The story is told about a Sunday school teacher of a class of small boys who was emphasizing the need of personally confessing our sins to God. As he closed the lesson, and wanting to see if he had put across his point to the boys, he asked, “Now, boys, how many of you have sins you would like to confess to God?” (W. Woodard Henry)
The boys sat as still as a mouse. Finally, one little fellow raised his hand and said, “Teacher, I don’t have any sins to confess for myself, but I know some people who do!”
It’s much easier to spot the sins of others than be able to detect our own sins. Why is that? The answer could boil down to one word: pride.
It’s said that pride hides one’s faults to one’s self, but magnifies them to everyone else. In other words, what you can’t see on account of personal pride, others can clearly see. And, on account of it, everyone else is guilty but yourself. Why, according to the way you view it, you’ve become a victim of their injustice! And that’s unfair!
I read about a governor who visited incognito a large penitentiary. It was his secret plan to pardon a prisoner who met a certain condition known only to himself.
He entered into conversation with a large number of inmates. All of them said that they were victims of injustice, and had been wrongly treated and were innocent of any crime.
Finally, one inmate said, “I have no reason to complain. I have been a wicked, desperate wretch. I believe it is a great mercy I am here, for I deserve to be hanged!”
The governor, disclosing his identity to the honest prisoner, said, “It is a pity you should be here among so many ‘innocent, honest’ men! According to your own confession, you are bad enough to corrupt them all ! You shall not stay with them a day longer!” Having said that, the governor pardoned him and ordered his immediate release. (Walter B. Knight)
Here was a man who set aside his pride and humbly admitted how he deserved his punishment. And seeing the man’s sincerity, the governor pardoned him and set him free. Confession literally saved that man!
While pride stands in the way of confessing our sins, humility moves us to say, “I have sinned!”
It’s reminds me of a parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and the tax-gatherer who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee proudly prayed, “God, I thank you I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”
But the tax-gatherer humbly stood at a distance. He was feeling so ashamed that he could not even look up to heaven. Instead, he beat his chest in grief, pleading, “God be merciful to me, the sinner!”
Jesus said, “I tell you, this man [the tax-gatherer] went down to his house justified rather than the other [the Pharisee]; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
The lesson on confession we learn is this: That if we humbly confess our sins to God, he will pardon us, forgive us, and set us free from the guilt of our sins through Christ Jesus his Son. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
On the other hand, verse 8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The truth is, as it says in verse 7, “If we walk in the light as he [God] himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
When sinners are converted to Christ and confess their sins as followers of Christ, then they are pardoned and set free from the guilt of sin (Psalm 32:5). This has been made possible because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and the blood he shed as the payment price for our forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, confession of sins is imperative for the sake of our own freedom and salvation in Christ.
Dr. Alva Huffer wrote,
“God is able to be ‘just’ when he forgives the Christian’s sin because Jesus paid the penalty for that sin. God will cleanse the Christian from all unrighteousness if the Christian will confess his sins to God.” (Systematic Theology).
He goes on to emphasize how this applies to our daily lives:
“As the believer progresses in the spiritual life, he will constantly recognize additional factors in his life which are contrary to God’s will and which need to be changed. The Christian’s attitude toward sin is hatred of sin in his own life and forgiveness of sin in the lives of others. He will make immediate, specific confession of all known sin to God.” (Ibid.)
Confession of sins, therefore, becomes an important part of Christian growth. It’s not something we try to cover up by pointing to the sins we see in others— like offering to remove “the splinter” from someone else’s eye without seeing clearly to first take “the log” out of your own eye (Matthew 7:1-6). Rather, it requires that we examine ourselves each day so that we can experience the kind of life that enables us to enjoy God’s many blessings.
Good News to YOU!
P.S. Here is Maranatha Vocal Band with a medley of songs, “The Steadfast Love of the Lord,” and “He Is Faithful,” https://youtu.be/yObMyLq4zRI