When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. (Psalm 32:3-5)
If you’ve watched a lot of crime shows (like I have) the word confession is not very pleasant. In fact the goal of every detective in an interrogation is to get a confession out of the guilty party. Now obviously there is no need for the innocent to confess. But the problem is, is there anyone who is NOT guilty?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17)
So, we’ve all sinned, and we’re all sick—and that is we need to confess if we want to be healed by Jesus.
There are four parts to a heartfelt and Biblical confession:
- Agree with God you’re a sinner
- Acknowledge that God KNOWS you’re a sinner
- Admit your guilt (and be specific)
- Repent (change your mind, then change your direction—turn away from your sins and return to God.)
I was surprised at the different translations of the word confess in Hebrew, but they are consistent with the joy one receives from confession, and glory given to God. Most often the word is translated as thanksgiving or praise.
So what happens when you confess?
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! (Psalm 32:1-2)
But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. (1 John 1:9)
Confession is not about the weight of penance or guilt. It’s about the joy of being forgiven by a loving God.