Have you ever said or done something you knew was wrong and you felt just miserable? But you finally acknowledged your ‘sin’ and your whole being was flooded with peace and joy? I don’t know about you, but when I have something on my heart and mind that I know is not right, I find it hard to pray.
In Isaiah 59:1-2 we read, “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear your call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.”
Are you having a hard time praying? Ask the LORD to show you if in some way you have resisted the Holy Spirit or quenched Him in some way. I can assure you He will let you know — and then you need to deal with it. Confession of sin is essential if we expect to have a robust prayer life and intimacy with our Heavenly Father. The Greek word for ‘confession’ means “to say the same thing, to admit or declare oneself guilty of what one is accused of.”
In Psalm 32:5 David said, “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord! And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone’.” Do you sense David’s relief, appreciation, and joy over God’s forgiveness? It is powerful.
When I confess my sin to God, I am agreeing with Him. I am looking at my sin from His perspective as to its seriousness and deserved consequences. It is so easy to look at my wrongdoings from the mindset of man rather than God and try to cover it up like Adam and Eve did when they disobeyed God in Eden.
Sometimes we are just sorry we failed or got caught but not truly sorry for the offense. God knows our hearts and minds. He knows whether our confession is genuine or explicit. If it doesn’t meet God’s litmus test, it will not be heard by our Heavenly Father.
Here is a powerful promise when our confession is authentic —
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I should point out here that John seems to be calling us to confess specific sins we have committed. If our worship is to be God-honoring, we need to come before Him like Isaiah, in Chapter 6, when he had the encounter of God’s holiness as he went to the temple — “Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips and I live among a people of filthy lips. Yet, I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies’.” (vs. 5 NLT) Moments later, he experienced a glorious cleansing. As you read Isaiah’s confession, did you sense how deep it went? He was experiencing anguish and contrition.
I want to close this meditation by the thinking and insight of J. Oswald Sanders on “Confession of sin.” He says, our confession corresponds with three kinds of sin:
1. Secret Confession. When the sin is against God alone, then the confession should be to God alone. I think we know when we have sinned against God, we will know no peace until we go to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.
2. Private Confession. Some sins are against people as well as God. When that is the case, we need to make every attempt possible to be reconciled to the offended person. In Matthew 5:23 Jesus said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
3. Public Confession. The matter of public confession is when the sin was open for others to see and feel.
Dr. Sanders says, “When the sin is public” against some group or church — the confession should be as public as was the sin.” Some sins impact the fellowship of many in the church. In cases like this, the offender should acknowledge his/her sin. The church can extend forgiveness and the fellowship between the offender and the body of Christ can be renewed. This kind of confession can be a deterrent to the sin being repeated.
Someone offered the following prayer –
“Most gracious, all-mighty God, full of lovingkindness and longsuffering, we confess to Thee with our whole heart our neglect and forgetfulness of Thy commandments, our wrongdoing, and speaking, and thinking; the hurts we have done to others, and the good we have left undone.
O LORD, blot out the transgressions that are against us for Thy goodness and Thy glory, and for the sake of Thy Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
For His Glory,