Summary: Understanding confessing and repentance - what they are and what they are not
Confession and Repentance
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Before I begin, let me share that a good portion of what is contained herein was gleaned from an article by Brad Hambrick on October 15, 2017, entitled Manipulative Repentance: 8 Red Flag Phrases. The article was published online at: ChurchLeaders.com.
I read and re-read this article several times and highly recommend it. If we are totally honest with ourselves, we will quickly be humbled by identifying similar phrases within our own prayer life.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “I John 1:9
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” Hosea 6:1
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2Corinthians 7:10
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before.” Acts 3:19-20
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
Our understanding of “confessing” comes more from our traditional teachings than from understanding the Greek origin of the word. Actually, the Greek word for confess is homologeo. Homologeo translated correctly means to agree or be in assent. That hardly fits how we weave it into our prayer life, understanding that we CONFESS our sins by openly naming them and ADMITTING to God that we have committed them. While I believe that is healthy and falls simply into a matter of semantics, we should understand the basis for what we profess. So, whether we call it confessing or admitting, it is a good practice.
Now let’s look at this word REPENTANCE. We begin by understanding that there are two types of repentance: 1) Worldly Repentance and 2) Godly Repentance.
Let’s just go ahead and admit it. We are all guilty of “worldly repentance” here and there through the years. Worldly repentance has more to do with being sorry for getting caught than for the act itself. Ouch! That’s hard to admit, isn’t it?
Godly repentance is that deep sorrow that creates within us a compulsion to change our behavior.
We can verbally repent of our sins all day long but if there is no change in our behavior, there is no true repentance. Most of us have those things that we continue to THINK, SAY or DO repeatedly, day in and day out. We say we want to” repent” and change but it never happens. Why is that?
Is it because we haven’t been caught? Is it because we have a pat little response that we think gives us an out.
One of my pet phrases is: “I cannot say that I don’t want to sin or else I wouldn’t be sinning. What I do say is that “I don’t want to want to sin”, but I do or else I wouldn’t be doing it. So, I pray that God will take away the desire to want to: (NAME THAT SIN). But that’s simply words, isn’t it? We cannot simply turn it over to God and leave it in His hands.
We must make every conscious effort to ask God’s Holy Spirit to help us every minute of every day to be the overcomer that we pray for.
Finally, one more weakness to guard against: Kidding on the Square. We use humor trying to make a point and if it backfires, we simply excuse it away by saying, “Come on, I was only joking!” Have you ever done that?
Finally, please don’t box yourself in by saying that you don’t consider yourself a sinner because your sins are insignificant. No sin is insignificant and that attitude bounces all over that giant sin of PRIDE.
Let us pray