I read an article recently by Kevin DeYoung in which he addressed the subject of the confession of our sins as believers (TGC, May 10, 2014). This is what he said:
“God loves us fully in Christ, but this does not mean we are incapable of doing things that are displeasing to God. We can get out of step with the Spirit. We can grieve him too. Even after we have been redeemed, our sin continues to be offensive to God. And this has an effect.
Think of adoption. You complete the paper work, pay the money and the child is yours. You are not sending him back. Never, ever, ever….You will always love him deeply, more than he can possibly realize. But you can still get upset, still be offended, still be very pleased or very displeased. In the same way, God still notices our sin and it disrupts our fellowship with him.”
It seems that sin is a big deal to God even for the believer who has been saved from his sins. Here are some reasons why confession of sin is so necessary & vital for our well-being:
First, our sin is a disruption of fellowship. DeYoung was right. Even though we are “in fellowship” with God in our relationship, sin disrupts the enjoyment of that fellowship. We no longer enjoy the intimacy of “sonship” or appreciate the blessings of our redemption. For example, sin blinds us to gratitude. Remember Israel’s sin of complaining in the wilderness where they detested God’s provision of manna and pined for the leaks and garlics of Egypt? (Hey, I cannot imagine pining for leaks & garlics -pizza maybe). Their complaint was sin and that disrupted the enjoyment of their fellowship with God. God could not do anything right in their eyes. The leaders God gave them were fools. The provisions God gave them were tasteless. The path God led them on was meaningless. The promises God gave were discounted. The victories God won were long forgotten. The presence of God among them was ignored. Disruption…Disruption…Disruption!
Second, our sin is a precursor to disaster. The disrupted fellowship in the family of Israel brought discipline to them…and yet… they remained the people of God. Ps. 99: 8 shows us the balance of grace and truth resident in our God in terms of our sin: “O LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God, but you punished them when they went wrong.” James reminds us of the progressive path that sin pursues when we surrender to it in our lives when he says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it it fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). Why do I call sin a precursor to disaster? Because sin is partnered with death. They walk hand in hand. They are “buddies,” “inseparable pals,” connected by a deep passion for each other. If you partner with sin, then look out because connected to sin is his old partner “death.’ Israel got their wish for flesh to eat (quail) but oh, how sick they became on that meal. Later, they were bitten by poisonous snakes and many of them died. What a precursor to disaster our sin becomes. They discovered the partnership between sin and death to be crushing and destructive.
Third, our sin is a drag on the wonderful life God has given to us. DeYoung likens our sin to barnacles on our ship of life which keeps us from moving forward in our growth: “The cleansing, mind you, is not like the expunging of a guilty record before the judge. That’s already been accomplished. This cleansing is more like the scraping of barnacles off the hull of a ship so it can move freely again. I John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (barnacles).
Confession of sin is a big deal. It is so because God declares it to be so. And it is so because of the tragic and terrible consequences that come from a lack of confession of sin.
DeYoung’s conclusion is worth noting:
“Some of us become Christians and just go on our merry way, never thinking of sin, while others fixate on our failings and suffer from despair. One person feels no conviction of sin; the other person feels no relief from sin. Neither of these habits should mark the Christian. The Christian should often feel conviction, confess, and be cleansed.” THINK IT THRU