Search Results: what is confession
The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
It is one of the most dangerous diseases of professors, and one of the greatest scandals of this age, that persons taken for eminently religious are more impatient of plain, though just, reproof than many a drunkard, swearer, or fornicator; and when they have spent hours or days in the seeming earnest confession of their sin, and lament before God and man that they cannot do it with more grief and tears, yet they take it for a heinous injury in another that will say half so much against them, and take him for a malignant enemy of the godly who will call them as they call themselves.
For the development of a meaningful prayer life falters not so much because of a lack of zeal as because of a lack of strategy. The simple acronym “ACTS” may prove to be as helpful as any. “A” stands for adoration, “C” for confession, “T” for thanksgiving, and “S” for supplication.
A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins, everything remains in the clear, but in the presence of a brother, the sin has to be brought into the light.
Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjack’s wares. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.
In vain will ye fast, and pretend to be humbled for our sins, and make confession of them if our love of sin be not turned into hatred; our liking of it into loathing; and our cleaving to it, into a longing to be rid of it; with full purpose to resist the motions of it in our heart, and the outbreakings thereof in our life; and if we turn not unto God as our rightful Lord and Master, and return to our duty again.
Body to the soul: “O my soul, have we got together again after so long a separation? Have you come back to your old habitation, never more to leave? O joyful meeting! How unlike our present state is to what our condition was, when a separation was made between us at death! Now is our mourning turned into joy. The light and gladness sown before are now sprung up. Blessed be the day in which I was united to you, Soul, whose chief care was to get ‘Christ in us the hope of glory,’ and to make me a temple for his Holy Spirit. O blessed Soul, which in the time of our pilgrimage kept your eye to the land then afar off, but now near at hand! You took me into secret places, and there made me to bow these knees before the Lord, that I might bear a part in our humiliation before Him. And now is the time that I am lifted up. You employed this tongue in confessions, petitions and thanksgivings, which now on shall be employed in praising forevermore. You made these sometimes weeping eyes sow that seed of tears, now sprung up in joy that shall never end. I was happily beaten down by you and kept in subjection, while others pampered their flesh and made their bellies their gods, to their own destruction. But now I gloriously arise, to take my place in the mansions of glory, while they are dragged out of their graves to be cast into fiery flames. Now, my Soul, you shall complain no more of a sick and painful body, you shall be no more clogged up with weak and weary flesh. I shall now keep pace with you in the praises of our God forevermore.”
Modern Christians, especially those in the Western world, have generally been found wanting in the area of holiness of body. Gluttony and laziness, for example, were regarded by earlier Christians as sin. Today we may look on these as weaknesses of the will but certainly not sin. We even joke about our overeating and other indulgences instead of crying out to God in confession and repentance.
There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing, but the creed is there either expressed or implied.
Just as the angel’s announcement to Joseph declared Jesus’ primary purpose to be to save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21), so the first announcement of the kingdom (delivered by John the Baptist) is associated with repentance and confession of sin (Mt. 3:6).
No man ought to flatter and deceive himself in deferring his conversion by alleging the example of the penitent thief, saved even at the last hour upon the cross, and carried to Paradise that same day with Christ, for this act was a special miracle, reserved for the manifestation of Christ’s power and glory at that hour upon the cross; and, besides, this act was upon a most rare confession made by the thief at that instant when almost all the world forsook Christ.
Remorse for sin does have a place in the Christian life, but we should be very sure what function it serves. Guilt should drive us to the cross, but grace must lead us from it. Guilt makes us seek Christ, but gratitude should make us serve Him. Guilt should lead to confession, but without a response of love as the motive of renewed obedience, true repentance never matures.
The Power of Mercy by Bryan Chapell taken from Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell, copyright 2001, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 192.
Biblical church discipline is simple obedience to God and a simple confession that we need help. We cannot live the Christian life alone. Our purpose in church discipline is positive for the individual disciplined, for other Christians as they see the real danger of sin, for the health of the church as a whole, and for the corporate witness of the church to those outside. Most of all, our holiness is to reflect the holiness of God. It should mean something to be a member of the church, not for our pride’s sake but for God’s name’s sake. Biblical church discipline is a mark of a healthy church.
