Confession of Sin 1 Jn. 1:9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Today’s message is on confession of sin. What is confession? Confession is admission, acknowledgement [as in the acknowledgement and confession of sin – Ps 32:5; and the acknowledgement of the truth – 2 Tim 2:25]; to confess is to concede [to admit as true], to attest [as in confessing Christ – Rom 10:9-10; Lk 12:8].
So, what is confession of sin?
First, confession is an acknowledgment of the truth of God’s word – 2 Tim 2:25 – an acknowledgment that what you have done is “sin” by the definition of God’s word – there are generally many more things that are called sin in the Bible than we are willing to admit that we do – it is the nature of man to justify himself [Lk 16:15; 18:11-12] and to transfer the blame when he is caught [Gen 3:12-13] – in acknowledging the truth you recognize that the root of your problem is sin and you look in the Bible to find what that sin is that is causing the problem in your life – when you find it you can exclaim, “Okay, there it is; that’s ‘my’ problem.”
Second, confession is an admission that you have violated God’s word – Ps 32:5; Ps 51:3-4 – you admit not only that you have transgressed the law of God in the sin you committed but that you are a transgressor of the law – in other words, you admit your sin is not just what you did but it’s who you are – if a man just confesses that he lied in the particular instance in which he was caught, he will lie again in another instance [when he thinks he can get away with it or when he thinks he is justified] because he regards his lie as something a good man did once or that good men do from time to time – if he confesses that he lied because he is a liar, he will recognize that he is not a good man and he will see the many instances in which he has lied [though he was not caught or though he thought he was justified] and he will repent of being a liar and turn from this sin – he will choose not to lie again in any other circumstance – this is the benefit of real confession – we’re not just absolving ourselves of something we have done and intend to do again but we are agreeing with God that we are wrong and he is right and we repent – in real confession there is the intention to forsake this sin in our lives [Prov 28:13].
Third, if your sin involved a transgression against another then confess it to that person or if it involved a transgression against an ordinance of man confess it to that authority – admit that you were wrong or that you are guilty.
Confession of sin is not public confession or confession to a priest or an accountability group – confessing in a confessional is confessing to a man and not to God; it’s confessing to a man who cannot forgive – even the Pharisees said, “who can forgive sins but God only” [Mk 2:7] – I know that there is a feeling of release associated with open confession – that’s why this kind of thing became popular with the purpose-driven movement – but confession is supposed to be to God, not to men [1 Jn 1:7-9] – the confessional contributes to a great hypocrisy because in the confessional you say one thing privately and then you do another thing publicly and in public confession you confess one thing openly and do another thing privately.
Conclusion: unless you are willing to admit your sin you will never get down to the root of your trouble – see your sin in the Bible, confess it and then forsake it.