Years ago, when Daniel and I were working with our first full-time church, we noticed something was different. Something was missing. There was no confession taking place.
In our tradition, it is common to offer an invitation to Christ after the sermon. Something is said to effect of, “If you need to make anything right with God, if you need to confess sins and receive forgiveness, or if you need to start your journey today with baptism, come forward now as we stand and sing.”
Then a stirring song of surrender is sung by the congregation.
I’ve seen this done many times. I’ve answered the call myself. I was baptized after accepting this kind of invitation. And in the years to follow, I used the opportunity to receive prayer and forgiveness for my own transgressions.
Yet, here we were, in a church where no one ever responded to this invitation. Ever.
During kitchen table conversation we discussed it with friends. One well-meaning brother said, “If people are going forward, who will my kids look up to.”
I realized something. Something in that church caused people to think confession was bad. It’s quite the opposite. It is a cathartic avenue to truth and freedom from the sin that so easily ensnares us.
Confession is a new beginning.
John the Baptist ushered in the new kingdom with a teaching of radical repentance. People responded with confession of sins and baptism.
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3: 6
Confession solicits prayer.
Have you ever felt like the burden of sin was too heavy to carry alone? That’s because it is.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Confession absolves sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Secret sin will destroy the body and soul. Confession restores health physically and spiritually.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 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 32:3-5
If confession hasn’t been part of your spiritual regimen, it’s time to commit to a life of honesty, healing and the forgiveness that comes when we confess.