Confession by itself is not repentance. Confession moves the lips; repentance moves the heart. Naming an act as evil before God is not the same as leaving it. Though your confession may be honest and emotional, it is not enough unless it expresses a true change of heart.
Confession means to agree with God on His assessment of our actions and thoughts, and to name our sin to God.
Consider the implications of adding the work of confession for ongoing forgiveness… If something more is required for forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness (a state required for heaven), then the believer is in a dilemma. What if he fails to confess some sins? What if he fails to confess one sin? Is he unforgiven and not cleansed from all unrighteousness? This is not what propitiation and the continual immediate cleansing from sin by the blood assert. Must we add to what God has so completely accomplished? Isn’t Christ’s death and the application of His blood enough? Doesn’t this additional requirement diminish the cross by making my naming of a sin, each sin, a prerequisite to forgiveness?
If [1 John 1:9] is a call to immediate confession of every sin we are in trouble:
1. We are in a logistical dilemma. We cannot remember every sin. If our forgiveness depends on this, we are in serious trouble. For this reason, most advocates of this theology say that the confession we are to do is to be for every known sin. But that is an accommodation to the text. It does not say that. Actually, no Christian has confessed every known sin either.
2. We are in a theological dilemma. We have a Catholic theology of sorts. That is, if forgiveness is dependent on our ongoing confession, then what if we die with unconfessed sins? Does this view of confession of every sin being essential for forgiveness and total cleansing mean that our sins are not separated from us like the east is from the west? Does it mean we are not forgiven? Does it mean we are not cleansed from all unrighteousness? In other words, does it mean that the work of Christ on our behalf is ineffective when it comes to forgiveness and cleansing? Does it mean that we are not justified until we get to the end of life, and only then if we have confessed everything?
3. We are in an exegetical dilemma. By this I mean that we cannot reconcile the fact that the same text admits to a continual cleansing from all sins on the basis of the blood with no conditions for the believer, while also requiring the condition of detailed confession in a contiguous verse.
Confession by itself is not repentance. Confession moves the lips; repentance moves the heart. Naming an act as evil before God is not the same as leaving it. Though your confession may be honest and emotional, it is not enough unless it expresses a true change of heart. There are those who confess only for the show of it, whose so-called repentance may be theatrical but not actual.
Sometimes we say that the principle by which any action may be judged is: Can I take Christ there? There is truth in that. But it is not the whole truth. For, Paul emphasizes (1 Corinthians 6:15), we have no choice in the matter. We do take Christ there. As those who are united to Him we cannot leave Him behind. So the real question is: Can I take Christ there and look Him in the face without shame? Is this course of action, this decision I am taking, totally consistent with my personal confession that “Jesus Christ is my Lord”?
What confession of sin is NOT:
1. Informing a human priest in the confession booth.
2. Giving God information. “God, You won’t believe what I’ve done.”
3. Speculating. “IF…I have sinned…”
4. Saying “I’m sorry…” “….just a joke!”
5. Asking/pleading to God for forgiveness for our sins. Forgiveness already available in Christ’s death.
6. Plea-bargaining for a lesser charge. “Yes…but….”
7. Emotional groveling; mental contortions.
8. Psychological catharsis. “Feel good when you get it off your chest”
9. Superficial or flippant incantation. (Sin was reason for Jesus’ death).
10. “Confessionalism” – (Excessive sin-consciousness; wallowing in weakness; focusing on ‘flesh’; navel-gazing introspection; “Worm-theology”; Pride of sinfulness; back-handed basis of spirituality; exhibitionism; revel in relating sinfulness in testimony; Who was the worst?).
11. Based on false established attitudes which create false-guilt and false-confession. Some try to agree with God that something is wrong, when God never said it is sin. But, if not done in faith, it is sin. (Rom. 14:23).
1. Ceasing to deceive ourselves – 1 John 1:8.
2. Ceasing to continue the defense mechanisms of denial, avoidance, distortion, cover-up.
3. Calling sin “sin.” Calling a spade a spade!
4. To recognize, admit, acknowledge, concede and declare our guilt of sin.
5. Part of repentance. A change of mental attitude leading to changed behavioral action.
6. Inclusive of asking forgiveness for wronging another person.
7. Inclusive of restitution – Num. 5:7; Lk. 19:8
1. How often did you meet with God this week?
2. What has God been saying to you through His Word this week?
3. What sins in your personal or business life did you experience this week that need confession?
4. Are you giving to the Lord’s work regularly and proportionately as God has blessed you? What percentage did you give last month?
