We have talked about a few inward and outward disciplines of the Christian life, now we are transitioning into a few corporate disciplines. Corporate disciplines may be more difficult for some because it requires us to be with other people. Corporate disciplines involve being vulnerable and allowing others to see who we are deep inside. We were designed by God to need community and if we don’t have community we are missing a large portion of what it means to be a person.
The corporate discipline we are going to look at today is that of confession. You may wonder, “How is it that confession is listed under the corporate disciplines? I thought this was a private matter between the individual and God. Again the answer is not either/or, but both/and. We are grateful for the biblical teaching, underscored in the Reformation, that there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). We are also grateful for the biblical teaching, newly appreciated in our day, to confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another… (James 5:16). Both are found in Scripture and neither need exclude the other.”
Something we need to keep in the forefront of our mind is at the heart of God is the desire to give and to forgive. This is the message of the cross. “Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross.” Jesus dies on the cross as an expression of God’s love and desire to forgive. At the same time, “without the cross, the discipline of confession would be only psychologically therapeutic but it actually involves an objective change in our relationship with God and a subjective change in us.” When we confess our sins God never looks at us and says, “you failure, you screwed up again, I hate you.” Every time we come to God he receives us with love and grace. When others confess their sins to us, we need to react the same way.
Confession is a difficult discipline for many because we have a view of the church that everyone else is perfect and I am the only one who struggles. “We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven.” As a result, we hide our sin and do not talk about it and this makes us feel guilt and shame.
When we have a trusted believer who we can confess our sin with we realize that mutual confession brings healing and freedom. We were not designed to hold our sin to ourselves, Jesus died for the sins within us. May we be humble enough to confess our sins one to another.
Further, when we view our sin the right way, we come to realize that we go through tough times in life, partially, for the benefit of the community. 2 Corinthians 1, we have been comforted by God so that we can comfort others.
Your sin is heinous and God hates sin. Therefore we need to confess our sins to him and allow him to transform us. We also need to confess our sins to trusted believers because God uses it for the good of the church.
Begin praying about who you can sit with and confess some sins that have never been confessed to someone before. Someone who you can trust. As we bring these sins to the light God begins to heal.
Pastor Michael Covey
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” – James 5:16
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