Showing posts with label confession of sin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label confession of sin. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Great Grace: What About the Confession of Sin?

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 NKJV

We've been in an ongoing study detailing the great Grace of Almighty God. We have seen His Grace is greater than our failures. His great Grace has freed us from the observance of Old Covenant rituals and brings us out of performance rooted religion and has forever forgiven us of our sin. Today, I want to continue looking at our forever forgiveness in Christ.

 Now you may be saying, brother, we have heard all this from you before. We read about His Grace, our forgiveness in Christ, our righteousness, and our eternally secure salvation constantly on your posts. Got anything new? Let God's Word respond to this objection.
 Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it Hebrews 2:1 NRSV
We must consistently feed on the truth of God's Grace and His work in our lives less at anytime we lose sight of Grace and revert back to self-efforts and performance. That is why we share these marvelous truths of our perfect redemption Grace purchased for us.

 In our last study, we began detailing our forgiveness in Him. We also looked at the religious checklist that men created to deal with personal sin. To sum it up, it is basically when we sin, there is a penalty or punishment coming to us. God can't fellowship with us until we repent, (defined as to turn around, to cease the action), and confess the sin. 

 Now, this "punishment" differs depending upon what denominational background you have. Usually, it centers around God not answering your prayers. Or that you're temporarily unable to access a portion of His favor or receive any blessing in your life. In Charismatic/Faith circles it could mean God won't bring you financial prosperity or you won't receive your healing. 

 What they can't grasp is the two-fold issue this view creates. First, it discounts the perfect price Jesus paid for our sins, see here. This means Jesus already paid for all sins. He already bore the punishment for sins in His body on the tree. He paid the price once for all time;
12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, Hebrews 10:12 NASB
We shouldn't let religion dishonor and discount the once-for-all all perfect sacrifice Christ paid for our sins by accepting some man-made guilt concept where we also must pay for our sins. Holding to a concept where we must also receive some form of punishment for our sins is, in reality, saying God isn't satisfied with Christ's once for all sacrifice for sins.

Second, it places the burden of receiving answers to prayer, favor, any blessing or healing upon our perfect performance, conduct, and actions. In essence, we orchestrate our own healing or redemption. If we could actually do this, why do we even need Jesus or His Finished Work? (For the religious and foolish-minded, certainly, sin carries natural consequences and makes for a miserable and fruitless way to live.)

Confession of sin, is it for the Believer?

Now that we addressed the "punishment" aspect of sin, let's address the confession of sin. What about the confession of sins in order to be forgiven of sin? Is it His blood or our apologies that bring forgiveness?

 Imagine if you will, a newly converted believer living in an oppressive nation where Christianity is outlawed. Imagine a nation known for persecuting Christians. Now, what if this new believer were only given sections, one at a time of the New Testament? Over the period of let's say a year, he received the four gospels, Acts, all of Paul's Epistles to include the Book of Hebrews, Peter's two Epistles, and James and Jude. He had not yet received John's Epistle or the Book of Revelation. Would this new believer then find a passage instructing him to confess his sins in order to receive forgiveness?

 The answer is a resounding no! This makes the hairs on the back of our necks stand up. We get a sense of astonishment and then a strong sense of concern. This is borderline heresy in most circles. This is downright blasphemy to some. 

 Confession of sins is a practice we see in the Old Covenant. See here and here and here. Yet these confessions weren't what brought forgiveness, it was the sacrifices they had offered to the Priests. In essence, what we see occurring in these instances were people simply acknowledging their misdeeds, and failures, and sins. 

 It is the same in this New Covenant. It isn't our apologies that bring forgiveness it is only perfect shed blood that purchases forgiveness of sins. 
22 In fact we can say that under the old agreement almost everything was cleansed by sprinkling it with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22 TLB
So confession of sins, is it for the Believer? That depends on your understanding of confession of sin. Do we confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness? No, this confession is not for the Believer. However, if you define confession of sins in the sense of acknowledging our failure or misdeeds, and simply agreeing with what God said about them then that is acceptable for the Believer.

