Sabbath, August 29, 2009
“I acknowledge 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.” Psalm 32:5.
1. What is the relationship between repentance and confession?
Leviticus 5:5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.
Joshua 7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
Ezra 10:11 Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
Isaiah 59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them.
“The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.” –Steps to Christ, p. 37.
2. Of what is God very aware?
Jeremiah 16:17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
Psalm 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men.
“God is cognizant of the daily employment of the humble laborer, as well as of that of the king upon his throne. And the avarice, cruelty, secret crimes, and selfishness of men are known to Him, as well as their good deeds, charity, liberality, and kindness. Nothing is hidden from God.” –Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 326.
Make confession to God and man
3. To whom should we first confess our sins with an open heart? To whom else should confession be made?
Ezra 9:6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
Daniel 9:8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.
Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
“If you have failed in your duty to your families, confess your sins before God. Gather your children about you and acknowledge your neglect. Tell them that you desire to bring about a reformation in the home, and ask them to help you to make the home what it ought to be. Read to them the directions found in the Word of God. Pray with them; and ask God to spare their lives, and to help them to prepare for a home in His kingdom. In this way you may begin a work of reformation; and then continue to keep the way of the Lord.” –Child Guidance, pp. 557, 558.
4. How specific should confession be? What else should characterize confession?
Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Judges 10:10 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
“Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner. It is not to be made in a flippant and careless way, or forced from those who have no realizing sense of the abhorrent character of sin. The confession that is the outpouring of the inmost soul finds its way to the God of infinite pity….
“True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” –Steps to Christ, p. 38.
As quickly as possible
5. Why is it so important to make confession, clear up every misunderstanding, and apologize for every wrongdoing and hurtful action?
Genesis 27:35, 36 And he said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
Genesis 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Matthew 5:25, 26 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
6. How quickly should we confess every wrongdoing? In whose name can we receive forgiveness?
Ephesians 4:25-27 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Matthew 5:23, 24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
“The more he Esau thought upon it, the more his desire strengthened, until his birthright, which was sacred, lost its value and its sacredness. He thought, ‘Well, if I now sell it, I can easily buy it back again’…. When he sought to purchase it back, even at a great sacrifice on his part, he was not able to do so…. He sought for repentance carefully and with tears. It was all in vain. He had despised the blessing, and the Lord removed it from him forever.” –(Review and Herald, April 27, 1886) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1094.
“Individually we must accept Christ as our only hope. We must know Him. He is our Daysman, and before Him we must confess and renounce our sins. He made a complete renunciation of Himself for man, and man, through Jesus, must make a complete renunciation of himself to God.” –Signs of the Times, February 3, 1898.
7. What attributes of Christ Himself underpin confession?
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
James 4:8-11 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
“Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit confessed our sins, abhorring our iniquity, we have never truly sought for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we do not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 37, 38.