SHOULD BELIEVERS CONFESS THEIR SINS TO BE FORGIVEN? (Explaining 1 John 1:9)
NOT ALL scriptures are to the believers but all scriptures are for the believers. In all of Paul's 13 Letters to the Gentiles, he never said in any part "Confess your sins to be forgiven" because it is in no way for the believers. The only part of confessing sin in the new testament is in 1 John 1:9 which Christians have tied their salvation to.
1 John chapter 1 was not referring to believers but to some set of people called Gnostic Jews who sprang up during the time of the early church and was infiltrating the church. If you doubt, Check the beginning of any letter written by the apostles, it starts with a greeting to the church.
John wrote to the Jews.
This Group of Gnostic Jews don't believe that:
*Christ/Messiah came in Flesh and God can not stoop so low to come in flesh
*There is anything like Sin since it only happens in the physical flesh
Later John says that anyone who does not believe that Jesus came in human flesh is not from God (1 John 4:3).
So John was addressing Gnosticism in the first chapter and he starts with:
1 John 1:1 " That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
(Note: A proof that they witnessed the messiah)
 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, THAT YE ALSO MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me SHALL NOT walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 12:46"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.)
 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.
(Note: "Walk" here in Greek is "Peripatomen" which means to have your life in the light.
Note it did not say "if we walk according to the light" as religion will tell you but it says "if we walk(have our life) IN THE Light.
Also note that "Cleanse in the above verse is a PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE in the Original Greek which means your sins are continuously CLEANSED whether you like it or not. And The place this person is cleansed from sin is in the light. He doesn't go back to darkness. The blood handles that)
 If we say that we have no sin(What the Gnostic believe) , we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS .
 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
John proves to the doctrines of the Gnostic Jews that "Christ came in flesh and they witnessed it and they can't deny that there is no sin and they have not sinned"
In Chapter 2, he then faces the believers and wrote :
1 John 2:1 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(Note: My little children here is a FAMILY endearment term.
He says to the believers don't sin, but if any one sin, he did not say confess your sins, but rather we have an advocate(lawyer) with the father)
In verse 12, he says "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
(Note: Forgiven here is a perfect tense in the original Greek. Perfect tense means: it happened once, it does not need to be repeated, but it has an effect in the future. Just like when Jesus cried "Finished" on the cross. This is a perfect tense.
If the forgiveness does not need to be repeated, then what then is your confessing meant for? And also note John told them they are forgiven not because they confessed their sins but because of Christ name)
John further warned the church against false prophets in 1 John 4:1
So what they try to tackle us with is, in John 1:9, John said IF "WE" Confess I.e he even include himself which means he is talking about believers.
*Confess is a present tense and Sins is plural(many). That is, you have to do it always and for all sin you commit
*To explain the first, John used an "Editorial WE. Like he said "If we say we have no sin" does not mean John believes he has no sin. E. G I may say "We the people of America" even though m a Nigerian to be polite"
*Secondly, Matthew 3:6
"Many were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
Confess here is present tense, sins here is plural. So it doesn't mean they are still in Jordan up to now still confessing. And I don't think John the Baptist would sit down and listen to all the sins each person committed from birth out of the thousands that came to be baptised. So don't get it twisted
Thus, 1 John 1:9 is a remedy to the Gnostic and those influenced by their doctrines. So instead of them to brag they don't have sin, they should acknowledge they have sin, and they have sinned because its like saying Christ death is not needed. If they do acknowledge and confess, God cleanses them of ALL unrighteousness. You can ask yourself, how many times can you confess to be cleansed of ALL unrighteousness? Just once!!!
So 1 John 1:9 is an invitation to become a Christian. so for you brethren, As believers in Christ, God has taken away all our sins, condemning them in the flesh (Romans 8:1-39). He remembers them no more (Hebrews 8:7-13). Hebrews 10 describes that one sacrifice of Christ is sufficient. Jesus perfected for all time those who are sanctified by His one offering(Hebrews 10:14). There is no longer any offering for sin (Hebrews 10:18). Our forgiveness and cleansing are not dependent on our memory, our confession, or our asking. Our forgiveness and cleansing are solely because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Amen!