"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." 1 John 1:9
(I gave you two versions because the second one is the more familiar telling of this very important verse in the Bible.)
There are some extreme beliefs about sin and confession roaming the church and has been for centuries. One that is debilitating but has been around a long, long time (like since medieval days or even before) is that if you die before confessing all your sin, even if you are a Believer, you will go to hell.
One example of this is from Shakespeare's play Hamlet. I might get the characters wrong here but you'll get the idea. One character, who I think was Hamlet, is hiding watching another character he wants to kill (who I think was his stepfather). But he stopped himself from killing him in this one scene because he saw his stepfather praying. He wanted to kill him before he had a chance to confess his latest sin so he'd go to hell.
This is why some parts of the Christian community say if someone commits suicide he or she will go to hell no matter what the rest of this person's life or beliefs were. Some also quote the verse that in 1 Corinthians 6 where we are told a Believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 states the following: "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are."
But to take the verse out of context is dangerous and condemning and short-sighted. This entire passage is talking about what works, which ones will survive the fire, which ones will be burned up because they weren't for God. And many Believers are killing their bodies slowly by the choices they make in how they live. They are very aware of these choices and just don't care. Isn't this worse than someone who is in desp
The other extreme that is alive and well in the Christian church is that we are already forgiven, all our sin is forgiven. And there is truth in that because as one Christian preacher states there is no way we can confess all our sin. There are sins we don't even know we do. Those we cannot confess. So the line of thought goes on to say that once we accept Christ's forgiveness at the cross we are forgiven forever.
But the problem with this is that 1 John 1:9 says that when we confess our sin God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John was speaking to Believers, not those who have never been saved.
There is a great need for confession. If there is sin laying on your soul, confess it. If you have something between you and a Brother or Sister, confess it (or family member) and make it right between them. Our fellowship with God is broken when we sin and do not deal with it. We are still Believers but we need to confess and repent to get our relationship back in working order. Think of a close human relationship you have. You do something wrong. That person is hurt. You still have a relationship but it needs fixing. And the only way it will be fixed or restored is when you make things right.
A person knows if there is sin in her life that needs confessing. A person doesn't need to spend hours searching every atom, every neuron to find hidden sin. God will make clear what needs to come to the light. There are time we need to examine ourselves, but spending too much time with our eyes on ourselves is wrong and very self-centered. Our eyes need to be on God.