5. What movies did you see this past week? Do you feel good about viewing these movies? What about the Internet? Would you be able to tell your fellow Christians in your church what you have seen without being embarrassed?
6. How did you influence your marriage and family this week? How positively? How negatively? What could you do to improve?
7. Did you pray for me/us this week?
8. What challenges or struggles are weighing on your mind?
9. What lives did you influence for Christ this week?
10. Did you just lie to me?
Love will flow from one to another, when each is prepared to be known as the repentant sinner he is at the Cross of Jesus. When the barriers are down and the masks are off, God has a chance of making us really one. But there is also the added joy of knowing that in such a fellowship we are “safe.” No fear now that others may be thinking thoughts about us or having reactions toward us which they are hiding from us. In a fellowship which is committed to walk in the light beneath the Cross, we know that if there is any thought about us it will quickly be brought into the light, either in brokenness and confession (where there has been wrong and unlove), or else as a loving challenge, as something that we ought to know about ourselves.
The outward forms of revivals do, of course, differ considerable, but the inward and permanent content of them is always the same: a new experience of conviction of sin among the saints; a new vision of the cross of Jesus and of redemption; a new willingness on man’s part for brokenness, repentance, confession, and restitution; a joyful experience of the power of the blood of Jesus to cleanse fully from sin and restore and heal all that sin has lost and broken; a new entering into the fullness of the Holy Spirit and of His power to do His own work through His people; and a new gathering in of the lost ones to Jesus.
Revival is not a green valley getting greener, but a valley full of dry bones being made to live again and stand up an exceeding great army (Ezek. 37). It is not good Christians becoming better Christians – but rather Christians honestly confessing that their Christian life is a valley of dry bones and by that very confession qualifying for the grace that flows from the cross and makes all things new.
This is ever the nature of true confession of sin, true brokenness. It is the confession that my sin is not just a mistake, a slip, a something which is really foreign to my heart (“Not really like me to have such thoughts or do such things!”), but that it is something which reveals the real ‘I’; that shows me to be the proud, rotten, unclean thing God says I am; that it really is like me to have such thoughts and do such things. It was in these terms that David confessed his sin, when he prayed, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest and be clear when Thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).
Men must interpret to the best of their ability each particular part of Scripture separately, and then combine all that the Scriptures teach upon every subject into a consistent whole, and then adjust their teachings upon different subjects in mutual consistency as parts of a harmonious system. Every student of the Bible must do this, and all make it obvious that they do it by the terms they use in their prayers and religious discourse, whether they admit or deny the propriety of human creeds and confessions. If they refuse the assistance afforded by the statements of doctrine slowly elaborated and defined by the Church, they must make out their own creed by their own unaided wisdom. The real question is not, as often pretended, between the word of God and the creed of man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective body of God’s people, and the private judgment and the unassisted wisdom of the repudiator of creeds.
The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty, which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance.
There is a grave danger in ritual familiarity with holy matters, even if you are not a professional. It is all too easy to go spiritually brain-dead when the prelude begins, to “say” prayers rather than pray them, to use the cadence of a confession as a rhythmic anesthetic, to mindlessly mouth the words of great hymns and gospel songs, to nod off during the sermon, to glibly mouth evangelical creeds – and then imagine that we’re really spiritual.
Are there dangers in mutual confession [of sin]? Yes, and they are substantial. Psychologically needy persons sometimes use confession to get attention for themselves. Through the apparently spiritual medium of “confession” they can handcuff a captive audience as they relate the details of their sin with deluded or feigned contrition. Confession can also foster spiritual exhibitionism, a perverted moral pleasure in airing one’s laundry. The overly morbid can bend confession to become an excuse for unhealthy hyper-introspection. Ostensibly humble confession can also be used as a vehicle for spiritual aggression: “I want to ask your forgiveness for being bitter toward you over the years” – but what follows is not a confession, but an egregious assault… Confession turned into religious routine is deadly!
