settings icon
share icon

What happens if we die before confessing our sins?

die before confessing sins

The question of what happens if we die before confessing our sins is a matter of great importance. Thankfully, the Bible offers an answer to this question, emphasizing God’s mercy, repentance, and the state of our hearts. When we understand these things, we can be reassured about the fate of those who die before confessing their sins.

Repentance is a central theme in the Bible. Repentance is a change of mind involving a genuine turning away from sin and toward God. Jesus stressed the need for repentance during His earthly ministry (Luke 13:3; 24:47). Repentance is crucial for salvation.

Confession is the act of acknowledging our sins to God. We have a promise in 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV). Here, John assures believers that God’s forgiveness is always available when we confess our sins.

The Bible, however, suggests that God’s grace extends beyond formal acts of confession. In Psalm 103:8–12, we read the following about God’s character:

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (ESV)

When we are born again by grace through faith, God forgives our sin—all of it. “We have been justified through faith” (Romans 5:1). When God justifies us, He declares us to be righteous. We still sin, but God’s declaration stands. The fact that a believer dies with unconfessed sin in his life does not change the decree of God. When we sin, we do not revert to an unforgiven state. We do not lose salvation. Christ died “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10; cf. Hebrews 7:25), and His sacrifice covered our sin.

The idea that believers are damned if they die before confessing their sin belittles the grace of God. Such teaching is usually found in churches that require a formal confession to a priest in order to be absolved of sin. But the Bible says that Christ is our intercessor. He pleads on our behalf, as Romans 8:33–34 says, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

God’s grace and mercy, then, are central to understanding the fate of those who die with unconfessed sin. Ephesians 2:8–9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (ESV). Salvation is a gift from God that is based on His grace, not our works.

Romans 8:1 also reassures us of what happens if we die before confessing our sins: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (ESV). We may not have a chance to confess every sin, but, if we have placed our faith in Christ, we are not condemned.

Ultimately, the Bible emphasizes the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). Notice that the life is eternal; it does not end with our latest sin.

Return to:

Questions about Salvation

What happens if we die before confessing our sins?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: June 26, 2024