May 19, Tuesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on April 2, 2013, is provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary(D.Min.).

Devotional Thought of This Morning

“About Confession of Sin”

Psalm 32:3-5 (NIV)

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

gryffyn-m-DgWkgSYvSRY-unsplashGuilt and shame are terrible weights to endure.

  There is a reason that “blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven”!  The Psalmist makes clear the way out: confession.

When we come into the light with our sins, we are able to receive forgiveness (spiritual, emotional and psychological).  When we keep our sins hidden within our hearts, and leave them unconfessed before God, we are not bringing them into his forgiving light.    

Do we need to confess every sin?  What if we forget one or two (or many)?  Does that mean we won’t receive full forgiveness?  No.  We are saved (which includes being forgiven) by grace . . . not by the work of confession.  But it is through confession of our sinfulness that we declare that God is the one able to set us free.  It is a sign of trust, hope and faith (and faith in Jesus is an important part of the salvific process).  When we fully trust in God’s forgiveness, then we can also be set free from the psychological weight of guilt and shame.

Don’t allow yourself to be hindered by your past.  Confess your sins before God and receive His forgiveness today!

Ps: Two words seem anathema to modern day Americans: “sinner” and “confess.” Lest, this point doesn’t come out clearly, let me say from the outset: it is crucial to our understanding of the gospel and Jesus Christ that we know that we are sinners saved by the work of Jesus Christ.  We cannot grasp the importance of the cross and the overwhelming nature of God’s grace unless we know deep in our hearts how far we are from deserving it.  When we are afraid to confess our sins, it shows our mistrust of God.

But God’s promise is that if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just and will forgive.  If we believe this, we will confess our sins.  We will confess our sins even to one another (c.f. James 5:16), for we will know that it is never by our own actions that we can claim righteousness but only through what Christ bought for us on the cross.

Prayer: Father, I confess my sinfulness to You.  I am in need of your grace and mercy.  I ask that You would bring healing into my heart and my mind. I want to live this day in Your joyful presence. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Isaiah 26


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 John 1:8-10 (NIV): If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does John say that if we claim to be without sin that we are deceiving ourselves (c.f. Romans 3:10-12)?
  2. In this passage, what does John imply is the opposite of claiming to be without sin?
  3. How important to our relationship with God is it for us to comprehend that we are sinners saved by Grace?

Notes

  1. Romans 3:10-11 tells us that we are all sinners.  No one in the history of humanity was without sin (except for Jesus).   We all fall short of the glory of God.  When we claim that we are without sin (as I’ve heard some Christians claim), we are on dangerous ground, for it shows that tendency in our hearts to desire righteousness on our own terms.
  2. John contrasts “claim to be without sin” with “confess our sins”.  In other words, the opposite of the proud self-righteous person is the person who humbly confesses his sin.  When we confess our sins, we are declaring our trust in a God who is “faithful and just” and will “forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  When we confess our sins, we are putting our faith not in our own righteousness but in the righteousness of God.
  3. John warns us that if we are not confessing our sins to God, then we are making God out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.  Confession of sinfulness is an important aspect of what it means to have faith in the God revealed through scripture.

Evening Reflection

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As the old Scottish maxim goes, “confession is good for the soul.”  Are you resisting confessing your sins?  Are there sins so terrible in your life that you could never confess them to another?  If so, ask God to help you to fully trust him.  Write of the ways that you doubt God’s promises.  Confess any waywardness and any doubts hindering your faith and surrender them to God.

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