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The Meaning of Confession: Releasing God’s Acceptance

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As Christians, it is our responsibility to acknowledge our wrongdoing, so that God can make us acceptable for fellowship with him.

People do wrong things. The sins they produce are the curse of life and human history. What makes Christianity unique is that the Bible provides a way to break sin’s power through the work of Christ and confession of sin. The antidote to all is the confession that we must make. 1 John 1:9 says:

If we should confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous in order that He should send away [to send away as an issue with the Father and the Son] our sins and to cleanse us from every aspect of unrighteousness.

The word for “confess” simply means “acknowledge.”  “Confess” is used by John the Baptist in the Gospel of John in this way.  John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him.  As Jesus came into sight he said to the Pharisees in John 1:20,”I confess [I deny not] that I am not the Christ.”  What does the word “confession” mean?  It means simple “acknowledgment.”

Scripture is very sophisticated because the Bible recognizes that breaking out of denial, or facing reality, is one of life’s most difficult duties.  Counselors know that a major victory has been obtained when a counselee honestly faces his or her wrongdoing.  What makes Christianity unique is that our responsibility is to get up the nerve to say, “Yes, I did it” and “God, restore my conscience.”  Then God’s responsibility is to say, “You’ve been honest with me.  I’ll send away that sin as an issue between you and myself in our personal relationship.  Secondly, I’ll clean you up from every aspect of your wrongdoing so that we can freely fellowship and you can be free to do what is right.”  He makes us acceptable in the face of all kinds of evil; we have God’s acceptance: God’s change agent in the inner life. We can then learn how to have a personal relationship with God, living the life God intended. 

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