Clarifying Confusion on Confession

2:56 PMHeather

Lest any of you doubt, why yes, I was a preacher's kid.  As today's blog post title attests, I can do alliteration with the best of them--because it's in my blood.  

On the topic of this blog post, I have to say that I feel I have spent much of my adult life unraveling confusion and misunderstandings about faith from my childhood.  I grew up in a strong Christian home--it's not that anyone misled me.  It's more that I took the information and training given to me and saw them through my own immature perspective.  Kinda like I was confused by osmosis because maybe some things weren't clearly explained.  I don't think I knew enough to ask questions or have an open dialog on these matters.  But as my faith became my own in my college years, I realized for the first time that some cloudy things were just that--cloudy and perhaps not on track exactly with Scripture.  Can anyone relate here?

One of these things was the idea of confession.  It's honestly just been in the last few years that I'm beginning to understand the difference between when we confess our sins while asking Jesus to be our Lord to begin our walk with him and when we are called to daily confess our sins.  

Here's the verse that I remember being taught about confessing our sins to accept Him as Lord and be saved:

If you declare [confess] with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” 
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, 
you will be saved.
Romans 10:9 

Okay.  Got it.  But if we do that...then what does it mean to confess our sins continually?  Does that mean salvation comes and goes--you have to continually confess in order to earn salvation?  That became a clear question as I matured.    What does it really mean to follow 1 John 1:9?

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins andpurify us from all unrighteousness. 

I can remember being taught that this particular verse talked about the ongoing act of confession.  Yi yi yi.  Really confused.  Maybe it's just me...but as I continue my journey with the Lord, I realize just how much I have to yet to learn--or relearn.  SO much to unravel, so many light bulb moments are needed.

If any of this makes sense--if ANY of you have wrestled with this--or your children are, then I have some insight to share.  Recently, I heard a really great word picture to help me clarify the confusion on confession.

When we reach a point of confessing Him as our Savior--as we tell our kids--telling Jesus we want Him to be the boss of our lives forever and confessing that we are a sinner, that is the confession or declaration of salvation, as noted in Romans 10:9.   

As we journey with Christ, our relationship will hopefully deepen and become more intimate with Him.  And by way of tending to that relationship and growth, we are to agree with God when we sin.  In the original language, the word used for ongoing confession of sin conveyed this concept of agreeing with God.  This is the ongoing confession of sin--it's the daily, regular acknowledgment of where we've veered off course and displeased Him.  Of course, He knows those things and has already forgiven them.  We don't have to earn our salvation by continually confessing.  We are just agreeing with Him--growing with Him to say, "hey, it was wrong when I did that.  I agree with you.  I want to do differently."  Much as we would do with our spouse or kids or friends--to keep obstacles out of the way of our intimacy and fellowship.  And, ongoing confession paves the way to avoid grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit in us.  Want to be filled with the Spirit?  Want to live a Spirit filled and directed life?  Then you gotta clear out those sin habits that grieve and quench the Spirit from doing His job.  And, as hard as it is for my perfectionistic personality to accept--this practice of confession will be never ending this side of heaven.  This is not a task to clear off the list.  Rather, it's a regular item to tend to, day after day.  That's life on earth--wrestling with our sin nature, striving to be more like Him. 

INTENTIONAL challenge:  This epiphany came to mind again during my great purging project.  As I was carting out bag after bag of clutter, I thought of how motivated I am to purge as I go in order to avoid this accumulation of junk.  I remembered the rule I heard about when you bring one thing into the house, you take one thing out of the house.  I contemplated how I could make purging a more regular practice.  And, then the A-HA that this is exactly what I must do in my prayer life.  I must continually, regularly take out the trash--acknowledge and agree with Him about the sin and my fleshly tendencies, lest it accumulate to the point that it is a barrier between Him and me--lest it quench or grieve the Spirit.  Oh, He's already forgiven me.  Those sins are taken care of.  And, it's not that He doesn't know.  No, it's for MY own good that I continually purge these things, being ever more mindful of the sin habits that need to be addressed.  Lord, as I walk with you--give me eyes to see where I sin.  Help me see what I do or say or think that quenches or grieves the Spirit.  Give me your perspective to hate these habits and give me your strength to turn from them!  May I purge as I go.

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