“Confession & the Gospel” | From the Archive
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. – James 5:16
Yesterday a new friend shared his innermost struggles and failures with me. I had only met this guy a few days earlier. As he began to confess all the things that he had done in his past and even recently, I was convicted about how little I have been confessing my sins to others. One thing that is crucial for Christian community that many of us ignore is confession. We have a problem with living transparent with each other by being open and honest about what is really going on in our hearts and lives.
Are we so comfortable in our sins that we aren’t willing to confess them to others so that they may actually help us? Are we really concerned with walking away from those sins? Or do we love those sins so much that we secretly want to keep them near?
When we do get around to confessing our sins to one another, we tend to blame other people for them. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. This is exactly what my friend did yesterday as he confessed – he took full responsibility for his actions. He didn’t try to blame his struggles and failures on others. He admitted that it was his fault.
Are we concerned with the possibility that people will know who we truly are?
Once we’re open and honest about the sin in our lives, and take responsibility for those sins, we will begin to see an amazing thing happen – change. After my friend finished, I began to encourage him and remind him of the gospel. I then began to pray over him, feeling the power of the Holy Spirit working immediately for healing and change.
So… then what? Confession isn’t about getting to know the dirt on everybody. Confession isn’t about having a pity party. Confession is about how we have brought sin into our lives, but that Jesus can take that sin out of our lives. Confession is about the gospel.
What happens when someone pours their life out on the table in front of us? How do we respond?
The response to confession is the reminder of the gospel.
The center of confession is not gossip, but the gospel. When this is the reality, people learn that it’s safe to actually open up to each other. We remind them of God’s love for them and what He’s done in Christ and is doing through the Spirit to forgive and heal them. We remind them of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. What we do flows from who we are – children of God, forgiven in Christ at the cross.
We remind them of grace.
Interact: Why do we hesitate to be transparent to others? What does transparency look like in your life? How does transparency change how you interact with others?