1. Confession should generally me made to an individual. There are exceptions, of course – as, for example when a sin has been against a whole group. But normally confession to all the church is not required to restore one to fellowship with the whole congregation.
2. If the sin has been against a fellow Christian, it is to that person that we must make confession (cf. Mt. 5:23-24). The rule of thumb is, the confession should not exceed the range of commission.
3. If the sin is not against a person, and if it is such that we need to confess it and gain spiritual counsel and support, we must go to a mature Christian. This cannot be stressed enough! An immature Christian should not be expected to carry such burdens. Moreover, confession to the immature may provide a temptation to gossip. Along this line, those whom we would confide in must be people of prayer.
4. The confession must be concrete, not amorphous. This is not to suggest, however, that all the lurid details be shared. One sins in confession if his recounting becomes voyeurism.
5. Confessing sins to one another is not a law, but a divinely given help and is to be practiced only as God directs.
Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God for the things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, by the help of His Spirit, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies.
We’ve watched the biblical content of services shrink beyond visibility. But doesn’t faith come by hearing the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17)? Are the spiritually dead not born again by the living and abiding Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23)? Do the people of God not grow by the pure milk of God’s Word (2:2)? Then does it not matter what we read, preach, and sing in our services, and in what quantities? Should we not be alarmed when we see self-centered sermons replace biblical exposition, repetitious choruses replace biblically rich hymnody and psalmody, token prayers replace a full-diet of biblical prayer (for example, praise, confession, thanksgiving, intercessions), and Scripture reading disappear altogether?
No one makes us afraid or leads us into captivity as we have set our faith on Jesus. For though we are beheaded, and crucified, and exposed to beasts and chains and fire and all other forms of torture, it is plain that we do not forsake the confession of our faith, but the more things of this kind which happen to us the more are there others who become believers…through the name of Jesus.
No one makes us afraid or leads us into captivity as we have set our faith on Jesus. For though we are beheaded, and crucified, and exposed to beasts and chains and fire and all other forms of torture, it is plain that we do not forsake the confession of our faith, but the more things of this kind which happen to us the more are there others who become believers and truly religious through the name of Jesus.
Reasons Why People Lack Assurance:
1. People often lack assurance because they cannot remember or point to a specific time when they received Christ. Some doubt or wonder if they were ever really saved. There is a specific point in time when salvation occurs – the point when regeneration takes place. The issue for people is to know if they now really trust in the person and work of Christ.
2. People often lack assurance because they question the procedure they went through when they accepted Christ. Many evangelists and preachers emphasize the need for some form of public confession of faith like going forward at the end of a service or raising your hand. If people receive Christ privately, they may wonder if they should have made a public confession or prayed a different prayer.
3. People often lack assurance because of struggles they have with certain sins. They wonder if a true believer would have these kinds of problems. The real problem is ignorance of man’s sinful nature, the spiritual warfare we are in, God’s means of deliverance, and the need to grow and mature in Christ.
4. The primary reason behind a lack of assurance is doctrinal misunderstanding and the consequent lack of faith in the finished work of Christ. This means a failure to understand the Word and its teaching regarding mankind, his sin and inability to work for or maintain his salvation, God’s perfect holiness, and the finished nature and sufficiency of the work of Christ.
5. Finally, people often lack assurance because they have erroneously been taught that they should look to themselves and their works as the primary proof of their salvation. This is a major issue today.
There is no purpose in having a basis or a confession of faith unless it is applied. So we must assert the element of discipline as being essential to the true life of the church. And what calls itself a church which does not believe in discipline, and does not use it and apply it, is therefore not a true church.
Therefore when I admonish you to confession I am admonishing you to be a Christian.
A full, true confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit through exposure to the written revelation, the external Scripture which He authored and accompanied by the internal heart work by which He regenerates, illuminates and sanctifies.
The aim of confession [of sin] then is not to erase consequences, it’s to restore joy. And then the consequences are what they are. Your sins have consequences. They’re rocks thrown in the pond and the ripples go and they touch every shore. But God does promise when you’ve confessed and repented that He will show you lovingkindness and compassion because you are His eternal child… Your justification is settled forever. Don’t cover your sin, confess it. That’s what true Christians do. You’ve been bathed that you need continually to have your feet washed as they get dirty walking in your fallenness. If you don’t confess, you’ll be chastened. If you do confess, you may never be able to change the consequences but because you’re God’s child He’ll come to you in compassion and lovingkindness and minister to you.
