Discipleship

Confession Part 1

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
What is Confession? It is the event of responding to the Gospel's message, then acknowledging our faith publicly. In so doing we are conforming our lives to His Way so our faith applies to our lives.

Have you Confessed Christ as LORD?

Psalm 51; Amos 5:4-6; Romans 5:1-11; James 4: 7-10; 5:16; 1 Peter 2:22-24; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9

What is Confession? It is the event of responding to the Gospel's message, then acknowledging our faith publicly. In so doing we are conforming our lives to His Way so our faith applies to our lives.

What does this mean? We come to the grace, forgiveness, and authority of Christ; because of Him, we keep submitting by the application of His precepts to our lives that result in maturity and spiritual growth. This is a "grace" in that we receive the ability from Christ, and a commit to be disciplined in His call and precepts.

What is required? This involves our commitment on our part to own up to and acknowledge the sins that show our flaws and faults. Thus, we also continue to lead a life that confesses wrongdoings and we are to be accountable.

What do I do? We look to Christ as LORD, see who He is and what He has done for me. Then, we change our minds and ways so we are a soul at rest in Him, and so our motives, values, goals, aspirations, and plans are about seeking Christ's Lordship and standing firm in Him, not seeking our own personal agenda.

This comes after we repent, as repentance is before God; confession is before God, then having others hold us accountable to our faith. The distinction between confession and repentance is that confession is taking our repentance and telling someone besides God (of course you go to Him first and foremost!) to hold us accountable.

What happens when we do not? The waywardness of our sinful nature will resume and take control; this allows us, as a "Christian," to act one way on Sunday and another on Monday, so such things as gossip, bitterness, anger, and withdrawal will engage us to act the opposite of God's call!

When we do not confess, we are not doing what is right; in fact, we are even fighting against God (Matt. 4:17; 27:3; John 10:10; 2 Cor. 7:10-11). This is not to be a ritual or a rigid ecclesiastical construct so others can manipulate us; this was the sin of the Pharisees and the Catholic (pre-Vatican I and II) Church. Confession is liberation in Christ, not pretense, bondage, or oppression!

We have to be willing to declare: I, as a follower of Christ, bought and paid for by His shed blood, must acknowledge my own sinful nature. If this is not in your practice and in your mindset, you will fall way short of His plan and possibly even His redemption for you (not lose your salvation). All of humanity is fallen from God; we are corrupt in our thinking and actions. Unless God's Grace is not only flowing in us, but is also being emphasized and utilized, we will fail to make the right decisions. Our sinful nature directly relates to our daily lives and how we lead our church. Each of us must commit to ongoing confession in this area, from the trivialities of daily life to battling lust.

Being willing and able to confess sin will renew your mind and prepare you to be a more effective and used-by-God Christian, because you will have given yourself to God, mind as well as body. Just think through what He has done for you, the incredible amount of forgiveness you have received, and your response to what He has done. It should be gratitude that leads you to desire to purge yourself of sin. When we do as we see fit (Judg. 17:6), all we bring on ourselves is strife and confusion that leads to endless hurt. When we have purged the sin, and continue to do so as an ongoing venture, we will have no desire to copy the evil ways of the world. Rather, we will desire to be further transformed and renewed by God. We will be new persons, infused by the Spirit, so that all we think and all we do is pointed in His direction and call. Because of this renewal, we will know what He desires for us, what is best, and what is pleasing and perfect.

· Confession helps us to see how heinous our rebellion and sin are in God's eyes, so we can see how wonderful His providence is to elect us anyway. God wants us to confess!

· We are to also confess our indifference and lack of trust in Him (John 10:28-29).

· Our confession is a starting point to build and develop character, patience, and dependence on God's grace, as Abraham did by faith; we are accountable for our choices.

· There is forgiveness when we fail−and we will! If an individual or a church (collectively) repents, they can be saved and rebooted to serve and glorify Christ. If not, a church or an individual Christian will close and be a rotten memory to the community and to Christ!

· When we try to live to and by ourselves without Christ, or even try to serve Him without relying on Him, we are showing an incredible amount of disrespect!

· We need to have the right focus and perspective so we can know what God wants us to do! We can do this by learning about our Lord, His obedience, and being willing to go through times of waiting, discouragement, and even suffering, and see them as opportunities of personal growth and faith building and strengthening.

There are many preachers who like to turn the gospel of Jesus Christ into some kind of "easy-believe-ism," where confession is seen as not necessary. Even some good Reformed people do not like this discipline, mainly because of past abuses and that John Calvin opposed it. However, what Calvin opposed was "obligatory" confession, not confession itself; he saw it to be voluntary and a necessary and vital mutual consolation. As you can see from the passages cited, the Bible clearly states that if you want to be a Christian who gives God glory and pleases Him, you must confess! All that you do in life must be a reflection of a life surrendered to Christ. If you are so self-willed in your ideas, plans, and needs that you will not allow the wise counsel of others or God's introspection upon you, there can be no room for the living Christ. This may mean that others will use you, take advantage of you, get mad at you, ignore you, go around you, ridicule you, and persecute you! But remember, what they do to you, they do to Him! Make sure you are not the one persecuting the Lord by refusing to yield to wise counsel and the percepts of His Word!

Confession will also allow us to take a hard look at ourselves and hear what others say, so we can better give ourselves over to Christ as Lord. We will be able to ask Him and others, where and how do I fail in my judgments? And, we will take the personal responsibility to work it out. When we have setbacks, as we all do, we must be committed to restart and continue.

Questions

1. How would you define Confession?

2. What part does confession play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family?

3. How does the refusal to be responsible with our faith counteract confession?

4. What happens when your church does not engage in confession or teach and encourage its people to be people who confess?

5. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to confess?

6. In what situation did you fail to engage in confession when you should have?

7. What is the cost you have paid or could pay by not allowing others to hold you accountable?

8. How much of your life is under Christ's domain and control?

9. What issue is in your life that would improve with more confession?

10. Where do you fail in your judgments and decisions and how can you improve?

11. Take the time to really, fully examine your life to see if there is any wayward way in you. How much of your life is under Christ's domain and control? Is Christ your all in all, your authority and LORD? If not, what is? What do you need to do?

12. How does, or what areas in your life does Christ need to be Lord of in your life?

Scriptures on acknowledging our faith: Lev. 5:5; Ps. 32:5 Matt. 10:32; John 1:20; Acts 24:14; Rom. 14:11; Heb. 11:13; 13:15

Scriptures on accountability: Proverbs 25:12; 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12; Romans 14: 13-23;2 Corinthians 12:19-13:6; Galatians 6:1-6; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:15-16; Hebrews 3:13

© 2006, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org

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