The Importance of Confession

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth of God is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

This morning in our Sunday school class, we looked at 1 John 1:5-10. The basic message of this passage is that the Christian is to walk in the light as “He” is in the light. In other words, the Apostle John was exhorting his readers to walk in step with Jesus. But in order to do that, they would need to be aware of their sins and then know what to do with those sins – that being to confess their sins and then go to the cross of Christ to receive mercy from God. I think sometimes Christians don’t understand just how important confession is for maintaining a healthy Christian walk. Sometimes we think that because we confessed our sins at our conversion, that confession is forever taken care of because Christ has wiped the slate clean for us. It’s like the wife that asked her husband, “why don’t you ever tell me that you love me?” The husband thought for a moment and then replied, “I told you 30 years ago that I loved you and if I change my mind, I’ll let you know.” Confession is not a one-time deal. It is an ongoing process that Christians must practice.

To be sure, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” When we turn to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, we are forgiven. Praise be to God for that. However, as every Christian knows, sanctification is an on-going work of the Holy Spirit from that point on. The author of Hebrews wrote, “let us lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely.” (Hebrews 12:1) In order to let go of sin, we must confess it, renounce it, and go to the cross, where our faithful High Priest can intercede for us. When we do go to the “throne of grace,” we can be sure to find the mercy and grace that we need.

Often, we are tempted to hide from God when we are confronted with our sin. We know that God is holy and we are far from it and so running from God seems like a welcome solution. Yes, it can be painful to confess and confront our sin, but in the end it is oh so worth it. What Christian doesn’t want to experience victory over sin? We all do and it must start with confession and repentance. Often in my prayers I will ask the Lord to show me my sin. This is a dangerous and sometimes painful prayer because God always seems to answer it, but what a joy it is to go to the throne of grace and receive the Master’s cleansing forgiveness.

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