Take time each day to inform your conscience by reading God’s Word. Never train yourself to ignore your conscience, but respond quickly to its warnings. And then cleanse your conscience through consistent confession as you seek forgiveness from those you’ve sinned against – whether God or others. Those things will strengthen your conscience so that you can enjoy the freedom and blessings of a clear conscience before God.
[Saving faith is] not just believing that Jesus lived and died. Faith that saves is the confident, continuous confession of total dependence on, and trust in Jesus Christ to meet the requirements on your behalf to give you entrance into God’s Eternal Kingdom. It’s the surrender of your life in complete trust to Him to do what you cannot do.
Confession of sin should be explicit… When, in the course of the day’s engagements, our conscience witnesses against us that we have sinned, we should at once confess our guilt, claim by faith the cleansing blood of Christ, and so wash our hands in innocence.
Several factors all demonstrate with clarity and strength that baptism, as a church ordinance, must be conducted by the immersion of a believing Christian in water upon confession of his faith and evidence of his repentance for the purpose of signifying to all the world his identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
Whosoever shall confess me before men…(Matthew 10:32). The point to be settled over this verse is straightforward: Is Christ here saying that by an act of confession we become Christians or is He teaching that one indispensable mark of those who are Christians is that they live a life which openly acknowledges Him? Is not the modern evangelistic call to confess Christ by coming to the front, in order to receive Him by faith, a reversal of the New Testament order? To confess Christ is the spiritual duty of a Christian. It is no part of the gospel to say that compliance with certain outward duties will help us to become Christians. Yet the whole invitation system inevitably gives the impression that “confessing Christ” by moving forward is in order to conversion.
The Scriptures play a major role in this abiding process. As one lives out an ordinary day, meditating upon the Word and the Lord, seeking to bring every thought into captivity to Christ, filtering every experience through the Word, the Spirit has free reign in the heart and communion with the Lord is vibrant. There will be struggles to maintain this unbroken communion; but, when there are failures, communion can be restored through confession and appropriation of the promises of God.
Let’s confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. No one grows in isolation. We grow in safe community. Sadly, such an experience is rare in our churches. It should be common among us gospel people. It should be our lifestyle. We should be obvious, even scandalous, as friends of sinners. But so often, someone must break the ice. I see no revival in our future without a new culture of confession. Personally, I have found a good way to measure my own honesty is the level of my embarrassment. If I’m not embarrassed by my confession, I’m still holding out. But it is freeing to come clean with a brother or sister and receive the ministry of prayer (James 5:16).
In some churches, nobody admits anything. Confession would be foolhardy, because it would be used as evidence against, rather than for, a person. If not dead already, such a church eventually will be. But God welcomes all of us sinners to confess and get free forever. It’s like being born again again.
Biblical confession also includes a horizontal dimension – confession to one another, where we find powerful healing. Confession to God alone often does not lift us into the freedom we desire. With God alone, confession can be too easy. It is too easy to save face, and there is no healing, no release, in saving face, however earnest the confession to God might seem to be. Confession to God alone can be a way of not really facing ourselves and our sins. James 5:16 shows us where freedom can be found: “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
7 A’s of Confession:
1. Address everyone involved and only them. Talk to them about my faults. Do it right away and be persistent. Only talk to people who are part of the problem or part of the solution.
2. Avoid “if”, “but”, “maybe”. That’s just blaming the other party and finding fault with them for my own failure. “If I offended you”, “Maybe I was wrong”, “If you hadn’t said that”, “I’m sorry, but you..”
3. Admit specifically what you did, when possible.
4. Apologize – express your sorrow for your sin
5. Ask for forgiveness. Most people leave this out. The other party might be 99% wrong, but this isn’t about them right now. It’s about your own log.
6. Accept the consequences. Make restitution. It’s what you ought to do. Don’t demand that they pretend nothing happened.
7. Alter your behavior. You won’t be perfect, but you’ll get better. Repent before God (Robert Williams).
If I wish to humble anyone, I should question him about his prayers. I know nothing to compare with this topic for its sorrowful self-confessions (Charles Vaughn).
