If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
We are all sinners.
Every member of humanity is born dead in their corruption and sin (Ephesians 2:1). Mankind walks harmoniously under the sway of the devil at work in us (v. 2). But, from before the foundation of the world, out of his immense mercy and love, God determined to liberate us from this slavery.
The Father sent his only begotten Son to condescend into flesh to be our perfect substitute. Being both God and man, he lived in perfect obedience to God, yet undeservedly took on the wrath of his Father when he suffered and died for our sins. On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead by his Spirit.
By that same power which lifted Jesus from his grave, we are hoisted out of our graves, in which we lay dead in our sin. When we receive this marvelous good news of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, the Holy Spirit replaces our hardened heart with a tender heart that desires to obey God and live according to his will. Out of his great love for us, God rescued us from sin for fellowship with himself!
As Christians, our sin ought to pierce our hearts, since it grieves the Lord (Ephesians 4:30).
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God promises grace to those who humble themselves in confession (1 Peter 5:5-6). God delivers this promised grace by convicting us; he blesses us with true and humble contrition over our inability to be pure before him, and with grief over what our sin cost our precious Savior.
Brother and sister, confess your sin, and receive Jesus’ forgiveness, and turn away from that specifically revealed sin toward him by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Fear of Confession
We have eyes to perceive our sin and understanding that our sin grieves God. But Satan implants fear in our hearts when we think about confessing our sin to other Christians. We fear condemnation and a spoiled reputation. But we can put these fears to death by two reminders.
1. We’re all in the same boat.
First, nobody possesses righteousness, or understanding, or the desire to seek after God. All fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-11, 23). In fact, if we deny that sin is present within us, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). And “If we say we have not sinned, we make him [Jesus] a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).
The Christian friends we confess our sins to are fellow transgressors; the foundation of our faith is our universal need for a Savior. So your battle with sin should not be news to you, nor your neighbor.
2. We don’t need to fear what others think.
Second, Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice secured our acceptance in God’s sight, despite our rebellion against him (Romans 8:30-34). He has justified those who have faith in him—regardless of our past, present, and future sins—because of his own righteousness (Romans 8:33). So we have no need to fear man if God has accepted us. For,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Confess to your brother or sister in Christ boldly. After acknowledging your sin against them and God, ask for accountability and prayer as you begin to turn away from that sin. Your guilt which crushed you will be transformed into joy because you brought your sin into the light.
The Result of Confession
When David kept his sins hidden away in silence, he tells us that his bones wasted away (Psalm 32:3). Since God’s heavy hand was upon his soul convicting him, his strength dried up like the dew on the grass in the sun’s heat (v. 4). At his wit’s end, David said,
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
David confessed and God forgave him.
The Joy of Confession
Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven by God in Christ and whose sins are covered by Christ’s blood.
Blessed is the man whose iniquity is counted to Christ’s account on the cross and who does not deceive himself, but confesses his sins and seek forgiveness from the Lord….
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. (Psalm 32:10)
Great joy dwells in this man! The guilt that once crushed him has been lifted and absorbed by Jesus, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Brothers and sisters, we no longer stand condemned as enemies before the throne of God (Romans 8:1; Colossians 1:21). Instead, we stand with Jesus as his Bride, accepted as co-heirs of the kingdom of God.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
What sin needs to come to the light in your life?
Humble yourself before the Lord. Come out of your isolation in the dark into the fellowship of the Christ and his Church in the light. Confess your unfaithfulness to God and to your brothers and sisters. Receive God’s forgiveness, which is abundant according to the infinite riches of his grace. And rejoice in Jesus, who cleansed you by his blood, shed on the cross (1 John 1:9).