5 truths about Biblical confession
This isn’t a topic most of us want to discuss, right? At least, not our own confession practices. We might be OK with identifying why someone else need confess.
We need to talk about it, though. We need to dig deep into what confession truly is and why it matters in the life of a believer. We need to be uncomfortable, aware of our need. But we also need to be faithful, sure of God’s promise to forgive.
“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 CSB
The Word of God assures us of his forgiveness when we come before him, earnestly and with true repentance. Because of this promise, we can be confident as we confess the failings and sin in our lives.
Perhaps, though, you aren’t really sure what true confession is. Here are five truths to help you understand is and is not.
First, confession is, at its core, our agreement with God that what he says is sin really is sin. When we confess, we are doing more than saying, “I’m sorry.” Rather, we are saying, “Lord, I’ve sinned. I’ve done what you have declared wrong, and I know your words are true.”
Second, confession is acknowledging we need what only God can give. We can’t cleanse ourselves. We can’t pardon our own sin. We can’t renew or restore what sin has broken – but God can. And when we come to him in confession, we are also inviting him to do the work in us only he can do.
Third, confession is always a heart issue. So often, the reason we avoid confession is because we are focused on ourselves. Our call as believers, however, is to be focused on the Lord and his desires. Confession is a powerful way of redirecting our focus to where it ought to be, on the Lord.
Fourth, confession is the necessary precursor to joy. In Psalm 51:12, David begs God to restore the joy of his salvation. But before that, David had confessed his sin and acknowledged that only God could cleanse and renew him.
Finally, confession is not about letting God know about our sin; he already does. Rather, confession is an opportunity to view our sin the way God sees it. When we confess and agree with God about the sin in our lives, we are making a choice to align ourselves with him and with his purpose for us.
The bottom line is this: sin will always separate us, both from God and from one another. Confession is the bridge that enables our relationships with the Lord and other people to be restored and renewed.
I urge you to read David’s psalm of confession, Psalm 51. HIs urgent desire to be reconciled to God after his affair with Bathsheba is an excellent example of what true confession before God looks like.