Lesson Five: Confessing Our Sin
Once we have seen ourselves as true sinners, there is a deep sorrow or mourning for what we have done before God. From this godly sorrow comes the next step in true repentance-confession or acknowledgment of our rebellion.
We we begin to feel true repentance, we have no other choice but to confess it before God. Another way of putting this is to "accuse ourselves". It is like God is an angry Father who has turned His face from us. Until we acknowledge our offense, there can be no reconciliation or forgiveness.
I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense.(Hosea 5:15)
When we confess our sin to God, we admit that we are rebellious, prideful and angry about God's holy ways and Law. We admit that we deserve to be punished. We are like criminials who finally turn ourselves in and sign a confession of our guilt. It is so important for us to do this, for if we don't, the Bible says that Satan is willing to do it for us!(Revelation 12:10)
For if we judge ourselves, we would not be judged.(1 Corinthians 11:31)
Returning yet once again to the idea of counterfeit repentance, let's look at five things that will make sure our confession is real and not just a fake.
1. Confession must be voluntary.
If our confession is to be genuine and lead us to repentance, it has to come freely from our own conscience. It cannot be forced by a parent, pastor or friend. Only the Spirit of God Himself can prompt us to confess our sins. If you remember the story of the Prodigal Son, the son first judged himself before the father ever had a chance to rebuke him.
2. Confession must be sincere.
Our hearts must agree with our mouths that we are sinners. If we just use lip service and don't really mean what we are saying, we are only fooling ourselves and falling into the trap of false confession. In other words, if you say with your mouth that you hate sin but your heart still really loves it, don't waste your time. God knows you are lying.
3. Confession must be specific.
True confession does not generalize sin. Someone who has not truly repented will ask forgiveness for sin, but will never actually name the sins he has committed. They dare not reveal the secret sin they hope to keep in their hearts. True confession is like a wounded man who goes to the doctor and shows him exactly where he is hurt.
4. Confession must clear God of all blame.
We have a tendency as human beings to blame God for our sin, or to resent Him because He judges us for it. True confession, however, admits that is is we who are wrong and we are to blame, not God. If we are honest with ourselves, God is to praised for allowing us to continue in sin so long without striking us down in anger.
5. Confession must strive not to sin again.
It is not true confession if we ask God to forgive us in one breath and then return to our sin in the next. True, we are fallen and will continue to sin until Christ returns, but we must strive to fight against our sin and ask God to change us day by day. It is wrong of us to ask God to forgive us for a certain sin and then go right out and commit that sin again.
In the next lesson we will look at three things that true confession will bring into our lives.