 Heresy, false teaching! Some may be crying out. Hold it now. What did Paul say that confirmed Jesus' own words? He said in the mouth of two or three witnesses will something be established, here. Now in this New Covenant can you find two or three places where the Word instructs us to confess our sins, in order to receive forgiveness of our sins? The answer is a resounding no. 

 The problem is we have this stronghold in our minds involving 1 John 1:9. It is not that the Word is wrong and is a stronghold but the religious misapplication of this passage is. John was teaching the Church about the Gnostics that had infiltrated the Church and denied that sin existed. If sin doesn't exist then what need is there for a Savior? John is evangelically speaking here and telling them to acknowledge their sin and agree with what God says about their deeds (they were indeed sinful) and that He offers once for all forgiveness through Jesus shed blood. 

 Yet religious tradition resists this interpretation. They insist this passage is for the Christian just in case they sin after conversion. You see what the results of denying and discounting future sins being forgiven are? Before salvation, all your sins were dealt with by the Blood of Jesus at Calvary. After conversion, the forgiveness of your sins are left up to you to ensure you confess each and every one of them or you will find yourself having unforgiven sin on your "spiritual account". 

 There is a major concern this type of teaching seemingly ignores. It goes back to their man-made checklist. They redefined the punishment for sin. Recall, it was unanswered prayer, and God breaking fellowship with you. Problem is that is man's definition of the punishment of sin. It isn't God's. The wages of sin is one thing and one thing only. Spiritual death. 

This means if our future sins aren't already forgiven by the shed blood, then when we sin we must then be partaking of spiritual death over and over again until we confess our sins. What if we forget to confess? Well, don't fret religion created a loophole. They say well the Blood covers you until you confess it. So wait, is the sin forgiven or not? Oh, it is just covered? Wait, isn't that how God dealt with sin in the Old? What this proves is tradition lacks serious understanding of the New Covenant. 

 They go through these mental gymnastics and blending portions of the Old and New together in order to combat what they see as a concept that gives people a "license to sin". If future sins are already forgiven and there is no need to confess in order to receive forgiveness then what is stopping us from pursuing lust? 

 So they created this concoction of Old and New Covenant style redemption. Where we are forgiven in installments. Where after conversion, God's method of forgiveness shifts away from the once for all sacrifice of Jesus perfect shed blood to our up to date apologies. 

 What some religious folk fails to grasp is that the use of 1 John 1:9 has become a ritualistic "bar of soap", for some cleaning them up when we fail. This can become a "license" for some. Some in religious circles realize this. This is when it gets real harsh. They begin espousing teachings that even if you confess your sins it is potentially possible that forgiveness will allude you because you may not be sincerely remorseful. Or they say you may be sinning the same sin once too often. Confessing that sin you habitually engage in, runs the risk of you breaking the "Grace limit" and thus God choosing not to forgive you. 

 Some religious leaders set themselves up as God's spiritual accountants doling out His forgiveness as they seem fit. Often times this forgiveness is withheld because the sincerity of your sorrow, regret, and penitent attitude for your sin comes into question. They will finally bestow this forgiveness upon a believer when in their eyes they have satisfactorily shown sincere regret and remorsefulness for their sins and transgression. 

These concepts are pure rubbish and need to be tossed aside in the waste bin! These ideas are a disregard of the Finished Work and New Covenant. Confession of sins? If we understand we don't confess sins in order to be forgiven, but simply as an acknowledgment of our misdeeds, there isn't an issue. In fact, it is good and healthy to come to God when we miss it. Concealment only feeds the problem. Exposing our whole life to Christ is what brings freedom. The truth is it also reveals to us just how much He loves us. He sees and knows of all our flaws and faults and habits and addictions and still sees as holy, righteous and eternally saved and secure. Remember His word;

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Hebrews 10:18 NLT
When we realize we are forever forgiven we can walk with God our Father, honoring the great and wonderful sacrifice of Jesus. We honor and revere that precious shed blood. It isn't our apologies, our commitments to fulfill spiritual disciplines or our promises to do better in the future that bring us righteousness, forgiveness and eternal redemption. It is only His precious shed blood. 

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.