The message preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed. A new gospel is being taught today. This new gospel is perplexing – it omits Jesus and neglects the cross. Instead of promising Christ, this gospel promises health and wealth, and offers advice such as: declare to yourself that everything that you touch will prosper, for, in the words of a leading prosperity gospel preacher, “There is a miracle in your mouth.” According to this new gospel, if believers repeat positive confessions, focus their thoughts, and generate enough faith, God will release blessings upon their lives (David Jones and Russel Woodbridge).
Many Christians in many evangelical churches these days are confessionally challenged in that they are either cynical, critical, or altogether skeptical of all things confessional — confessional documents, confessional churches, and confessional Christians. We might hear confessionally challenged Christians say things, such as “My only creed is Christ” or “I don’t need theology, just give me Jesus” or “Confessions divide, Christ unites.” Such Christians are actually under the impression that their churches don’t have confessions, when in truth every church has a confession, though it may not be written down and though it may constantly change according to the whims and fancies of the pastor. They have been somehow deceived into thinking that all of the various historic Reformed confessions only serve to divide the church of its unity and disarm the Bible of its authority. Nothing could be further from the truth, for what is so amazing about Reformed confessions in general is not how different they are from one another but how similar they are — how they each use biblical language in affirming the faith once delivered to the saints.
Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of the need. In this, as in everything, God’s thoughts are not as ours. God requires that His gifts should be sought for. He designs to be honoured by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.
Some Reasons Baptists Do Not Baptize Infants: 1. In every New Testament command and instance of baptism the requirement of faith precedes baptism. So infants incapable of faith are not to be baptized. 2. There are no explicit instances of infant baptism in all the Bible. In the three “household baptisms” mentioned (household of Lydia, Acts 16:15; household of the Philippian jailer, Acts 16:30–33; household of Stephanus, 1 Corinthians 1:16) no mention is made of infants, and in the case of the Philippian jailer, Luke says explicitly, “They spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house” (Acts 16:32), implying that the household who were baptized could understand the Word. 3. Paul (in Colossians 2:12) explicitly defined baptism as an act done through faith: “…having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God.” In baptism you were raised up with Christ through faith – your own faith, not your parents’ faith. If it is not “through faith” – if it is not an outward expression of inward faith – it is not baptism. 4. The apostle Peter, in his first letter, defined baptism this way, “…not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is “an appeal to God for a good conscience.” It is an outward act and expression of inner confession and prayer to God for cleansing, that the one being baptized does, not his parents. 5. When the New Testament church debated in Acts 15 whether circumcision should still be required of believers as part of becoming a Christian, it is astonishing that not once in that entire debate did anyone say anything about baptism standing in the place of circumcision. If baptism is the simple replacement of circumcision as a sign of the new covenant, and thus valid for children as well as for adults, as circumcision was, surely this would have been the time to develop the argument and so show that circumcision was no longer necessary. But it is not even mentioned.
John’s baptism…was a radical act of individual commitment to belong to the true people of God, based on personal confession and repentance… This is one of the main reasons that I do not believe in baptizing infants, who cannot make this personal commitment or confession or repentance. John’s baptism was an assault on the very assumptions that give rise to much infant baptism.
The awareness of sin, a deep awareness of disobedience, and painful confession of sin used to be our shadow. Christians hated sin. They feared it, they fled from it, they grieved over it. Some of our [forefathers] agonized over their sins. A man who lost his temper might wonder if he could still go to holy communion. A woman who for years envied her more attractive and intelligent sister might wonder if this sin threatened her very salvation… That shadow has dimmed. Nowadays the accusation, “You have sinned,” is often said with a grin and with a tone that signals an inside joke. At one time this accusation still had the power to jolt people.
The condition of backsliding results from spiritual apathy or disregard for the truth of God’s Word. It results in a departure from a winsome confession of faith and Biblical ethical standards. Actions are affected by our attitudes toward God and His Word.
True repentance is no light matter. It is a thorough change of heart about sin, a change showing itself in godly sorrow and humiliation – in heartfelt confession before the throne of grace – in a complete breaking off from sinful habits, and an abiding hatred of all sin. Such repentance is the inseparable companion of saving faith in Christ.
