Confessing Sin

Welcome back to another article entry! It is my hope and prayer that these serve you well as you continue on your walk with Jesus.

Today, we embark upon a dangerous and scary journey, as we discuss the power of confessing sin and the necessity that it is. Why is it so dangerous and scary? What holds us back from keeping secret sin hidden? Why is there hope that we will find healing from sin through confession? Why is it really necessary, can’t we just confess to God only? There are so many questions about this topic, but let me make one thing clear: Consistent Christian living consists of consistent confession of sin! Stay tuned, and read down below to find out why and how consistent confession of sin will catalyze your growth as a disciple of Christ.

Friend, confession of sin is scary because it goes against our very nature. We were born as children of darkness, but confession of sin is all about light and exposing darkness. You see, Satan and sin assure us that we’re safe behind the mask of lies, or sometimes even safe behind a bedroom door, but we’re not. Sin causes us to scramble chaotically, and disconnect being honest with God. It also causes us to doubt whether or not we really need to be honest with others, too. Oftentimes, amid sin, our hearts and our minds grow callous and cold towards the leading of the Holy Spirit. The danger is that we will start to tell lies, and eventually believe them. We resist the Spirit and suddenly think that we aren’t as bad as we could be or as bad as others are.

I encourage you today my brother and sister, confessing sin to another believer rips off the mask of hypocrisy. Why is this important? Because hypocrisy is a killer and your reputation is truly worthless. What do I mean by that? Well, our reputation can be important as we are to be known by the godly fruits we produce, our godly character, and being an ambassador for Christ. But, what I am talking about, is when we are more concerned with what others think of us on the outside, and on the inside we are ridden with unconfessed sin. Oftentimes, we are so afraid to confess sin because it will tarnish our reputation or how we look to others. I’ve heard it put before that some of us are more willing to suffer for Christ than we are to tarnish how we appear to others. But the reality is that our facade doesn’t block God from seeing. However, it can block us from His grace. For He knows and sees all of our sin for what it is.

Furthermore, The act of confessing sin allows for three things to be released. One is honesty. It enlivens our hearts, enriches our Spirit man, and removes the blinding power of sin so we can see Christ more beautifully and more holy. In fact, the entire goal of confessing sin is to see God so holy and so glorious that we want to rid ourselves of anything that is unlike Him! Two is humility, which by nature uproots or undoes the pride that keeps sin alive and attractive to our souls. Three is healing. Now, I’m not saying that when you're sick, it is explicitly because of sin, or when you’re sick that if you confess, suddenly your disease goes away. However, I am saying that in James 5:16, we read “Confess your sin to one another and pray for another that you may be healed.” The word for healing in the Greek used here is iaomai. This word is used roughly 30 different times in the New Testament and can mean both physical bodily healing and spiritual healing from sin.

Now, hang with me for a moment. James is most likely referring to confessing sins that have tainted or hurt the individuals those sins have injured. For example, If you sin against your spouse or friend specifically, you need to confess that. But, public wrongdoings that harm the church and confidential confession to godly counsel and prayer partners also apply here as well as the last part of the verse, which tells us that the fervent prayers of others will be effective in finding victory over sin. Now, do not think that James puts the burden on us to tell every sin that we commit to people. We are first to confess to God and trust Him to forgive and change, but confession is necessary especially when our own spirits are grieved and convicted. This is the Holy Spirit making it clear that we have sinned and God has called us for better. However, some suggest or object that if we confess our sins to God, we don’t need to confess to others. While this may be true at times, the overwhelming witness of Scripture is plain. 1 John 1:6-7 tells us, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Thanks be to God that walking in the light allows us to fellowship with one another and that the blood of Jesus cleanses us of our sin!

So what are some helpful tips when it comes to confessing sin?

1. Confess first and foremost to the Lord.
After all, all sin is directly against God. Even if it affects others personally, it always affects God and His heart first. You see when in Psalms 51, King David confesses that he has sinned against the LORD and the LORD alone. But thanks be to God, that 1 John tells us that if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9).

2. Confess to fellow church members
When you decided to follow Christ, you also decided to intertwine yourself with the global and local church. The church is God’s creation and design for His people to gather and worship, strengthen one another, and advance the kingdom to all the ends of the earth through the message of the gospel. We are a part of a kingdom family that has no end and is Christ’s bride. The one He is returning for! We already mentioned James 5, but there is a real reality presented, that confessing sin to one another brings forth a desperate healing. One that may take time, but one that is so worth it! Get comfy now, because your primary people are going to be the local church!

3. Be specific but not explicit
When confessing your sin to a trusted group of same-sex prayer partners, you need to be explicit about your sin to truly expose it. 99% exposure still leaves enough room for Satan to choke you and me out. For example, when confessing, don’t just say I’m struggling with lust, say that you gave in to pornography or were sexually immoral. Don’t just confess that you said some things I shouldn’t have. Rather,  say you cursed or lied. Be specific. However, be very careful and do not say things that could provoke others to sin. For example, “It was a lot of fun, but I knew I shouldn’t be doing it,” “I love doing that, but I know God says it’s wrong, so I’ll stop.” “It just relieves me of my stress.” Hopefully, you get the picture of what I mean. Confess your sin specifically, but hate your sin passionately.

4. Accept accountability and godly correction
Proverbs 27:6 says that “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful.” Understand, that confession of sin may bring about accountability. This means someone may be up in your business checking on you. Someone may be contacting you to pray with you when you don’t feel like it. And sometimes, someone may look you in the eye and say that you’re wrong and God has called you to be different. Someone may tell you that some changes need to be made. But friend, these are the faithful wounds of a friend, and not a deceitful kiss allowing you to continue in the sins you are committing. You will have to swallow your pride, but be humble to accept the accountability that comes with confession.

5. Understand the difference between negative obedience and positive obedience
When we think of confessing sin and accountability, we need to hold one another accountable for the things we aren’t doing, and the things we should be doing. What does that mean? Oftentimes, we confess to pornography, lying, drunkenness, immorality, financial misuse, laziness, etc. But we don’t confess to not reading our Bibles. Not praying, skipping church, not witnessing, and all other kinds of Christian disciplines. Instead of just confessing or holding someone accountable to negative obedience, also hold yourself or someone else to positive obedience.

With all of this information, there is one last question(s) I want to address. “When should I confess my sin, or should I confess to others every single time I sin.”
As far as time goes or when it is appropriate to confess your sin to other godly and trusted individuals, you need to do it quickly and not let the sin linger, otherwise, you convince yourself you don’t need to do it anymore. A 24-hour method works well. Also, as far as when you know it’s time to reach out for help, is when you’ve said you won’t do it again, but you did it again. After sinning, confess those things to God immediately, and don’t make Him a promise, because we break promises all the time. Instead, ask Him for a new heart, and a cleansed mind, and ask Him for forgiveness. If you find yourself not falling back into that, then praise God! However, if you find yourself committing that sin again, it would be best to go to the elders of the church, church leadership, or a trusted group of same-sex partners to fervently pray for you to overcome it!

I know it is scary, but it is so worth it! I encourage you to hear the words of the Lord today, inviting you to confess your sin to Him and confess it to your brothers or sisters to find freedom and victory over besetting sin! Remember, you cannot do it alone, and the Holy Spirit Himself will empower you to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Lastly, I encourage you to read and pray that God would illuminate you to His glory and majesty, causing you to have no other choice, but to fall down and worship Him! We want to see Him high and lifted up so that sinful desires have no place in you anymore!

Ben Bausback

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