Confession and Repentance
Why are confession and repentance so important?
Because they are the way to be restored into a joyful relationship with God. What separates us from God is sin. This is true in an eternal sense, but it also affects our daily lives as sin interrupts our relationship with God. (Isaiah_57:15-21).
The reason why God is so opposed to sin is because He is so for us! He knows that sin distorts and destroys us and damages others
This means to agree with God about ourselves; to admit the truth about our sin and our needs to God. Confession acknowledges our need and our sin without making excuses or trying to justify ourselves. Sometimes confession may need to be shared in confidence with another Christian who can stand with us in an atmosphere of humility, love and trust. This is where we need to be encouraged to 'push back the boundaries' by opening our inner thoughts and attitudes to God (see James_5:16 and Psalms_51:6).
Taking David of the Old Testament as an example - he was a man after God's own heart. When He sinned, He spared no pain to put it right. Read the account of David's adultery with Bathsheba in 2_Samuel_11-12 and then Psalms_51 to sense David's inward experience.
This means a complete change of heart. A change in direction from sin - to God and his ways. In some circumstances it may involve restitution. Repentance is a decision, a determination of the will to change wrong behaviour or attitudes. It is not just feeling sorry about things, but involves action. One of the most wonderful aspects of the Christian faith is that at any point in time we can have a fresh start. Our repentance and God's forgiveness work together to make this possible.
|Confession and repentance are not a state of wallowing in regret feeling depressed about our failure. It is liberation from a bind, becoming free from something bad which has been holding us. It is being set free by God's forgiveness in Christ, from condemnation and guilt. There may be remorse, but forgiveness brings a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for what God has done for us (Luke_7:47).|
Positive steps we can take
Ask God to point out anything not right in us, or anything obstructing our relationship with him. Don't try and dredge up things that the Holy Spirit is not convincing you about. Understand the difference between Holy Spirit conviction, and destructive condemnation. Conviction leads to liberty, condemnation leads to anguish!
Admit it. Clearly and specifically, including why you know it to be a sin (eg: acting out of self interest). If you know something is wrong but don't feel like giving it up, admit this too (sinfulness is close to the bone!) Don't manufacture repentant emotions.
Repent. Eg: "I turn from this sin wholeheartedly and ask you to give me a hatred for it". Ask God if there is appropriate action to be taken, either restorative or preventative. Do it, form is not enough. (See Matthew_5:21-24 and Isaiah_58:3-4).
Thank God. Accept your forgiveness, and honour the work Christ has done on your behalf on the Cross. Don't keep going over past sins. Once they are confessed and repented of - that's it. Stand on God's promises in this regard - check out 1_John_1:9. Thank Jesus for his forgiveness, his healing and his redemptive work in your life. Relax and rejoice. (Eg: Psalms_103,_51_and_32).
Unit 2: Personal Study & Journal [Next Section]
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