As Christians, we know we are to confess our sin. However, how we define confessing our sin and what the Bible means by confessing our sin may not agree.
Our definition of confession means to agree or admit something. Television shows like Law and Order play out the scene in the courtroom. The tension builds as the attorney grills the person on the stand. “Were you with the victim the night of the murder? Is this your knife that was used in the crime? Did, in fact, you no longer loved your wife? As the person on the stand becomes more emotional and sweat forms on his forehead, the District Attorney points to him and says, “Sir, did you kill your wife?” The man on the stand burst into tears and confesses “yes, yes I killed her.” I confess.
When we confess our sin, we are acknowledging to God that we committed a particular sin. We have the promise of 1 John 1:9 that God forgives our sin when we confess the sin.
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
Now here is the lie, what if nothing changes? What if after confessing that sin, I continue to repeat that sin again and again?
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For many of us, we could confess our sin this way. “Father, please forgive my sin. I know it was wrong and I ask your forgiveness. Since we are on the topic can I go ahead and confess the sin for tomorrow as well since there is a good chance it is going to happen again?”
Often times we live in a circle of committing sin and confessing sin, and then the next day doing it all again, and then again and again. Is that the way God intends us to live? Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and break the power over sin. Jesus said,
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36
So how do we break the confession circle and free ourselves from this lie?
The Bible has a deeper meaning for confession than just acknowledging our sin. Confessing means to, “say the same things as.”
In other words, when I confess my sin, I agree with God about the sin. I take His attitude and view of the sin. When I confess my sin, I agree with God that it was wrong and that it separates me from His presence. Since God hates sin, I hate that sin. Since God was willing to send His Son Jesus to die on the cross for that sin, then I do whatever is necessary to deal with that sin as well.
When I confess my sin but continue in my sin, I make a mockery of Christ’s death on the cross that freed me from that sin.
Repentance is a word you rarely hear anymore. It conjures up a picture of an old preacher on the street corner with a sign that reads “Turn or Burn.” He points a bony finger at everyone who passes and cried “Repent!”
However, repent is a very Biblical term. It’s a very New Testament term. In Revelation chapter 2 & 3 Jesus addresses seven churches. Of those seven churches, He tells five of them to repent.
Repent means to turn and go the other way. It requires a change in thinking and action.
In the movie Fireproof, Caleb Holt, played by Kirk Cameron struggles with an addiction to internet pornography. In a dramatic scene, Caleb has had enough. He knows he needs to change, so he grabs his computer throws it outside and begins hammering away at it with a baseball bat. Now that is repentance! A change of heart and action.
If we are not careful, we may substitute confessing our sin with repenting of our sin.
My fear for Christians today is that we are willing to confess our sins to God, but unwilling to take a baseball bat to them. We feel sorry for our sin, but we don’t repent.
Confession is the first step in dealing with our sin, but it must be followed by repentance – a change in action. It’s good to feel sorry for our sin, but even better is to leave that sin behind and turn away from it.
Repentance is not only turning away from my sin but turning back to God.
Imagine you are walking with God. Where He goes you go. You walked together until that temptation came along. You turned away from God to follow after the temptation which resulted in sin.
As a Christian, our sin was a choice. We chose our sin, over our relationship with God. As we turn away from our sin, we must turn back to God and make our walk with Him the priority of our life.
When we confess our sin but don’t repent, we shortchange our relationship with God. We expect God to continue to forgive our sin and ignore the freedom Christ has provided.
God has called us to be a holy people before Him. If we are to walk in all God has for us, we must walk in fellowship with Him. As we confess and repent, God keeps us close to His side, ready for His use.
Have you believed this lie? Have you been willing to confess your sin, but not turn from it? I’d love to hear your experience, leave a comment below.