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What is confession and why is it important?

Confession What does the term confession mean to you? Some people understand confession as using the power of our words to change reality. That idea is not Biblical! But confession is Biblical. In fact, confession is crucial to our salvation. So, what is Biblical confession? Let us begin with the Greek word used in the New Testament. It literally means "to speak the same thing". It is used to mean "to say the same thing", "to openly agree" or "to profess" which means "to declare or admit openly". In the New Testament it often means agreement with God. Confession is submission to God, to His truth and His will. So, confession is submission, not manipulation. We do not confess something to make it happen. And we need not fear that a negative confession on our part will directly cause a tragedy. Rather we agree with God by faith and speak His truth, not our wishes. But what are we to confess? The Bible emphasizes only two types of confession. One is confession of sin. We find this in both Old and New Testaments. The other is confession of God. In the Old Testament, this is general, praise and acknowledgement of God. In the New Testament, it is more specific, confessing that Jesus is Lord. Today we will concentrate on the New Testament. Let us begin then with confession of sin. This is agreeing with God about my sin. I agree with God that I have done evil, not just a mistake. I agree with God that I am responsible, not trying to blame society or my parents, even if they have some fault. I agree with God that I deserve condemnation; my sin is that serious. I agree with God that I need forgiveness. Actually, I am asking for it. And I agree with God that only the blood of Jesus can save me, that I can not do anything to earn forgiveness. Confession of sin is part of receiving salvation. Listen to 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. When we come to God through faith in Jesus, and in repentance confess our sins, we receive His forgiveness. But we receive even more. Beyond forgiveness is God's purifying work in our life. Every time we confess sin, God cleanses me and enables me to let go of more of my sinfulness. If I sin again and confess again, He cleanses me further. If I persist in bringing my sins to Him, He will persist in cleansing me over time. So never stop confessing. Do not give up. God is faithful. As I fully confess, God enables victory. God is dealing with my future behavior even as He forgives my past. Let us consider one more verse on confessing sin, James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Confess your sins to each other. We can and should confess our sins directly to God. In Hebrews, especially in 4:14-16, we learn that with Jesus as the only mediator that we need, we can go boldly before God's throne of grace by faith in Jesus to receive mercy and grace. That includes confession of sin to receive His forgiveness. But there is healing power in confessing to a brother or sister. The person does not have to be clergy. James says each other. Sometimes this confession should be private to someone you can trust to keep a confidence. Other times, when the whole church is affected, it should be public. Public confessions have brought revival to churches. Confession to another person provides accountability which can accelerate victory over a specific sin. Healthy body ministry includes confession of sin to one another which can bring healing of guilt related sickness, healing of guilt related stress, and healing of the spirit. Just as important as confession of sin is confession of Jesus as Lord. Listen to Romans 10:9, 10: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. We must confess and believe to be saved. We must agree with God on who Jesus is, Lord of lords. We must agree with God that Jesus as Lord has the right to rule our lives. We must agree with God to submit all we are to His Lordship to live for Him. One way we are all to confess Jesus as Lord is by publicly acknowledging Him in baptism. Confession of Jesus is not optional. Some fail to confess Jesus out of fear. This lack of faith can be due to fear of persecution as in John 9:18-23 or to fear of losing social standing as in John 12:42,43. Jesus recognized that open confession of Him can be dangerous in Matthew 10:21, 22: Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. But He goes on to declare that confession is not optional in verses 32 & 33: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Let me look at just one more scripture, Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. On Judgment Day, everyone will kneel and confess that Jesus is Lord. But today we still have a choice. You can choose to bow, confessing your sin, and receive salvation through faith in Jesus, confessing Him as your Lord. Or you can continue in sin and in that day be forced to bow and confess as you are condemned. All who trust in Jesus and willingly choose to confess Jesus as Lord receive God's grace: forgiveness of sin as we confess our sin, cleansing from both guilt and sinfulness, and eternal life in fellowship with God. Let us confess our sins and our nation's sins to receive forgiveness, cleansing, and healing. Let us confess Jesus as Lord, submitting to His will to receive all that our heavenly Father has for us. Submit to God today so that He may bless you forever!
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