Confession

* Confession explained

Confession is supposed to free us to enjoy fellowship with Christ.  It should ease our consciences and lighten our cares.  But some Christians do not understand how it works.  They feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over; then they wonder if they might have forgotten something.  Other Christians believe that God forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost.  These Christians do not understand that God wants to forgive us.  He allowed his beloved Son to die just so he could offer us pardon.  When we come to Christ, he forgives all the sins we have committed or will ever commit.  We don’t need to confess the sins of the past all over again, and we don’t need to fear that God will reject us if we don’t keep our slate perfectly clean.  Of course we should continue to confess our sins, but not because failure to do so will make us lose our salvation.  Our relationship with Christ is secure.  Instead, we should confess so that we can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with him.

If God has forgiven us for our sins because of Christ’s death, why must we confess our sins?  In admitting our sins and receiving Christ’s cleansing, we are (1) agreeing with God that our sin truly is sin and that we are willing to turn from it, (2) ensuring that we don’t conceal our sins from him and consequently from ourselves, and (3) recognizing our tendency to sin and relying on his power to overcome it.

True confession also involves a commitment not to continue in sin.  We wouldn’t be genuinely confessing our sins to God if we planned to commit them again and just wanted temporary forgiveness.  We should also pray for strength to defeat temptation the next time we face it.

* Confession must precede forgiveness

When David realized his sin, he took full responsibility, admitted he was wrong, and asked God to forgive him.  Many people want to add God and the benefits of Christianity to their lives without acknowledging their personal sin and guilt.  But confession and repentance must come before receiving forgiveness.  Like David, we must take full responsibility for our actions and confess them to God before we can expect him to forgive us and continue his work in us. (NLT)

1 Chronicles 21:8 – Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly and shouldn’t have taken the census.  Please forgive me for doing this foolish thing.”

* Confession paves way for God to work

Out of David’s tragic mistake came the purchase of a plot of land that would become the site of God’s Temple, the symbol of God’s presence among his people.  Every time the people would go to the Temple they would remember that God was their true King and that everyone, including their human king, was fallible and subject to sin.  God can use our sins for good purposes if we are sorry for them and seek his forgiveness.  When we confess our sins, the way is opened for God to bring good from a bad situation. (NLT)

1 Chronicles 22:1 – Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

* Confession involves commitment

What is confession?  To confess our sin is to agree with God, acknowledging that he is right to declare what we have done as sinful and that we are wrong to desire or to do it.  It is to affirm our intention of forsaking that sin in order to follow him more faithfully. (NLT)

Psalm 32:5 – Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”  And you forgave me!  All my guilt is gone.

* Importance of confession of sins to one another

Christ has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness.  But confessing our sins to each other still has an important place in the life of the church.  (1) If we have sinned against an individual, we must ask him or her to forgive us.  (2) If our sin has affected the church, we must confess it publicly.  (3) If we need loving support as we struggle with a sin, we should confess that sin to those who are able to provide that support.  (4) If we doubt God’s forgiveness, after confessing a sin to him, we may wish to confess that sin to a fellow believer for assurance of God’s pardon.  In Christ’s Kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers. (NLT)

James 5:16 – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

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