Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If We Confess Our Sins...

Confessing our sins to another person seems so foreign to most of us today. Even people who grew up in the Catholic Church find that confessing your sins to the priest is something most people don’t do nowadays. Protestants can boldly proclaim that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV). We know we don’t need to seek absolution from another sinner. We need to seek forgiveness from God.

Yet even this form of confession is pretty uncommon in many of our lives. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Do we do that? How frequently? While it is true that if we are in Christ our sins have been forgiven, the Bible still calls us to a practice of confession.

When I was a little boy in Sunday school we learned about praying the ACTS way: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Begin your prayer praising God, giving Him honor and glory. Then confess your sins. Thank God for His forgiveness among other blessings, and finally bring your requests to Him. It’s not exactly the Lord’s Prayer, but it is helpful, especially to a new believer who doesn’t know if there’s a special formula or phrases you have to utter in order to get and audience with God.

Yet if I were teaching the ACTS method to children, I might just start off with the C. Beginning with praise and moving to confession may be natural, that as we gaze on the wonder, beauty, and holiness of God, we are convicted of our sin. Then again, it might just feel like I’m trying to butter God up, giving Him lip service so I can get down to business asking Him to forget about those sinful things I’ve done.

Each of us, especially me, needs to get into the habit of confessing our sins to God on a daily basis, if not even more frequently. Why? Because sin separates. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, that is true, but when we approach God we must be holy as He is holy. True Christians cannot live forever in the shadow of sin when we have come into His glorious light. Try confessing your sins to Him. See if your relationship isn’t more intimate.

Coming next… Confess Your Sins One to AnotherRecommended Resources: There’re not a lot of Christian books out there on the subject. For now, you might be interested in What’s Your Secret? by Aaron Stern, which I recently reviewed.

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