Confession is verbal humiliation.
Narrow-minded Christians or is Jesus Christ the ONLY way to heaven? 1. Our fundamental problem with God is our sin. It separates us from His love. In His holiness He is obligated to judge it – now and eternally. ONLY Christ died for the removal of our sin and subsequent forgiveness. 2. Jesus taught it – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; NO ONE comes to the Father, but through ME'” (Jn. 14:6). 3. Of every religious figure, ONLY Christ rose from the dead in the Resurrection and proved His victory over death, the devil and sin. 4. If there were any other way to heaven, why would God send His only Son to die an excruciating death on a cross? “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law [doing good works], then Christ died needlessly” (Gal. 2:21). 5. The Bible teaches it – “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Ac. 4:12). Is The ONLY Savior YOUR Savior – evidenced by your confession and lifestyle (Lk. 8:21)?
Why are we called in “The Lord’s Prayer” to ask for what appears to be additional forgiveness? One, because sin destroys. Confession helps our soul heal from the guilt we incurred. Two, because every sin we commit, though it does not forfeit our salvation, breaks fellowship with our heavenly Father. Three, because our forgiveness came at a great cost – the death of God’s very Son. Therefore we ought to take sin seriously and carefully recognize the specific areas we are falling short. Four, because true believers are committed to repentance. Confession of sin is important because without acknowledging the error of sin, we will never take the necessary steps toward what God ultimately desires, which is repentance (turning from the sin altogether).
Consider God’s faithfulness to His promises: We learn that all things do work together for good (Rom. 8:28). We learn that God will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We learn that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:35). We learn to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We learn to trust in God’s character and not our circumstances. We learn no detail of our life is outside His loving purpose and sovereign control. We learn His solution far surpasses our most creative imagination. We learn God is often closest when we least feel His presence. We learn Hebrews 10:23 which calls us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
The idea of sola Scriptura is that there is only one written source of divine revelation, which can never be placed on a parallel status with confessional statements, creeds, or the traditions of the church. Scripture alone has the authority to bind the conscience precisely because only Scripture is the written revelation of almighty God.
How can the person who has committed suicide repent? Once they have committed the sin, it is too late for them to repent. This concern, I believe, has its roots in Roman Catholic theology. We do not live our lives in a constant race to stay ahead of the game in terms of our repentance. We do not, when we die, have forgiveness for all our sins, save those we commit after our last confession. When we embrace the finished work of Christ, when we place our hope in Him, all our sins, past, present and future are forgiven.
This concern [of dying with unconfessed sin], I believe, has its roots in Roman Catholic theology. We do not live our lives in a constant race to stay ahead of the game in terms of our repentance. We do not, when we die, have forgiveness for all our sins, save those we commit after our last confession. When we embrace the finished work of Christ, when we place our hope in Him, all our sins, past, present and future are forgiven.
When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this… One week-night, … the thought struck me, "How did you come to be a Christian?" I sought the Lord. "But how did you come to seek the Lord?" The truth flashed across my mind in a moment – I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change wholly to God"
It does not spoil your happiness to confess your sin. The unhappiness is in not making the confession.
But there are some who say, “It is hard for God to choose some and leave others.” Now, I will ask you one question. Is there any of you here this morning who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? “Yes, there is,” says someone, “I do.” Then God has elected you. But another says, “No; I don’t want to be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and my vices.” Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you to it? For if you were elected you would not like it, according to your own confession. If God this morning had chosen you to holiness, you say you would not care for it. Do you not acknowledge that you prefer drunkenness to sobriety, dishonesty to honesty? You love this world’s pleasures better than religion; then why should you grumble that God has not chosen you to religion? If you love religion, He has chosen you to it. If you desire it, He has chosen you to it. If you do not, what right have you to say that God ought to have given you what you do not wish for?
We must depend upon the Spirit in our preparations. Is this the fact with us all? Are you in the habit of working your way into the meaning of texts by the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Every man that goes to the land of heavenly knowledge must work his passage thither; but he must work out his passage in the strength of the Holy Spirit, or he will arrive at some island in the sea of fancy, and never set his foot upon the sacred shores of the truth. You do not know the truth, my brother, because you have read "Hodge’s Outlines", or "Fuller’s Gospel worthy of all Acceptation"; or "Owen on the Spirit", or any other classic of our faith. You do not know the truth, my brother, merely because you accept the Westminster Assembly’s Confession, and have studied it perfectly. No, we know nothing till, we are taught, of the Holy Ghost, who speaks to the heart rather than to the ear.
