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The Necessity Of Confession

3 Mins read

When we confess our sins to God, we acknowledge that we have broken His laws, that we have failed to do His will, that we have hurt or offended Him or others, and that we did not always think, respond, or speak the way He wanted us to. We also acknowledge that at times we have left undone things we should have done and left unspoken things we should have said. And we acknowledge that on too many occasions we have lived according to the flesh and failed to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

When we confess our sins to God, we obviously do not tell God something He doesn’t already know. God knows all our failures, transgressions, and sins far better than we do. However, when we confess those failures and sins to Him, we agree with Him that we have failed to be the kind of people He wants us to be. We also acknowledge that there may well be other sins in our lives which we are not even aware of.

When we pray, we must not only confess sinful deeds but also any sinful thoughts, words, or attitudes we might have. We must also confess anything in our lives that brings dishonour to the name of Christ or harm to His cause. And we must confess the times that we have hurt or wounded others through our words, actions, or attitudes.

The list of possible sins is very, very long: pride, arrogance, selfishness, lust, greed, racial prejudice, lying, hatred, impurity, injustice, lack of love for others, an unforgiving spirit, indifference to the needs of the poor, excessive love of things, a lack of concern for those who are spiritually lost, insensitivity to the feelings of others, disobedience to those in authority, and so many other things.

When we confess our sins before God, we must make sure that we humbly and honestly confess specific sins by name. It is not enough simply to confess that we are sinners. We must humbly acknowledge each sin that we can think of and bring it before the Lord in sincerity and repentance.

Repentance is very significant. It is of little value to confess our sins if we are not genuinely sorry for them. And it is of little value to be sorry for our sins if we do not earnestly desire and intend, with God’s help, to overcome temptation and sin in the future.

We know, of course, that we will have to fight against sin and temptation as long as we live. However, we also know that God promises to help us win a victory over temptation so that we may live a life that increasingly honours and glorifies Him (1 John 3:6, 9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

We should therefore never be satisfied simply to confess our sins, but our confession of past sins should also lead us to seek to overcome our weaknesses and to serve God more faithfully in the future.

God graciously enables us to do His will when we truly seek to serve Jesus as our Lord and joyfully submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-15; Galatians 5:16). However, we must also recognize that even our best efforts fail to meet God’s absolute requirement of perfect love and obedience.

That’s why we must continue to pray daily as Jesus taught us: “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:12-13).

Additional Scripture References

“None is righteous, no not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” Psalm 51:4

“Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy. Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.” Psalm 143:1-2

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