A young woman sat across from me wringing her hands. Carrie’s strained face revealed the misery of sleepless nights. Years before she’d fallen into an illicit relationship. Her guilt-stricken conscience had forced her to end the affair after a short time. Now years later she sat in my office unable to bear her guilt.
What do you do with guilt? Can anything really remove sin’s ugly stain? 1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Carrie had admitted her sin to God over and over and found no relief. What was wrong?
The word “confess” is the Greek word “homologeo,” meaning “to say the same thing as another,” or “to agree with another.”1 To confess our sin means to agree with what God says about our sin. As I see it, God says two important things about our sin.
First, we agree it is sin and it is serious. Too often we avoid this simple truth. We rename a whole lie into a half truth. We blame others. “If she hadn’t provoked me I wouldn’t have acted that way.” Or sometimes we try to cover our sin with thoughtful gestures.
“He who conceals his sin will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (Proverbs 28:13).
Don’t cover your sin with excuses or sweet deeds. Confess — call it the sin that it is. One sin was enough to cause the death of our Savior, and our own spiritual death. Don’t minimize your sin. Adam ate a piece of fruit that God had set off limits. Look at the staggering consequences of his one disobedient act. At the heart of all sin is the wicked belief that we know better than God. God says sin is serious — confession is agreeing with God.
Second, we agree that Jesus’ death paid for our sin (Hebrews 7:27, 8:12, 10:12-14). Carrie had agreed with God that her affair was wrong. She’d accepted her responsibility, she’d forsaken her sin, but she’d never agreed with God that Jesus had paid her debt in full.
I drew a time line and explained how the moment she’d placed her faith in Christ all her sins past, present and, yes, even future (the ones she would commit as a Christian), were paid for. Christ died one time, for all sin, for all the people.
“How many of your sins were future when Christ died?” I asked. “All — I hadn’t been born yet.”
How many were paid for when Christ died?” “All,” she whispered.
When we sin, we may not feel as close to God but He still loves us and we are still His children. God doesn’t deal with us as a judge to a lawbreaker, but as a father with his disobedient child. Biblical confession restores fellowship with God and peace in our hearts.
Dear Christians, when you sin, confess; agree with God that:
1. What He calls sin is sin. Sin is serious — I’m sorry. I want Your perspective on my actions and attitudes.
2. Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient. Thank you, Father, because of Jesus, I’m clean.
Carrie got on her knees that day and added the second step of confession. She left radiant. When I saw her a couple of weeks later, even her relationship with her husband had vastly improved! Believing that she was clean freed her to be more loving to him.
Put your faith in what God says about your sin by practicing Biblical confession and you will experience the joy of continuous fellowship with your Father and the exhilaration of being clean (Isaiah 1:18).
Debbie W. Wilson
1. Word Studies in Greek N.T. by Kenneth Wuest, p. 10
This blog comes from a newsletter we sent out many years ago.
Sandi Brown says
I think it is easy to not remember or realize that the sin is fogriven and to keep feeling guilty about the same sin.
Thanks for the reminder. It certainly helps me to remember — once I confess, I am clean because of His blood.
Susie Browne says
It’s good to be reminded that once we confess and forsake our sins, we need to let go of the guilt. Praise Jesus — His death paid for all our sins and guilt.
Deborah Dillard says
God is good and does forgive his children and praise be to God that we don’t have to hold on to that sin as we can give it to our Father and have peace again.