Confession and the Blessings of Salvation

October 29, 2016

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   (1John 1:9)

In the original Greek language, what we translate as confess is a compound Greek word: to say and the word for sameness.  It literally means to say the same thing God says or to agree with God.  If you know the Word of God and are in the Spirit enough to be convicted by the Holy Spirit, you can know what God says and how He feels about what you have done.

Your confession is to agree with Him. Our responsibility is to agree with Him.  God does all the rest.

God knows when we are lost.  Because God loves us He very much wants us to agree with Him that He might recover us and lead us into green pastures and still waters that flow to a table of provision and a full cup that never empties.  That’s why God wants us to confess our sins and start climbing in the right direction spiritually.

God is not a divine policeman with a huge club just waiting to crack us over the head when we step out of line.  The ministry of Jesus is summed up in the Gospel of Luke this way: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)  That Gospel shows us in beautiful ways the blessings that come into the lives of lost people because Jesus finds them and leads them to the blessings of salvation.

Dick Woodward, 02 October 2012


Out of the Closet!!!

April 24, 2015

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16 NLT)

When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith.  While millions of secular people in AA apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world?  Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you can trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you.  They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.

Dick Woodward, 14 April 2013


Providential Perspective

December 27, 2013

“Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”  (Romans 8:28, J.B. Phillips)

 
“God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He fashions up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.
 
You fearful saints fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread
Are rich with mercy and will break in blessings on your heads.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
 
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own Interpreter, and He will make it plain.”
 

If you ask me for my favorite hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” by William Cowper is my answer.  If you ask me for my favorite verse of Scripture I will point you to Romans 8:28 which summarizes my faith journey with Christ.  As we approach the end of 2013 and cross the threshold into 2014 the combination of this verse of Scripture and the lines of this hymn express the thoughts of my head as I lay in my bed.

At this time of the year I like to look back with reflection, look in with a time of confession, and look ahead with resolution.  Applying the three perspectives these words can reveal what God has done, what God is doing, and what God wants to do in our lives and in our world through us.


A Banquet of Consequences

May 7, 2013

“So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”  (Exodus 32:24)

After the greatest miracle in the Old Testament delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt they went around in circles of unbelief for nearly 40 years.  Moses went up on Mount Sinai several times interceding for them with God.  While he was there the people became so corrupt they made a golden calf, which was an Egyptian idol for God.  They were going to return to Egypt behind this idol proclaiming that this God deserved the glory for bringing them through the Red Sea and out of Egypt!

Moses confronted Aaron who was the spiritual leader responsible for them.  He asked Aaron, “What have these people done to you?” I quoted the reply of Aaron.  While Exodus 32 tells us Aaron skillfully created the golden calf, his response to Moses was that he threw their gold in the fire and out came this calf!

Life is a banquet of consequences and every one of us must eventually sit down and eat the banquet we have accumulated.  Our capacity for following the example of Aaron is almost infinite.  We can rationalize until we convince ourselves that we put a lot of gold in the fire of life and somehow there came out this calf.  Denial (‘de Nile’) is not just a river in Egypt.  We often elect to swim in denial until we are far from reality.

We need to deny our denial, confess and be mature enough to accept the responsibility for what we have contributed to our personal banquet of consequences.

Will our choice be reality and responsibility or to swim in denial?


That Means Me!

May 1, 2013

“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins.  Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains…”  (Isaiah 44: 22, 23)

When one of the greatest men of God who ever lived committed the sins of adultery and murder, filled with remorse and contrition (which means exceedingly sorry for sin), he prayed a great model prayer for forgiveness.  If you have sinned and you don’t know how to confess your sin read Psalm 51.  Make it your own prayer and you will do a great job of confessing your sin.

In the original Hebrew David actually asked God to un-sin his sin.  Any devout believer who has really sinned will resonate with this prayer petition of David.  The spirit of the prayer petition is: “Oh God! If You could only make it as if it had never happened!”

That introduces us to one of the most beautiful words in the Bible: “justified.” This word means “just as if I’d never sinned” and it means “to be declared righteous.” David uses this word in his prayer of repentance.

Sunday school children are taught a song that summarizes these Scripture verses:  “God has blotted them out, I’m happy as I can be. God has blotted them out, I’ll turn to Isaiah and see. Chapter forty-four, twenty-two and three.  He’s blotted them out and I can just shout! For that means me!”

They may be merely singing words when they’re children but when they grow up and become people who sin they may shout with tears when they read these verses and remember that song.

When you sin can you shout, “That means me?


Closet Sinners

April 14, 2013

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16 NLT)

When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith.  While millions of secular people apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world?  Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you.  They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.


So, What Is Confession?

October 2, 2012

This week I’m blitzing daily blogs to unpack each point of yesterday’s Jet Pilot’s Compass for you.  The first point isCONFESSION…

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   (1 John 1:9)

In the original Greek language, what we translate as confess is a compound Greek word: to say and the word for sameness.  It literally means to say the same thing God says or to agree with God.  If you know the Word of God and are in the Spirit enough to be convicted by the Holy Spirit, you can know what God says and how He feels about what you have done.

Your confession is to agree with Him. Our responsibility is to agree with Him.  He does all the rest.

He knows when we are lost.  Because He loves us He very much wants us to agree with Him that He might recover us and lead us into the green pastures and still waters that lead to a table of provision and a full cup that never empties.  That’s why He wants us to confess our sins and start climbing in the right direction spiritually.

He is not a divine policeman with a huge club just waiting to crack us over the head when we step out of line.  The ministry of Jesus is summed up in the Gospel of Luke this way: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (19:10).  That Gospel shows us in beautiful ways the blessings that came into the lives of lost people because Jesus found them and led them to the blessings of salvation.

Agree with Him and He will guide you to the blessings He has just for you.