Summary: What two things do Christians confess? Let’s look at what Jesus said when He appeared to His disciples in John 20:19-31.
What two things do Christians confess? Let’s look at what Jesus said when He appeared to His disciples in John 20:19-31.
John 20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Why did Jesus say, “peace be with you,” on Resurrection Sunday and the following Sunday. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines it as "the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is."
The apostles began their letters with peace. Christians offer peace to friend and foe. Many churches offer peace before communion. Jesus came to the disciples in their fears and brought them peace from heaven. They were then sent with the message of peace, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
Confession was originally before all. As churches grew, people confessed privately to God for most sins and publicly for grievous sins. From the 7th-11th centuries, western Christians began confessing to a priest. For practical purposes, eastern Christians confess sins to God, witnessed by a priest who represents the entire community.
This instruction was given to all those assembled. It literally means, “their sins have already been forgiven” by heaven. The Christian community, in power of the Holy Spirit is sent with this message of forgiveness. Those who confess their sins are forgiven. Those who refuse to confess sins remain unforgiven.
John 20:24-25 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Thomas saw, but faith is evidence of things without visible proof (Hebrews 11:1), a mystery. This is written that we might believe and that believing we might have life through his name. We accept the message of Jesus, delivered by ordinary faulty people, and are forgiven when we do.
Throughout early church records we read of Christians confessing their sins publicly to the church, to a representative of the church as numbers grew, and privately to God. [The Early Church Fathers on Confession, The Early Church Fathers on Confession/Reconciliation]
“Confess… iniquity and the iniquity of… forefathers” (Leviticus 26:40). “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” (Psalm 32:5). “confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins…” (1 John 1:9).
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32) “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
Confession is an ancient part of a godly life. People confessed their sins publicly, to God in front of God’s representative, and privately. Confession is good for the soul. We confess our sins and our Savior. After we confession our sins we are forgiven and confess our faith in Christ.
John 20:28-29 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
All the disciples abandoned Jesus, but He offered His peace. Thomas confessed personally, “My Lord and my God!” Not “our” but “my” God. This legitimizes having a personal relationship with God. We, who believe though we have not seen, receive a special blessing. We confess though we have not seen.
Jesus stands among us as he stood among them, granting us the peace which surpasses all understanding. We confess that we have all sinned and we openly confess our faith in the forgiveness given us in Jesus.
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