedient submission, and sinless behavior in the life of a believer rather than positional reality then we must conclude that when we sin we are no longer in the light, no longer in fellowship with God through Christ, and no longer being cleansed by the powerful and precious blood of Christ and that confession is a requirement to reactivate the forgiveness of sins and cleansing effectiveness from all unrighteousness.

Again, what happens if we overlook a sin and fail to confess it? It’s all or nothing with God. God requires absolute sinless perfection. I don’t know about you but this reality causes me to thank God for the precious blood and body of Christ that was given for me on the cross. In Christ, I am forgiven, cleansed, and made the very righteousness of God all the time in the midst of personal sin. That’s justification. I am not justified because I’ve stopped sinning. I’m justified even though I do sin.

This truth causes me to hate sin not love it. This truth makes me sensitive to right not insensitive. Most of all this truth helps me to live without any condemnation. Christ hath made me the righteousness of God. Wow!

The “unworthy” issue at the church in Corinth is clarified with this verse.

11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

They (the church at Corinth) failed to “discern the Lord’s body” and were therefore observing the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. That was the issue. We have a clue as to what they were doing. 1 Corinthians 11:21 says, “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken

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.” And 1 Corinthians 11:34 says, “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.” The issue was that they were not discerning the Lord’s body.

What does it mean to discern the Lord’s body? “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” And “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Remember? As often as we observe the Lord’s Supper let us remember that He died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day, and is ascended where He sits in final rule and authority. That is wonderful news for us! When you hold the unleavened bread [representing His body that was broken for our sins] and the fruit of the vine [representing His precious blood that was shed for our sins], remember that you are cleansed, washed, declared righteous, and reconciled with God through Christ Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is a time of remembrance that causes me to rejoice in and boast in the Lord Jesus Christ. A time of praise and jubilant celebration! Thank you, Lord Jesus! Remember and rejoice!

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3 Responses to “Unworthy Confession”

  1. Warren Says:

    Amen Brother Forrest and thank you for this clarity of what the Bible really teaches.

  2. Cynthia Pearson Says:

    I thought that we had to confess, eetc. to reactivate our fellowship with the Lord…. But there was a time I didn’t listen to the Lord decidedly, but to listen to others accuse who told me to confess, etc…., but the Lord simply told me that it was in my heart, but foolishly I ended up spending hours and hours confessing and asking to take back ground because I thought they saw something demonic, and they did. I was right. But God was not in that confessing. God told me to stop it and shut up and abide in Christ, but somehow I thought that I would be closer to the Lord if I confessed some things, but each time I was further even if it wasd something reaqlly simple. Remembering my beginning of my chrisdtian life, you’re right. I was just broken over sin, didn’y yet kbnow about the word :confess” and I was so close to Him. Now there’s something very demonic in my life and I can’t seem to draw close to Him. …Or find Him.

  3. Forrest Wychopen Says:

    Cynthia, believe Jesus Christ. Keep it simple. Appropriate by FAITH the realities of what and who you are in Christ, follow Him, and love Him. Satan is defeated. Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, will guide us into the full green pastures of spiritual nourishment and truth. Keep believing Christ.