Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Understanding Grace: Confession of sin

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 Grow in grace. To grow in this wonderful free gift we need to understand grace. God's Word teaches us from old in all our getting, get understanding. With that admonition we have been studying on understanding grace over the last few posts. 

 I want to continue in furthering our understanding of grace by going deeper into the reality of our perfect forgiveness. In doing so we will also address another mistaken idea about sin and confession. 

 When grace and complete forgiveness is mentioned inevitably the concept of confession of sin in order to be forgiven is brought up. Before we address the confession of sin, lets again set the foundation that we are completely forgiven.
11Yet every day priests still serve, ritually offering the same sacrifices again and again— sacrifices that can never take away sins’ guilt. 12But when this Priest had offered the one supreme sacrifice for sins for all time he sat down on a throne at the right hand of God, 13waiting until all his whispering enemies are subdued and turn into his footstool. 14And by his one perfect sacrifice he made us perfectly holy and complete for all time! Hebrews 10:11-14 Passion Translation

 Jesus offered a once for all time sacrifice for all sin. We who receive this free gift are completely forgiven and made perfectly holy and complete for all time. Are we complete only until we mess up? Are we holy only until we slip up or sin? Here is some gospel good news, your actions or sins can't undo His holiness within you.

 Allow me to illustrate how forgiven we are. When I was a young man, my mother and I went to a parade. For a short time we were on the street level. We could only see a few floats to the left or right of us. Then we heard a building was open allowing people access to the roof. From the rooftop we had a complete view of the parade from start to finish. Friends, that's how God sees our life when we come to Him. He sees our life from our first breath to our last. He cleanses us with His blood and declares, forgiven!

 Now what about confessing our sins and faults and misdeeds to be forgiven? Does grace mean we never confess our sin? What about unconfessed sin? Allow me to dispel a mistaken idea and fully address the concept of confess in order to be forgiven.

The only sin that can't be forgiven is unconfessed sin?

 In traditional circles of the Body of Christ many believe we are only forgiven of our past sins. They actively promote this view in their messages or periodicals.  They cling to a concept, that all your sin, only up to the point of conversion is forgiven. For any future failures or sins you must confess each and every one of them in order to receive forgiveness for those specific misdeeds. 

 If you fail to confess these transgressions then you are living with "unconfessed" sin. When you have "unconfessed" sin within, you're opening your life for all forms of cursing and disruption and calamity to overtake you. Did you have a long bout of flu symptoms? You more than likely had some sin you hadn't confessed. 

 This is not the good news. This is not the Bible. This is religion and tradition attempting to pinpoint why something bad occurred. Tradition is teaching that because you didn't confess your sin, then it is not forgiven. If it is not forgiven then you open yourself to calamity, because sin carries a penalty. 

 So does confession forgive us? Does confessing our sin actually cause God to then forgive us? Many say yes. If this is so then God's forgiveness is an installment plan.

 What about 1 John? Glad you brought it up. 
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth 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
Allow me to bring up another verse.
22 ... For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22b
 So which is it? Confession is what brings forgiveness or does the Blood of Jesus brings forgiveness? The Word of God never contradicts itself. I believe the blood is what purchased our forgiveness. It is not the blood that began the forgiveness and our confession that completes it or solidifies it. So what is the purpose of confession?

 This passage in 1 John is an evangelistic principle to the particular person who denies sin exists. It is not addressing believers. It teaches the lost one to acknowledge their sin actually exists and separates them from fellowship with God. It teaches them that when you receive the free gift you will be completely cleansed and made perfectly holy and righteous. Because all scripture is profitable we as a believer can see a principle here for us. 

 We don't confess our sins to be forgiven. Also, understand continually confessing our misdeeds and faults creates a failure mentality. Grace teaches us that when we acknowledge all we have in Christ we grow and experience victory. However, there is a principal of confession to find healing and recovery, (James 5). 
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13

 This is an Old Covenant statement however, there is a truth we can extrapolate from it. We shouldn't conceal our wrongs. The enemy loves darkness. When you are struggling with a habit or sin it is so freeing to find a trusted brother or sister in the Lord and confess this issue. To get it out in the light and see the darkness flee and lose its hold upon you. This is the confession of sin for the New Covenant believer. We allow the light to expose and heal our hearts. Let me say it another way.

 When the Spirit convicts us of our righteousness when we miss it, He is showing us who we already are, our true identity. This is when true repentance occurs. We change our minds about our actions. We confess or say the same thing as God does. We simply agree with God. We agree this action isn't profitable and not who we really are. That is all confession is for the believer. It is agreeing with God. We don't confess our sin to be forgiven. We are already forgiven. This is the good news. Rest knowing you are freely and completely forgiven. 

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