CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
1 Jno 1:9
INTRO: So many maxims are part of our thinking and our lives. The dictionary defines a maxim as a rule for life, or a short saying of proverbial nature. One of these maxims, or sayings, I have heard since my youth is, confession is good for the soul. Certainly, that is the wisdom of scripture, too. However, there may be some conditions which must be present if this maxim is true. Think about this maxim and the wisdom of scripture for a little while.
I. SOME CONDITIONS TO CONSIDER
A. Requires accepting Gods assessment of conduct
1. much misbehavior is not confessed because it is not seen as misbehavior
2. Gods assessment is not recognized by society
3. whats wrong with it is often an indignant reply
4. Lk 12:54-57 refusal to acknowledge by their conduct what is right! no acceptance of Gods assessment
5. Ps 51:4 here is the contrast
B. Requires dealing with our pride
1. much misbehavior is not confessed because pride does not want to admit misbehavior
2. admitting being wrong is hard for lots of us!
3. Prov 29:23 pride can be our ruination
4. no wonder meekness and humility are so often extolled in scripture - Col 3:12
5. Ps 51:1-3 my sin is ever before me
C. Requires confidence in Gods forgiveness
1. with heads we may believe; with hearts we may have trouble with trust
2. Im so bad. He would never forgive me.
3. why are there so many examples of Gods forgiveness in scripture? so, 1 Tim 1:15
4. if we have trouble believing God will forgive, we really cast doubt on veracity of scripture
5. 1 Jno 1:9 maybe the problem is still with our pride, or, a desire to continue in sin ... but the problem is not with Gods unwillingness to forgive
D. Requires a course of amendment, change
1. repentance is essential for confession that is good for the soul
2. consider Ps 51:17 - sorrow for sin! sorrow toward God (2 Cor 7:10)
3. Ex 9:27 a confession; but there was no change!
4. Mt 27:4,5 a confession; but no change!
5. it seems this is not uncommon - but for the soul to benefit there must be repentance
II. THE BLESSING?
A. Obviously, Gods forgiveness
1. guilt before God is cleansed
2. without this forgiveness the soul is still in jeopardy
B. The lifting of the burden of the guilt
1. sincere, sensitive people will feel the burden of guilt because of their sin
2. confession of the sin (in such a person) results in relief that is very real (Ps 51:12)
3. freedom from this burden permits a person to go forward confidently, constructively
C. Fellowship with god remains intact
1. as a spiritual being, that fellowship is needed
2. to sense, to know the fellowship is endangered by my sin is grave - Isa 59:2
3. confession of my sin is the way of maintenance!
CLOSE: I believe, that with an understanding of these things, confession truly is good for the soul.
Cecil A. Hutson
25 April 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)