The Vertical Relationship between God and Man – By Mark Simmon
What do you think of when you hear the word, “Confession”? There are basically two concepts conveyed by this word. One is to make a proclamation of faith in something such as in a religious creed. The second is an acknowledgement of guilt. Again, these are the basic concepts. Very often I find that secular definitions miss the mark when trying to convey a Scriptural idea. However in this case, I think Merriam-Webster.com hits a home run with their very first line of definition: “1a : an act of confessing; especially : a disclosure of one’s sins in the sacrament of reconciliation” I like the way they put that, the sacrament of reconciliation.
In the Old Testament, the reconciliation was always man, in particular the nation of Israel, being restored back into a right relationship with God – i.e. recovering from their sinful disobedience. In the New Testament, reconciliation between God and man was still in play but now Jesus adds the requirement of being reconciled to each other as Christ-followers – and to our fellow man. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the confession man makes to God.
Why do we need to make a confession to God? What is the real purpose for it? If God is truly omniscient (all knowing), then He already knows what I have done. Why do I need to remind Him of it? Why does He need to hear me confess it? The real answer is that HE doesn’t need to hear it – we do. The big question is “Why?”
I believe that many people, maybe even the majority of them, have a cause-and-effect mentality. They confess their sins to God hoping to avoid punishment in this world. It’s in our nature, man has always desired to avoid corporal punishment. (I would like to admit my guilt over the speeding ticket but avoid paying the fine and higher insurance costs.) This sounds nice, but it really falls completely short of the truth.
For the Christ-follower, it should be a completely different attitude. Yes, sin is missing the mark and falling short of adhering to God’s plan for our lives and His direction for life. However, it should go much deeper than that. When we make the other confession – the one that commits us to taking Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we become a joint-heir with Him. Specifically, we become an adopted brother of Jesus, with God as our only Father. Did you catch that? God is OUR Father too and as such it should be our desire to do the things He has asked us to do and live as He has asked us to live.
Confession is meant to clear the air.
The heartfelt confession of wrongs to a friend will restore a friendship.
The heartfelt confession of shortcomings before God will restore that relationship and bring peace to our hearts. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Please understand that this is not just a reminding God of what we’ve done. Believe me, He already knows. However, when we confess that we have fallen short of what our Father has asked us to do and admit our true feelings of guilt and remorse caused by those actions, He will cleanse our hearts and restore us back into a relationship of grace and peace with Him.
There is no more precious place than in a peaceful relationship with our Lord and Father. If your life is not filled with that peace, I urge you to pray to God and ask Him to send someone to help you find the grace and peace He promises.