To injure our fellow men is sin, mainly because in so doing we violate the law of God. The penitent’s heart so filled with a sense of the wrong done to the Lord Himself, that all other confession swallowed up in a broken-hearted acknowledgment of offense against [God].
In Romans 10:9 Paul identifies the confession of Jesus as Lord to be an essential element in the gospel message.
Insights from 1 Corinthians 11:23-34:
1. The Lord’s Supper is primarily designed to elicit or to stimulate in our hearts remembrance of the person and work of Jesus.
2. This remembrance is commanded. Participation at the Lord’s Table is not an option.
3. This remembrance entails the use of tangible elements. It isn’t enough simply to say, “Remember!” The elements of bread and wine are given to stir our minds and hearts.
4. It is a personal remembrance. We are to remember Jesus. The focus isn’t any longer on the Jewish Passover or the night of his betrayal or anything else. The focus is Jesus.
5. In this remembering there is also confession. In partaking of the elements we declare: “Christ gave his body and blood for me. He died for me.”
6. In this remembering we also proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes. This, then, is not merely an ordinance that looks to the past. It is an ordinance of hope that points to the future.
7. To partake of the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner (v. 27) is to take it without regard to its true worth, not yours. To partake unworthily is to come complacently, light-heartedly, giving no thought to that which the elements signify.
Oath-taking is really a pathetic confession of our own dishonesty. What do we find it necessary to introduce our promises by some tremendous formula? The only reason is that we know our simple word is not likely to be trusted. So we try to induce people to believe us by adding a solemn oath.
“The issue is too complex; smart people disagree, and I don’t think I can say one way or the other whether abortion is the taking of a human life.” A response like this is a confession of ignorance, and that is welcome. But if we don’t know, shouldn’t we err on the side of life? If I’m on a hunting trip and see something moving behind a tree and can’t decide whether it’s a fellow human being or a buck, should we conclude that shooting is thereby permissible? If there’s even a chance that what’s in the womb is an innocent human being, then we cannot support killing it.
Embracing Sola Scriptura will radically alter your attitudes. It arouses profound gratitude to God for His rich supply to His children of “everything we need for life and godliness.” It inspires confidence in the Word of God as the complete, perfect, all-embracing, and all-sufficient revelation from God that it will never need amendment, correction, or supplementation. It begets humility regarding your own opinions and a deep suspicion toward your autonomous conscience and reason. It produces admiration and appreciation for the larger body of Christ in other times and places and the documents (creeds, confessions, catechisms, commentaries) which they have labored to leave for our understanding and benefit. And finally, it encourages submission to Scripture’s God who alone has ultimate authority in your life – the One who is in charge and who gets the final word.
Preaching is more than the regurgitation of your favorite exegetical commentary, or a rather transparent recast of the sermons of your favorite preachers, or a reshaping of notes from one of your favorite seminary classes. It is bringing the transforming truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ from a passage that has been properly understood, cogently and practically applied, and delivered with the engaging tenderness and passion of a person who has been broken and restored by the very truths he stands up to communicate. You simply cannot do that without proper preparation, meditation, confession, and worship.
Although it is healthy to be ashamed of the sins you are involved in, don’t let that shame become one of Satan’s weapons to keep you trapped. Secrecy is often a Christian’s biggest enemy, while confession can bring freedom and release from the bondage of an overwhelming sense of shame. If no one knows of your personal moral failures, there is no one to be accountable to, or to help lift you up in prayer or encourage you. Don’t let your pride destroy you (Prov. 29:23; Mark 7:21; 2 Chr, 32:26). In an accountability relationship, you choose a confidant that you can be honest and open with about your addiction. Confess your sin (James 5:16). Be sure to choose someone of the same sex. Preferably, select a discrete person that has some spiritual maturity in their walk with Christ, and who has a helpful, non-condemning spirit.
We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ. We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the church.