“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5 ESV).
Many of us fear confession. We don’t like acknowledging our brokenness, our sinfulness, or our inability to do everything correctly. But confession and repentance are two gifts that God gives his children to mature them. Many Christians come to faith in a moment of confession, but the last time we confessed our sin was back at our conversion. This is not the way of faith. Instead, confession and repentance are to be habits of grace that we increasingly practice as we grow deeper in Christ.
To confess simply means to “say the same thing.” When we confess our sin, we are agreeing with God that our actions missed the standard that he has for our lives. We are saying the same thing about both ourselves and our actions. Without confession, there is no repentance.
Israel experienced this very thing when they returned from exile. After 70 years, God graciously brought Israel back to the Promised Land. Israel came back as a people, rebuilt the city, reinstated the sacrificial system, and recovered all that was lost before the exile. It didn’t take long though before Israel committed the same sins as before, and started to act and live like the people of the world again. Israel was confronted by Ezra to repent of their sins and turn to God. But before Israel could repent, they needed to confess. Israel needed to call their breaking faith with God what it is—sin.
Read Ezra’s exhortation toward Israel in Ezra 10:1-3; 10:10-12,
“While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: ‘We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law’….And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ‘You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.’ Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, ‘It is so; we must do as you have said.’” (Ezra 10:1-3; 10:10-12).
For Ezra, confession is looking at your sin in the face, calling it what it is, and being truthful about the needed thing to do. In other words, it is honest. Ezra wept and cast himself down because he realized the extent of his and the nation’s brokenness.
Today is a great day to ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there is any sin in you (Psalm 139:23). Many of us need to pause today and deal with our account of sin and faithlessness. 1 John 1:9 is an incredible promise for us today, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The gospel tells Christians when you confess your sins you will receive grace. What a loving Father we have who heals us and forgives!
- Thank God for all the victories Christ has given us as a people over the years, and for how he has blessed us.
- Pray for God to grow those in our congregation to be in the Word and delight in God’s truth, and for us to live in the light.
- Pray for God to bring victory in the minds of those in our congregation that they would focus on truth instead of the lies from the world and Satan.
- Pray for God to bring victory over immorality in the lives of those in our congregation.
- Pray for Bethel’s Kids Ministry to effectively teach children the gospel and point them to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Pray for Angi Briggs, Ellyn Krusza, Kari Corbin, and Melissa Anderson as they lead this ministry.
- Pray for our Recovery ministry that members would experience victory over addictions and afflictions they are facing. Pray for Calvin Robinson and Pastor Stephen Ganschow as they lead this ministry.
- Pray for Bethel’s Counseling Ministry that those being counseled would experience victory in their lives. Pray for Pastor Stephen Ganschow as he leads this ministry.
- Pray for Bethel’s Missions Ministry to be victorious in spreading the gospel globally.
- Pray for missions partner, Global Action. Pray for their goal of launching a new module and training center in Costa Rica.
- Pray for Bethel’s missions partner, Central American Theological Seminary. Pray that God would help them in their challenging leadership transitions.