“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I AM THE WORST. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, THE WORST OF SINNERS, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.” – I Timothy 1:15-16
Confession of sin is not to make man feel less than or unworthy. Confession of sin allows us to understand the need for Christ and also how AMAZING His grace truly is. Only when one recognizes his own sinfulness can he fully understand, accept and mature in the gift of salvation that comes from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
There are a number of self-identifying christians joining this movement stating humans don’t need to confess sins because we are not “sinful”. As a result, we don’t need a savior because we are our own saviors. This theology is dangerous. This denounces the truth that man is sinful and makes the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in vain. There was no need for His death if man is not sinful.
It’s like telling people trapped in a burning building “you don’t need firefighters it’s all in your head! Save yourselves! You can do it.” and leaving them there to die.
I used to regularly pray “forgive me for my sins” – using the word “SINS” which is generic. In essence we’re not “confessing our sin” we’re asking for blanket forgiveness for whatever HE THINKS we’ve done wrong. We’re not admitting anything we’ve done or seeking Him to help us overcome (true repentance) we’re simply praying a redundant prayer that we think sounds good.
Look at it this way, when someone hurts you and they want to make amends, the first thing we look for is an apology. But not any old apology will do. If the person says “I’m sorry for whatever I did ” but they can’t tell you WHY they are sorry, then we often feel they’ve learned nothing and the behavior will repeat. We require acknowledgment of the actions that hurt us to ensure the offender understands WHAT it is they did wrong so they can correct the behavior towards you and do right. Why do we expect confession to Father God, Most High, to be different?
Once, while praying my generic “forgive me for my sins” I was prompted to actually CONFESS them individually. This was on me for a few days before I heeded the prompting of His Spirit (again, sinning because I wasn’t immediately obedient as I should have been). When I did finally obeyed, I noticed my prayers moved from …”Father forgive me for my sins, please help me to do better tomorrow and be pleasing to you” to:
Father forgive me for gossiping about such and such yesterday, help me to tame my tongue in accordance with Your word that says cursing and praise should not come out of the same mouth. I cannot tame my tongue alone for I am human but by Your Spirit, I can overcome and use my mouth for Your glory in accordance with your will. Forgive me for my gluttony, You have blessed us with one human body and I should honor and care for it instead of overeating things that I know I shouldn’t eat. Help me to remember my brothers and sisters who suffer hunger each day, those who may only have one meal or no meals, that I may use whatever extra I have not to indulge myself but bless others that they might be filled with food for the body and food for the spirit. All for Your glory. Father forgive me for my grumbling and complaining about XYZ today, You are so good and gracious in all things to me and I want to acknowledge all the goodness You do. Please help me to see more of Your glory and goodness in each day of my life that my heart may be filled with gratitude and leave no room for complaint. Bless me with a pure heart in You Father, that I shall see your face and my race may not be in vain. Thank you for victory over sin through Christ Jesus, I thank you for freedom from guilt and bondage and I thank You that the word You will begin in me to overcome these sins will be seen through until the end. Father I glorify You! Thank You for your love and devotion to me, thank You for your mercy and truly amazing grace. I am unworthy, but Your love makes me worthy….thank You. Amen.
This REALLY opened up a door in my prayer life and strengthened my spiritual walk with God. NOW we were getting to the nitty gritty. Each time I confessed my sins, I grew stronger in my faith because I recognized in spite of all these things, YHWH LOVES ME! Christ still intercedes for me and reminds me of His amazing and beautiful grace. I feel closer in relationship to Christ because I am honest in who I am. I don’t need to “put on” in prayers as if God doesn’t know who I really am in the heart.
When I started confessing the sins of my heart (down to the deepest ugliest ones that I wouldn’t dare share with the world) I was able to be less defensive and more open to His prompting of things I needed to notice…more importantly I was able to see the selfishness and check the motives of many actions. For me, all this led to an increase in faith and more personable experience with my God YHWH and His Son, Christ.
Confession doesn’t degrade or leave you feeling less than…when you confess to the true and living God with a right heart, He ALWAYS leaves you feeling refreshed and at peace in Him. God is not a man that He can lie and He promises to forgive your sins when you confess them. He will bless you to overcome sin through Him if you ask for His help.
Tip: When you recognize you’re struggling with sin in a given area, seek scripture that counters that sin. When you confess your sins in prayer, ask God to help you overcome in accordance with His word and then pray those very words written down in that verse back to Him.
For instance, if you struggle with gossip…you can acknowledge James 3 that tells us man cannot tame the tongue and then pray Psalms 34:13 Father, help me keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit and also Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”
Continue praying this constantly, consistently…the walk with God is a lot of repetitive strengthening.