How Confession and Forgiveness Work

This past Sunday at Asbury, I preached the last message in our series Thankful. In this series, I talked about the things that we have to be thankful for, we have so many gifts, God has given us a purpose, and finally, I talked about our healing.

The word salvation in the Bible can also be understood as being made “whole.” It isn’t just that God has saved us, but He has made us whole. He had healed us. He has forgiven us.

Forgiveness is a powerful concept. But, how does it work? What is the role that we play in our forgiveness? What is the role that God plays in our salvation?

One of the things that we have done have done is that we have made forgiveness, salvation, all the stuff of God something that we have to earn. We have to do something to be forgiven.

No. We have to accept it. God has forgiven us. The work is done. So, then, what is our role. Are we to do anything? We just get to sit back? Everyone, everything is perfect? No, not really. Listen to what it says in 1 John 1: 8-9:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

ReconciliationWe have a response to make to God’s offer of forgiveness. We don’t “make” God forgive us. We don’t earn it. We don’t do anything to cause it to happen.

We just have to accept it.

And that’s our response. We confess it, not for God’s benefit, but for our’s. Confession is for our good, not for God’s. Confession lets us receive it.

This is why we confess. It makes us take ownership. It makes us look in the mirror and say this – I was wrong. I make a mistake. I failed. It blew it.

If we don’t truly, truly know that we are wrong, we can’t truly, truly feel forgiven. We have to confess. We have to receive it. We have to do our part, for us to truly know and feel that forgiveness.

God has forgiven you. But to truly know it, you have to confess. You have to accept. Without that, you won’t know the true power of His forgiveness.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

What Should We Do?

Today, you may be facing a variety of things. Today, you may be facing a challenge that looks to great for you. What should you do in that?

Or today may be the most amazing day that you could possibly ever imagine. It may be the greatest day in your life. What should you do?

Or perhaps you are facing some type of illness or sickness. Or someone you love is facing a disease. What should you do?

Maybe you feel guilt over a sin that you committed, something that you’ve done that makes you want to hide your face from God. What should you do?

Listen to what James 5:13-16 says today:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

prayIn each of these situations, in suffering, in praise, in sickness, in sin, in whatever we face, what should we do? We should pray. No matter what it is that we face today, good or bad, joy or pain, challenge or reward, we should pray.

We pray for strength to meet whatever it is that we face.

We pray prayer of praise for the goodness and blessings God has given us.

We pray prayers of confession for the forgiveness we need for sin.

We pray, because no matter what it is that we are going through, not matter what it is that is on our agenda, no matter what it is that is happening, this is the one thing that we all need.

We all need to see God’s face. We all need His grace. We all need His power and love.

We all need Him.

Today, what should we do? Today. We should pray.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Fresh Starts

God is a God of fresh starts. He wants us to start fresh and new, every single day. He wants to forgive us, restore us, and all us to restart.

That’s who He is. That’s the kind of God that He is. That’s what He longs to do with us, for us, and through us. He’s a god of fresh starts.

Listen to what He tells Jeremiah in chapter 3:12-14:

Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the Lord. Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.

Fresh StartJeremiah is speaking to the northern kingdom of Israel. He is telling them, confess what you’ve done, confess your sins, your wrong doings, your mistakes. Give them to God and He will forgive.

That’s what He does. He’s a God of fresh starts. Confess. Move on. Start new.

But why, why do we have to confess? Why do we have to do that? Why does God make us confess?

I’ve got a theory. I don’t think God makes us confess our sins for His sake. He doesn’t “need” us to do that for His sake. My theory is this. Perhaps it’s for our sake. Perhaps, in admitting these sins to God, we get to be honest. We admit that we aren’t perfect. We can’t lie. We can’t pretend. We’ve made mistakes.

And in those mistakes, instead of the judgement of the world, we find the grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We find that God love us more than He hates our mistakes.

God is a God of fresh starts. When we confess our sins, we being that fresh start. We find grace. Mercy. Love. Compassion.

Today, may we confess our sins and weakness to God. May we give them over to Him. And in that, may we find His mercy, there waiting on us.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

A Prayer of Confession

I read this prayer this morning on a site I use in the morning for my daily devotional. It really resonated with me today.

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.