When David was racked with guilt, he longed to be cleansed so that he could be ‘white as snow’. Despite the murder of Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba, there was a route for David out of the dark shadows to renewed joy and purity. That route’s signpost is the same for everyone for ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) – confession. From the mightiest royalty to the poorest pauper, there are any number of ways we can lose our joy and intimacy with God but there’s only one way it can truly be restored: ‘Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD." And you forgave the guilt of my sin’ – Psalm 32:5
A clean slate, a fresh beginning and a new flowering – these are the yearnings of the soul. It’s not so much to do with the ‘severity’ of the sin as with the state of the heart and how we handle the little word ‘IF’.
- ‘The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works’ – Saint Augustine
- ‘A confession has to be part of your new life’ – Ludwig Wittgenstein
- ‘Confession is good for the soul’ – Scottish Proverb
- ‘If not me, who? And if not now, when?’ – Mikhail Gorbachev
‘If only’ is to do with regret and recrimination. There are seven ‘IF’s that need to be understood and acted upon so that a grieving soul can walk out of darkness, into light and bring blessing to many:
HONESTY - ‘If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth’ – I John 1:6
ACTION - ‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin’ – 1 John 1:7
TRUTH - ‘If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us’ – 1 John 1:8
CONFESSION - ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ – 1 John 1:9
UNDERSTANDING - ‘If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us’ – 1 John 1:10
JUSTIFICATION - ‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins’ – 1 John 2:1-2
The child of God is free from condemnation both now and in the future because of the Holy Trinity’s wondrous work on our behalf: God the Father receives the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ for our sin whilst The Holy Spirit helps us to confess our sin, gives new birth, washes and enables us then to forgive others. Being freed from condemnation brings power for life to the full and results in blessings to many.
HARVEST - ‘... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ – 2 Chronicles 7: 14
‘Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation ... The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest’ – Psalm 85:6, 12
When God’s people come together to pray in humility to seek his face, then blessings that affect a nation and heal a land are released. Confession has a harvest to bless the human heart one at a time and to bring further blessings beyond our imaginings.
In 1895, Rudyard Kipling wrote his poem about the power of the word ‘IF’ with this line: ‘If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies...’ Confession is about ‘being done with lies’ and coming clean. Are you living in the abundant harvest that comes from confession or living in the land of ‘what if?’
TAGS – repentance, forgiveness, new, peace, redemption, Saviour