Summary: How well do you confess?
Prayer Series - Confession
The second letter in the ACTS acronym stands for confession. We are thrilled to have 1 John 1:9 in the Scripture. We rest in the fact that we can have our sins forgiven if we confess. However, many do not understand what confession really means. It is not just admitting that we did or did not do something. We are guilty whether we admit it or not. Admitting is a good sign of personal responsibility, but it is not confession as John taught.
To confess is to homologeo, which while it does mean to assent as in confessing Jesus to be Lord the word is made up of the Greek words homo - same and logeo - to say. Literally it is to say the same thing. We come to God and say the same thing about our sin that He does. Our sin is wicked and damnable and needs to be forsaken. We have no peace because we only assent that we did it and that it is wrong, but we do not hate it as God does and we do not seek His power to be released from it. Repent literally means to change your mind. We need to change our minds and get ahold of His and see sin and react to sin as He does. He abhors it and judged it on the Cross. We need to develop that kind of mind that will set us free from our sin not just admit that it exists. Admitting is easy. Agreeing is easy. Forsaking requires the power of God.
I have chosen as my example prayer of confession Psalm 51. It is the best known and since David is confessing the two sins in the Old Testament that had no sacrifice for forgiveness it gives us great hope in the mercy of God. David should have died, as he was guilty of two capital offenses, yet God allowed him to live. So also we, because the blood of the Son of God has bought us that are saved or born again are freed from the death sentence of sin. However, we suffer from the consequences of our sins here and lose reward in Heaven. Confession is made to return to fellowship with God and there is no joy in the Christian life without that fellowship. Let us listen to David confess and receive restoration that we might do the same.
1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
David is asking the almighty God to bend down in kindness to Him. Mercy is often described as not getting what we deserved, but the idea here is someone bending down in kindness to an inferior and indeed we are inferior to God. David also said, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?" We are so undeserving of His favor and yet David appeals to God’s lovingkindness not to justice or righteousness, but to His love. Justice and righteousness would only merit us death and damnation. Jeremiah in Lamentations said that God’s mercies are new every morning. Therefore there is a multitude or abundance of mercy in God.
It is through God’s lovingkindness and mercy that our sins are blotted out or literally erased from our account and God’s memory. David did not count on his works, for he said, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3) If salvation were by our works then none would be saved. The blood of Christ blots out our transgressions from birth until death if we are born again. Yet we need to be washed to maintain our blessing of fellowship.
Jesus said that the disciples, soon to be apostles, were clean, but needed to keep their feet clean. (John 13:10) As we walk through this dirty world we will get dirty feet, but confession cleanses us thoroughly from our perversity or iniquity. We are cleansed from our sin and made as one that is innocent and are morally clean and able to approach unto our holy God and His throne of grace.
3. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
He acknowledges or is absolutely aware of his transgressions, which are actually rebellion against God. Each time we sin, we become traitors to the Kingdom and aid and abet our adversary the devil. It is more than disobedience, it is rebellion and we need to see it as such to develop the hatred for sin that we must have to forsake it. James says that to love the world or to be its friend is to hate God and give Him a reason to oppose us. (James 4:4)