“When anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.” Leviticus 5.5
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4.8
“Jesus said, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1.15
Confession. It’s one of the core disciplines of the church. Some churches have it marked as a sacrament. According to Catholicscomehome.org, “Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, established the Sacrament of Confession, so that we as sinners can obtain forgiveness for our sins and reconcile with God and the Church. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ.”
But the people of God have long been practicing before the Catholic church, Jews practiced confession, penance and the remission of sins. Leviticus 5.5 tells us that when you “become aware” that you are guilty of sin, “confess in what way” you have sinned. Jesus says in Mark 1.15, “repent (from sin) and believe in the gospel.” And James 4.8 reminds us that if we “come near to God he will come near” to us. The act of confession results in a drawing near to God as we wash our hands and purify our hearts through confession.
Richard Foster, a great spiritual director and Christian author of our time says, “Confession is the spiritual discipline that allows us to enter into the grace and mercy of God in such a way that we experience forgiveness and healing for the sins and sorrows of the past.” (https://renovare.org/articles/understanding-confession)
Confession leads to repentance. Before we can receive forgiveness we must confess. Before we can experience the full grace, healing and redemption made available through Jesus Christ, we must turn from our sin and confess our sins to God. James 5.16 reminds us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” And perhaps one of the most known verses on confession is 1 John 1.9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession requires our attention and our action. It also requires God’s response which is certainty if we confess to him. In Acts 3.19, Luke tells us, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Although forgiveness is at hand, offered to us by God, we must do the repenting, the confessing, the turning.
No sin is unforgivable except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus mentioned, and which honestly no one fully understands! So with that being said, no sin is unforgivable. This season of Lent, turn from your sin and towards the Savior. Allow him to heal past sins and make you new again. Allow the spiritual discipline of confession, which leads to forgiveness, to be a part of your daily practice. As Acts 3.19 encourages us — “that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us! Thank you for allowing us to walk in your ways and find forgiveness at your hand. Jesus, you made this all possible by becoming the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Thank you for dying so I might live. I am but a humble servant, broken but made new by you. Thank you for loving me, for allowing me to walk in grace, and for practicing confession during this season of Lent. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen