Monday, April 6, 2015

I Have Confessed My Sins - Now What Do I Do?

Confession is important. It is admitting we have done something wrong. God teaches in the Bible that there are two types of confession. One confession is a humanly sorrow; another type of confession is a godly sorrow. The type of confession will make a big difference in what happens after the confession is made.

2 Types of Confession (9hey on Deviantarat)

In both types, a person can feel genuinely bad, remorseful and hurt from the pain they feel and the pain they have caused others. A person can also admit to their sins in both and say they are sorry. They also feel guilt and shame.

So, What is the Difference? This is how Paul explains it in his second letter to the Corinthians, since his first letter to them confronted their sins.
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. (2 Corinthians 7-11)
The key is what the sorrowful confession leads to. Look back at the verses above. What does godly sorrow lead to?

Repentance!

If a person does not turn (which is what repentance means) away from the sin and toward doing what is right in the eyes of God they are simply sorry that they got caught sinning. Confession may make their conscience feel lighter because they are no longer hiding around and keeping secrets from people, but if the sorrowful confession of sin does not lead to repentance it is not genuine and godly. It is a worldly confession that will only keep the person in sin. If a person confesses sin and does not change the sinful behavior, the confession is short-term, and will not bring about life-changing godly results. It can even be a confession of freedom hoping it will allow the fruit of the sin to be fully gained out in the open.

When we confess to God, we are so full of regret that we have hurt Him and desire only to be right in His eyes. We lay down our desires and want our life to line up with Scripture as best as we can. We flee from our sins, are repulsed by them and want to do them no more. We rely on God's grace to enable us to turn away from our sinful ways and to turn to God's holy ways. We want to make restitution to those we have harmed and are not seeking approval or acceptance from others. It is enough to know we have been forgiven by God and to know we are trying to live a life pleasing to Him. But truly, you cannot have repentance without belief. You must first believe Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins and that you cannot save yourself.

For many, especially unbelievers, confession is a false admittance of guilt while really being horribly upset about being caught in doing something wrong. Do you see how the focus is on the sinner? False confession can be manipulative and simply an act of contrition to really get what the person wants. It is twisted and controlling. Do you see what the sorrow of the world brings? It brings death, not life. It is a dead-end that only keeps your life in sin. When we have intention of stopping our sin and our actions instead of perpetuate the sin we are confessing, we are not confessing in a worldly way, but the way that pleases God. True confession is not about cleaning up your life, and trying to earn forgiveness through self-effort.

Real confession begins and ends in faith in Jesus Christ. It is recognizing that Jesus died for your sins, and therefore, you trust God to forgive you. It leads to repentance that is a change of mind --agreeing with God -- that leads to a change of behavior. It is so freeing, so uplifting, so renewing! Real confess brings about forgiveness from GOD and a new beginning in which we can grow more mature and restore those we have hurt by our sins. Real confession helps us draw closer to God, and opens our life to blessings. As long as we are open and honest with God, He will help us grow in faith and character. He will use our repented sins to conform us into Christlikeness.

So what do you do after you confess your sins? It depends, but if it is a godly confession, you repent: stop sinning, turn to living an obedience life and bring restitution to those who have been injured.

Don't be fooled by worldly sorrow that brings an unfruitful confession. If you are not ready to repent, you are not really confessing sin to God, you are making a show to the world and yourself for your own benefit.

We all can be forgiven; God makes our sins whiter than snow.
(On Deviantart by ennabird)

Forgiveness

Examine your heart and allow God to teach you. Confession is wonderful because it brings forgiveness and grace, and then a wonderful opportunity to begin again. Look back again at the Bible verse. Read the very last sentence.

Is that not wonderful?!? After confession and repentance, you will be living innocent in the matter! And that is to the glory God. Genuine confession brings eternal forgiveness from God. You don't have to keep confessing or have to do acts of contrition to deserve--somehow become worthy of--forgiveness. In God's eyes you are forgiven, you are innocent of that sin. So forgive yourself and begin again. 

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