Confession and its outcomes
Dear BPCWAians, I hope that after last week’s pastoral letter, each of us have come to understand that genuine confession is a sincere admission that we are guilty of having committed something sinful based on God’s Word. Why is genuine confession so important in a believer’s life? Have your confessions been genuine? What are the outcomes of genuine confession?
Pro 28:13-14 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (14) Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”
Why is genuine confession important? Genuine confession receives forgiveness from God. 1 John 1:9 emphasizes that the condition for forgiveness and cleansing of sins is confession, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. And genuine confession receives mercy from God as we learn from Prov 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. Confession of sin leads to a blessed state of Christian life. Examples of covering our sin instead of confessing are refusing to admit sin, or giving excuses, or justifying, or blaming others, or refusing to face what is truly in our motives, or even, just merely mouthing an apology. If so, you will not prosper ie progress in your Christian walk. You will be unfruitful. So, in Prov 28:14, we are reminded that those who fear God, having confessed their sins sincerely, will be happy ie blessed. Genuine confession of sin leads to a good conscience before God and man. Moreover, as a saved child of God, what happens when you refuse to confess or refuse to be honest in the confession of sins you have committed? Well, since you are a child of God, then the chastisements continue. It is like a parent disciplining a child and will continue to do so until the child humbly admits that he has indeed disobeyed and apologises.
Fearful consequences of refusing to confess. Pro 28:14b “. . . but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief”. This verse warns about the frightful outcome of refusing to confess. If you harden your heart and will not confess, you will end up in trouble. Why? Because a defiant heart will not only cause you to remain in sin, it will also cause you to fall deeper into sin. You will do worse things. And there will be greater consequences because you accumulate more sin. Refusal to face up to the real sin or covering up sin will only lead to greater stubbornness and deceptiveness. In order to avoid confessing, you will need to rationalise your sins so that you can justify to yourself that you have not sinned. Eventually, you may begin to believe that your sin is not sin, and believe in a lie instead of accepting the truth of your sin. Genuine confession is important, because it prevents you from spiralling downward and falling into greater evil.
How do I know my confession is genuine? God knows what we have done and our motives. He certainly knows whether our confession is genuine ie we truly agree with what He calls sin and admit both in conscience and verbal confession to Him or to man where necessary. (1) Genuine confession is clear when we grieve and bemoan, and humbly admit that we have sinned. David prayed, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps 32:5). “The iniquity of my sin” means the perversity, evil, and mischief of my sin. The word “acknowledge” and “confess” are from same word. Genuine confession honestly sees and truly admits the wicked sinfulness of our ways. Genuine confession sees that we have been perverse and evil. Genuine confession is coming before God in humility with the full admission of the responsibility for the sin committed against Him. There is no denying and trying to hide the sin when confronted. There is no attempt to make your sin appear not so sinful. There is no struggle to find reasons why we did something. When we simply, readily, and honestly believe and admit we have sinned based on God’s Word, we know our confession is genuine. It is more than saying generally that all men are sinners. It is looking at myself in the mirror of God’s Word and admitting that I have sinned. I have sinned personally, and am thus responsible and accountable for my sin. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (1Pet 5:5). (2) You know your confession is genuine when there is a forsaking of sin that follows (Prov 28:13). Genuine confession is more than just outward acknowledgement but it has in it a sincere intention to change your ways. It is easy to just say “I am sorry” to God or to man, but genuine confession leads to repentance which is not so easy. Genuine confession is not just wanting to be forgiven so that the consequences of sin will pass from us, without wanting to repent. Failing to realise this leads to many false confessions in our lives but yet we think we have confessed and hence God must have forgiven. (3) You know your confession is genuine when you are willing to bear the consequences of sin. To sincerely admit sin and to have forgiveness is so paramount to you, you are more concerned about restoring fellowship with God and man than the consequences that may follow. King David’s admission to his sins could lead to forfeiting his kingship, let alone “losing face” before the people in the nation. But he would rather confess and own up before God to receive mercy and forgiveness, and restore a clear conscience. You know that your confession is genuine when you would rather know that your sins are forgiven by God than to save your face because of the potential outcomes of the admission of guilt.
Blessings of genuine confession. Prov 28:14a assures us, “Happy is the man that feareth alway . . .” If God has convicted you of a sin, then confess with the fear of God rather than hardening your heart because the latter leads to falling deeper into diverse evil. God encourages us that if we genuinely confess, He will be faithful to His promise to forgive and will indeed justly do so because of the Lord Jesus. What an assurance! What a relief! What a blessedness if we turn to Him in genuine confession. Whatever is the sin, if you are genuine in your confession and desire to forsake it, God will forgive. To refuse by cover up, rationalising, fear of losing face only leads to greater mischief and greater misery. Genuine confession is very critical in our daily life as believers, or we will end up more and more stubborn in sin, incurring the chastisement of God and living in misery instead of blessedness. O soul, why would you not simply confess and forsake sin and know the blessedness of sins forgiven?!
Yours in our Lord’s service