“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.” (1 John 1:8-9)
Recognising our positive qualities seems more popular these days than to recognise our faults. However, a regular, sincere and humble habit of confession before our holy God is vital for us to remain in a close relationship with him, and to stay effective in our divine service. So, how do we confess? Here is a very brief guide based on the above passage:
‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves’
The secular world will not make us sensitive to the seriousness of sin before God, so first we need to take time to evaluate our lives by thinking about our daily thoughts, our deeds and our words in the context of God’s Word and ask that the Holy Spirit brings us to a conviction of what needs to be addressed.
‘If we confess our sins’
Having come to a personal conviction, we must openly, sincerely and humbly admit our sins to God. We must not seek to trivialise them, or justify them, or blame others for them! This is often difficult for us to do because of our human pride, but it is also liberating!
‘He is faithful and just to forgive us’
When we have confessed our sin, we need to trust in the amazing grace of God and gratefully accept his forgiveness by not continuing to beat ourselves up about it in an unhealthy manner!
‘My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.’ (1 John 2:1)
For confession to be sincere, there must be a genuine attempt to do everything we can to change our behaviour in the future. We should ask God to enable us to change.
Andy Seddon, The Church of God in Swindon