Do you have to confess every sin before God will accept you as a Christian?

Although I would not try to talk a person out of doing so, we must take into account what the scriptures say. I was reading Acts 19:18 a couple of weeks ago, and was struck by the way certain sins were dealt with--or at least brought into the open--only after conversion! Here is the passage:

"Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily" (Acts 19:18-20, RSV).

Some things will come to light only through the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of someone who has already been born again. This make take some time. We must allow the Spirit to work in his own way--without backing off from challenging sin and engaging others in heart-to-heart discussion about real issues.

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