When You Confess Your Sin, Others are Helped
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight… Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – Psalm 51:1-5
The Bible certifies the existence and saturation of this thing it calls sin. If nothing else, beyond the fact that God really is, and that He communicates to man in space and time, the Bible emphasizes the fact, in example after example, that sin really is, and it is man who naturally and rebelliously sins. Even if sin is denied, ignored, or scorned, when the rubber meets the road, man knows beyond all doubt this one truth about himself: he sins, regularly. The law of God is embedded deep in his being, his consciousness, as a created being, and he is increasingly aware in his development from infancy on that obedience to God’s law is not his forte. He is not only born a sinner, but he knows when faced with the unvarnished reality of who he is, and how he behaves, that obedience is not his natural makeup. Everyone is a sinner; not just a little bit, but thoroughly. In all 66 books of the Bible this truth stands out like a sore thumb. Man has a fallen nature which results in sin oozing out of his pores like perspiration.
So, if this is the case, in the awakened, Spirit-regenerated Christian, confession ought to be as regular as breathing. If it is, you can be assured of a healthy soul. If it is not, there will be a natural sin-sickness which festers and infects the whole person. This sickness needs a remedy, or, minus healing, it will eventually lead to death with numerous “dying” crises along the way; the death of other things in your life: things like kindness, goodness, patience, relationships, righteousness, purity, hope, love; things which when absent result in a sad and broken life.
God’s Word graciously calls you to confess your sins, with the promise of faithful forgiveness and refreshing life in Christ. It is a call to personal confession between you and your Father in heaven, but it is also a call to confess your sins in the presence of others, other Christian brothers and sisters. This accomplishes a number of benefits to them and to you. They become aware that they are not alone in being a sinner. They are encouraged by your confession of sin to confess their own sins. You are humbled; a very good thing. They are blessed and encouraged; also a very good thing. Your relationship with one another becomes closer.
The Bible even tells you that others become converted through your confession of sin. It is evangelical in leading others to commit their life to Christ. David in Psalm 51 writes after his own confession of sin: “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn to you.” And in James you are encouraged: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.”
There is far too little confessing sins to one another. If there was more, there would be greater spiritual health among us, and there would be more sinners being brought to redemption and forgiveness in Christ. We need a spirit of Psalm 51 in our midst, your own contrite confession of sin and also the working of humility in your life so that you would confess your sin to God in the presence of others. This is what God in Christ is asking of you.
“O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be; let that grace now like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander–Lord, I feel it–prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”
(3rd verse of Robert Robinson’s hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” 1758)
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