Helpfinder Sampler - Page 10

The Bible commands us to forgive others when they have wronged us and to seek forgiveness when we have wronged others. When we do this, we follow the example of God, who
extends to us the ultimate forgiveness—pardon for our sins. Forgiveness is the pathway
to freedom. When God forgives you, you are free from guilt and restored to fellowship with
him. When you forgive someone who has wronged you, you are free from bitterness and
resentment that can saturate your soul like toxic waste. And when you have been forgiven
by another, you are free from indebtedness to them. Receiving God’s forgiveness and
forgiving others are at the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Confession should precede forgiveness. Confession takes the lid off, opens the
window, opens the door, revealing what is within—sin or faith. Confession can be
either acknowledgment of guilt or gladly acknowledging allegiance to Christ. When we
acknowledge the ugliness of sin, it is embarrassing and sometimes painful to take the
lid off. Ironically, many find it almost equally embarrassing to reveal their deep-seated
faith. Perhaps the embarrassment is in letting others see deep into our lives. Perhaps it
is a reticence to reveal something personal, whether good or bad. But confession is a
necessary part of knowing God, asking forgiveness, and being freed from sin. It is also
a necessary part of knowing others and having others know us.
What is involved in true confession?
• 2 C H R O N I C L E S 7 :1 4 | “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble
themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from
heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
• PS A L M 5 1 : 3 - 4 , 1 7 | I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you,
and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. . . . The sacrifice you
desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
• PS A L M 3 8 : 1 8 | I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
• 1 J O H N 1 : 9 | But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Feeling sorrow for your sin, showing humility before God, seeking God and his forgiveness, turning to God in prayer, turning from sin—these are ingredients of confession to
Does confession involve more than sorrow for sin?
• M AT T H EW 1 0 : 3 2 | “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also
acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
• PS A L M 1 1 1 : 1 | Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his
godly people.
Confession includes praise to God for his mercy as well as his desire and ability to forgive.
Confession also includes gladly acknowledging Jesus as Lord and publicly claiming allegiance to him.
Do we confess our sins to God or to others?
• E ZR A 1 0 :1 1 | “Confess your sin to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do what he
demands.” (See note on page 425.)
• 1 C H R O N I C L E S 2 1 :8 | David said to God, “I have sinned greatly. . . . Please forgive my guilt
for doing this foolish thing.”
We confess sin to God first, for only God can forgive sin.
• J A M ES 5 :1 6 | Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be
It can be healing to confess sin to one another, especially if the others are committed to
praying for you, encouraging you, and supporting you as you seek restoration. It is also
important to confess sin to those who you have wronged.
Why do we confess our sins to God?
• 2 S AMUEL 12:13 | Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you.”
• 1 JOHN 1:9 | If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us.
Confession precedes forgiveness. Confession indicates our desire to have our sins forgiven.
If we have no desire to have our sins forgiven, God will not forgive them.
• 2 S AMUEL 24:10- 12 | “Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.” The
next morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad. . . . “This is what the Lord
says. . . . Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.”
While God always forgives when we confess, we will usually still have to live with the
consequences of our actions.
Does God truly forgive sin when we confess it to him?
• P S ALM 32:5 | Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said
to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
• P ROV ERBS 28:13 | People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and
turn from them, they will receive mercy. (See note on page 583.)
With sin comes guilt. It’s part of the baggage that sin brings. Confession is the act of recognizing and admitting those sins to God, paving the way for God to work in you. Confession wipes
the slate clean so that you can be reconciled to God and have another chance to live for him.
What if I don’t feel forgiven?
Forgiveness See also Mercy & Grace; Salvation
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• ROMAN S 3:27 | Our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. (See note
on page 1015.)
When God forgives you, your record is wiped clean. He looks at you as if you’ve never sinned.
In addition to forgiveness, what are other benefits from confession?
• P S ALM 32:5 | Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said
to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
God removes your guilt.
• P S ALM 51:12 | Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
God restores your joy and willing obedience.
• JAMES 5:16 | 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 produces wonderful
God transforms you from the inside out.
What does it really mean to be forgiven?
• COLOS S IAN S 1:21- 23 | You are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a
single fault. (See note on page 1079.)
• IS AIAH 1:18 | “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.”
Forgiveness means that God looks at you as though you have never sinned. You are
blameless before him.
• ACTS 8:22- 23 | “Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are . . .
held captive by sin.”
Forgiveness frees you from slavery to sin.
• HEBREWS 10:22 | Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting
him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean,
and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Forgiveness frees you from the guilt of sin.
• MATTHEW 5:44 | “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Forgiveness paves the way for harmonious relationships, even with your enemies.
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