A while back I became convicted about certain teachings which we have come to be comfortable with in church. This brought about my close and careful reexamination of the matter of confessing sins by believers. The usual way is to confess our sins to God, repent and He will forgive us. There are scriptures we use when we start out in a prayer meetings; scriptures like 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 this is done, we then begin speaking to God and confessing our sins quietly to Him and letting no one else hear, afterwards it’s to God we confess to. Very convenient isn’t it? Very easy to do and get away with and do it time and time again, because no one is holding us accountable, only “God”.
Well, I had another reality dawn on me as it has to do with God’s mind on this issue. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He didn’t hesitate to show them the pattern. When He got to the issue of sins, he put it this way: “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.“ This shows that we are to ask God to forgive our sins. But the question now is if we are meant to confess our sins to God? I have read several articles that hold this position and wonder if indeed we are practicing the right thing.
Everything changed for me a few years ago when I encountered a scripture that God began to speak to me through. At that time I was going through a major struggle in my walk with God and had tried to deal with it without much success. James 5:16 states: “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.“ It was at this point in my life that God interjected my usual routine of coming before Him and confessing. Frankly, I sort of knew that He already aware of the details of my goings and nothing was hidden before Him. I was also always wondering why am I confessing to Him? Is it to acknowledge my sins, or as some write says, “to be humble before Him y admitting your wrong”? Whatever the case, I knew that what was of importance to Him was not confessing, but REPENTANCE. CONFESSION IS WHAT YOU DO BEFORE MEN AND NOT TO GOD!!!
I could not find anywhere Jesus asking anyone to confess their sins to God . He merely taught them to ask for God’s forgiveness, which is preceded by repentance. His actual first statements from Matthew chapter 4 shows Him saying “Repent! for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Repentance was the main issue for God, and confession is an act towards men. The Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well didn’t need to confess nothing, Jesus knew it all. At another time Jesus merely told a sick man his sins had been forgiven and the Pharisee picked a beef with that. In another occasion he told a man he healed not to go back to his sins else a more dire situation befall him. God already knows the detail.
God told me flat out to go and confess before a group of believer friends about what I was going through. It probably took me months to do but this remained one of the greatest experiences of my life. What resulted is best written in a book. This is one way I know that nobody ever looses anything by obeying God. The image and pride I was trying to protect by not confessing to these friends became more repaired by obeying God. Now I talk very openly about the things I go through, making it easy for God’s light to sweep through my soul. The word confession itself means an open admittance of something previously unknown. Confession is not done in the heart or in secret. It is done with the lips and in the open. If not so, we can then claim to confess Jesus as our saviour in our hearts and leave it at that.
Of course none one is saying to confess to just anybody. You clearly should be led, especially when you are dealing with really besetting sins that seem to hold you down and make you feel filthy in your walk with God. As long as it remains covered, the enemy has a field day to operate. Remember he thrives where there is darkness. Confessing to other godly and mature men brings you under transparency and accountability, and forms a support base of people praying for you. That way, the power over the enemy in that aspect of your life gradually erodes and you find increasing strength to overcome, especially the feelings of condemnation.
That scripture in James doesn’t mince words when it says “Confess your sins one to another…” When as God’s kids we become more open and transparent with each other, we then tap into an amazing power of God’s holiness and we remove the seeds of darkness from among us. 1 John 1: 5-7 puts it this way: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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.” This understanding is very important in building unity, which believers so desperately need these days. It’s amazing how much church traditions and theologies have robbed us of vital truth in God. I am glad that we are children of light and serve a God in whom there is no Darkness at all. WORD-UP PEOPLE!!!