Posts tagged ‘confession’

Forgiveness Requires Confession

People come from many different backgrounds. For many, the spiritual environment in which they were raised has a tremendous effect on their view of doctrinal tenets, religious practices, and definitions of religious terms. Such is the case with the word translated as “confession” in the New Testament. So when I say that confession is a necessary precondition for forgiveness I need to clarify some biblical concepts and terminology.

The Apostle John, in the first chapter of his general epistle says this:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)

So is John saying here that we must go before a priest and orally confess our sins in order to receive absolution? No, and here is why. Rather than meaning admitting what we have done, the Greek word used in 1 John 1:9 is “homologeo” which means “to say the same as”. So what is required is that we say the same thing about our sin that God says about it.

Rather than being a “get it of jail free” card, this confession entails changing our minds about our sin, so repentance is included in it since the word translated repent means to change your mind. This change must be deep enough that we begin saying the same thing about our sins that the Bible says. There is nothing biblical about just admitting what we have done, or even asking God to forgive us of our sins if we have not forsaken them. It’s not about saying the magic words. We need to not only forsake our sin, but actually hate it.

And our hatred of our sin, and the realization of our personal culpability of those sins being part of the reason Jesus was murdered, will also lead us to say what God says after we have been forgiven. When God has forgiven us, we have no authority to continue accusing ourselves before Him. To do so is to align ourselves with “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).

Our confession is also one which encourages accountability. James said we are to “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16) Our secret sins are the ones which entangle us like the little wooden chair left out in the living room at night that finds our shin and throws us to the ground. But being open and honest about our struggles with our fellow believers helps us to overcome those habitual sin patterns so that we can walk in the light, not the darkness.

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7).

As long as we walk in fear of being exposed, we will never know the freedom that could be ours in Christ. Jesus put it this way:

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (John 3:19, 20)

So let us hit sin with the very weapon that will cause it to shrink back — the light. King David discovered this secret thousands of years ago, and God has preserved it for us today in Psalm 32.

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:1-5 NASB)

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Three Questions That Will Determine Your Destiny

Questions are an important part of life and learning. Some are trivial while others are vital. There are three questions that I believe are vital to your eternal salvation. These are the very basics, the foundation, of what it means to be a Christian. Get any or all of these questions wrong, and the consequences are fatal.

For example, look at the foundation of a house. If the foundation is bad, it does not matter how well you build the rest of the house. You may make some mistakes later, but you can fix them because you have a proper foundation to work with. Another example is a mathematical equation. If you make a mistake at the beginning, the rest of the problem is wrong, not matter how well you do it.

Question #1. Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:13-16

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

It does not matter what others think about Jesus. Not your parents, your spouse or your friends. The question you must answer is “who do YOU say that Jesus is?”

He is the eternal Son of God

John 1:4, 14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the only way to God. There are other roads but they all lead to destruction. All roads do NOT lead to God. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.(John 14:6)

Notice he uses “the” instead of “a” to show that He is the one and only way to God. This is affirmed again by the apostle Peter in Acts 4:12 where he said, “ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

And Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Whenever any organization sets themselves up between you and Christ, they are false and you should run the other way.

He was not just fully God, but as the previous verse said, Jesus was also a man. You see we needed a perfect man to atone for the sins of man. But if He were just a man, His death would only atone for one other man’s sins. No, he had to also be deity so that He could make an eternal sacrifice for all! Hebrews 4:11-14 states

“11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

While Jesus Christ was hanging on that cross, suspended between heaven and earth, He was both God’s perfect man, and man’s perfect God!

Question #2. By what authority do you do these things? Matthew 21:23 23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things?”

EXAMPLE: Matthew 4 with Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. For every temptation, Jesus responded with His greatest weapon – “It is written.”

Jesus NEVER quotes the oral or written traditions of the fathers except to condemn it. Mark 7:13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

The Word of God is the most powerful force in the universe, yet you can keep it out of your heart and life with something called “tradition.” Watch out for those who would say that we need to follow both the written word and holy tradition. Jesus promised the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would be sent to lead THEM into all truth. That’s why in Acts 2:42 Doctor Luke wrote, “ 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread,

Even after that time, the writings of Paul carried the weight of the Word of God.

1 Thess 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

And this word of God was delivered once for all. It did not get lost and have to be delivered again.

Jude 3 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

That brings us to the “so what?” question. If the first two questions are answered correctly, what difference does that make for me? Glad you asked!

Question #3. What must I do to be saved? (Acts 2:37)

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Peter gave them an answer, but it was based on where they were at in the salvation process. They had just then heard and believed, so Peter starts with repentance in verse 38. But let’s take a look briefly at the overall process.

a. Hear the Gospel message – Why is this one first? Because salvation requires faith, and

b. Repent – Acts 2:38 states it plainly “repent and be baptized”. This means not just to

c. Confess – Matt 10:32-33

d. Baptism – time will not permit me to go to every scripture that talks about baptism, so

according to Romans 10:17, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of

God.” So once someone hears and understands the Gospel (which an infant cannot

do), they must believe it and have faith that it is true.

They then repent, which is more that to turn from sin, but turn to God.

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

For baptism, let’s focus on one passage – Romans 6

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

What about the sinner’s prayer? There is never a record in the New Testament of ANYONE praying a prayer to be saved. This was an invention of D.L. Moody in the 19th century. But if you must have a sinner’s prayer, here is what the Bible says.

Acts 22:16 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

And here in 1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, NASB

It is not a sinner’s prayer and then baptism. Baptism IS the sinner’s prayer.

In conclusion, make sure your life is built on the solid foundation of truth. Study it and be solid in your convictions so that the enemy cannot move you from the sure rock of the Word of God.

Make sure that you fellowship with a congregation that at least has these basics correct. If these are not right, you can save yourself some time because it means everything else is wrong.

Now that you know the truth, obey it. If you really believe it is true, you must do something about it. Your true beliefs will determine your actions. And your foundation will determine your destiny.

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