Why Do Catholics Confess To Priests?

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“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses”

[1 Timothy 6:12] 

Non-Catholics and Muslims condemn the Catholics for making confession to priests. They argue that confession should be made directly to God since only Him can forgive sins, so why a Catholic should confess to a priest? These people failed to realize that the Catholic Church is the owner of the Bible, thus Catholics know the Bible better than them. Why would we disclose our sins to God when He already knew our sins?

The confessions made to God as mentioned in the Old Testament was done by the leaders chosen by God. And it’s more on intercession or asking forgiveness from God for the confessors. The people came to the leaders and made confessions, after that, the leaders prayed to God for the forgiveness of the sins of the confessors. This is what the priests are doing in the Church, they receive confessions, and after that, they will plead to God for the forgiveness of the confessors. God won’t hear the pleading of a sinner, that’s why we need a Godly man to do the pleading for us sinners.

God commands us not to conceal our sins, thus telling of sins should not be made to God but to our Godly fellows. Confessing our sins to other people (Godly people) is part of our burden so as to earn forgiveness from above. If your wife has committed a marital unfaithfulness, and she just hide it from you because only God can forgive, is it okay for you? And if your playmate broke your nose accidentally, is it okay for you if he won’t ask forgiveness from you because you have no right to forgive? Evidently, each of one us is part of this forgiving and interceding circle. If I forgive your sin against me you will also be forgiven by God, likewise my sins against my other fellow will be forgiven by God as well. That’s why the apostle James commanded us to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another (James 5:16). In this verse, the apostle James is talking in general. His commandment does not mean that we should tell our sins to anyone of us, but to the people who are Godly, like the priests who are leaders appointed by God Jesus. 

Confession of sins was already commanded by God and practiced by Israelites even before the arrival of the New Testament [Numbers 5:7]. John the baptist also administered confession [Mark 1:4-5]. Jesus gave authority to His disciples to forgive sins, He told them, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23). Take note that the apostles were appointed by Jesus to lead his church, so they were priests. Peter was the first head or pope of Christianity, and his priesthood along with other apostles were handed down to the Catholic priests of today. Therefore, if the priests won’t forgive you because you don’t want to confess your sins to them, your sins won’t be forgiven by God as well.

Biblical verses commanding us to confess our sins to one another;  

OLD TESTAMENT: 

1. [Numbers 5:7] and must confess the sin he has committed. He must pay full compensation, add a fifth to its value, and give all this to the one he has wronged

2. [Leviticus 5:5-6] when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.

3. [Leviticus 16:21] “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.

4. [Leviticus 26:40] ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me—

5. [Psalm 32:5] I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. 

6. [Psalm 38:18] For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

7. [Proverbs 28:13] Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

8. [Nehemiah 9:2] And the seed of the children of Israel separated themselves from every stranger: and they stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.

9. [Jeremiah 3:13] But yet acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God: and thou hast scattered thy ways to strangers under every green tree, and hast not heard my voice, saith the Lord.

10. [Jeremiah 14:20] We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, the guilt of our fathers; indeed, we have sinned against You.

11. [Joshua 7:19] And Joshua said unto Achan, 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.

12. [Hosea 5:15] Then I will return to My place until they admit their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

13. [Ezra 10:11] Now make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his will

NEW TESTAMENT: 

1. [Matthew 3:5-6] People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region around the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

2. [Matthew 16:19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

3. [Matthew 18:18] Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

4. [Mark 1:4-5] John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

5. [John 20:23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

6. [Acts 19:18] Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.

7. [Romans 10:9-11] . . . For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. 

8. [2 Corinthians 2:10] When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit

9. [1 Timothy 6:12] Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

10. [Hebrews 5:1] Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins 

11. [1 John 1:9] If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

12. [James 5:16] Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

 

Why Jesus Died On The Cross If He’s God?

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Jesus bore the sins of mankind, therefore he took the pain and suffering resulted from the punishment accorded to us (mankind). He is presenting himself to God as sinful mankind who is punished on a cross because of our sins. Prophet Isaiah foretold about the suffering Messiah, to quote;

[Isaiah 53:4-6] “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”

[Isaiah 53:12] “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors”

COMMENT: The above verses foretell the fate of Jesus, who would become the bearer of our sins and the taker of our punishment. He would become the intercessor between God and sinful mankind. Jesus showed so much humility, He did not use His divinity to His advantage, instead He used His humanity in going through suffering of crucifixion. Consider the verses below;

[Philippians 2:5-8] “Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality. Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross”

Jesus had authority on Himself if He wanted to, but He intentionally gave up His human life so as to redeem us, as He said;

[John 10:18] “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

After the first parents sinned because of the Serpent’s deception, God already had set up a plan to destroy Satan’s work, He said to the Serpent Satan;

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” [Genesis 3:15].

COMMENT: This seed is fulfilled in Jesus who’s born to a woman (Mary). The reason why Jesus was sent by God is to destroy the devil’s work through His death. So that in Jesus death, He might deliver us from the power of death inflicted by Satan. Kindly read;

[1 John 3:8] “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”

[Hebrews 2:14-15] “Since then the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage”

All people sinned [Micah 7:2], therefore, all people should be sentenced to death physically and spiritually because the penalty of sin is death. But since God so loved the world, He saved it by sending forth His Spirit to become a perfect man. Jesus presented Himself as an atoning sacrifice (sacrificial lamb). Only righteous or sinless man can enter into Heaven, but how can we be righteous if we are sinners since birth [Psalm 58:3]? A sinner cannot go back to the glory of God by himself. God looked for a sinless or holy man to be the reason He would not destroy mankind, but He had found no one [Ezekiel 22:30 & Ezekiel 22:31]. From this reason, Jesus came down in order to take the penalty of death so that we may not perish due to sin [Psalm 73:27]. He bore our iniquities and died on our behalf so that we can become righteous and justified through Him [Romans 3:25-26]. By Jesus’ suffering and anguish on the cross, God’s wrath become satisfied. As Isaiah prophesied;

[Isaiah 53:11] “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities”

Jesus was following the will of the Father, His fate was already written in the Scriptures thousand years before His birth. In fact His last word was, “it is finished” [John 19:30], referring to the fulfillment of the prophecies about Him. Kindly check this speech of Jesus to His apostles after His resurrection;

[Luke 24:44] “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled”

Mankind was separated from God and lost their everlasting life because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Sinlessness means everlasting life, while sin means death, thus, we are dead already because of sin. But through the resurrection of Jesus, we can also be resurrected and be saved from death. 

And why God’s spirit needed to become a man in order to save us? Because it is man who sinned, therefore it is man who saves. Kindly read;

[1 Corinthians 15:21] “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead”

Is the Father unfair by allowing Jesus to be killed? Nope, for He exalted Jesus to the highest place in return, kindly read;

[Psalm 89:27] “And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth”

[Isaiah 52:13] “Behold, My Servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted”

[Hebrews 2:9] “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone”

[Philippians 2:9-11] “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” 

ALSO READ: If Jesus Is God, Why He Cried Out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

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