WHAT DO WE CONFESS?
What we have done wrong. “When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned” (Lev. 5:5). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). When my kids managed to moan, “I’m sorry,” I would always ask, “For what? Name it!”
WHAT IF WE DON’T CONFESS OUR SIN?
God’s conviction and discipline will get stronger. David wrote “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1,2). The opposite is true for the person who does not forsake his sin. He is living under judgment and His sin is inviting God’s disfavor. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
WHO SHOULD CONFESS?
First, those who are guilty. “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River” (Matthew 3:6). Because they confessed their sins, they were forgiven. The Pharisees came to criticize, not to confess. They defended their innocence by virtue of their heritage, and John spoke a strong warning to them of the judgment of God. Second, those who identify with the guilty. “They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers” (Nehemiah 9:2).
WHAT DOES FORGIVENESS MEAN?
That the Lord does not count our sins against us. He treats us as if we have never sinned. We receive what we don’t deserve, and we don’t receive what we do deserve.
WHAT IS THE BASIS OF OUR FORGIVENESS?
The character of God and the work of the cross. David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1). When we sin against another person, we are also sinning against the Lord, the lawgiver and the standard of righteousness.
WHAT ABOUT CORPORATE CONFESSION?
Powerful! “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you…praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their fathers” (I Kings 8:33-34).
WHAT LEADS TO CONFESSION?
Conviction. David wrote “When I kept silent [about sin], my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:3-5). David also said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3). Guilt is a thermometer. It doesn’t deal with our sin, but it tells us that something is wrong and needs to be dealt with. Conviction leads to confession, bringing forgiveness and blessing!