Step 4... Confession
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John the beloved disciple warns us against an attitude of innocence before a holy God. To pretend that we have nothing to confess to God is to call Him a liar, and to practice lies before our maker. King David says:
Psalms 51:1-2 ESV To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Why do you need to be cleansed David?
Psalms 51:3-4 ESV For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
How long have you been a sinner David?
Psalms 51:5-7 ESV Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (6) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
What is our good works or our righteousness before God?
Isaiah 64:6 ESV We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
The term “filthy rags” is a reference to two things. I will give one which is liken to the rags of the lepers when they cover their sores. Isaiah is a good example of the result of the proper method of intercessory prayer. In Isaiah 6 he first sees the Lord in all his beauty, high and lifted up, and glorified. The sight was so awesome that just and righteous Isaiah fell on His face before God with an acute awareness of his own sinful nature. He was seeing his own sinful nature in contrast to the holiness of God. He cried out in his own unholy state: "WOE IS ME I AM UNDONE...
Isaiah 6:5-7 ESV And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."
We are not just to come into God's presence presumptuously, but humbly and contritely, with a sincere perspective on our own nature. Sometimes in 2 Chron.7:14 we forget the part that says “humble themselves”.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
We need a vision of ourselves, our true fallen nature, our minds which are unclean, and of which God knows every passing thought.
Psalms 139:1-5 ESV To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! (2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. (3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. (4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (5) You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Until we recognize our own state of bankruptcy before a holy God we cannot truly lean upon His Righteousness, without which no man will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 ESV Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
We would instead come into his presence as the Pharisee, proud, bragging of his kept laws, righteous deeds, his right to gain the Father's favor. We need to see ourselves as destitute, and totally depraved without the righteousness of Christ. We have nothing of which to boast. We, as the rich church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 need to see ourselves as God sees us. "Lukewarm...wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
Revelation 3:14-18 ESV "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. (15) "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Psalms 66:18 ESV If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
TO REGARD INIQUITY means to leave it alone, to tolerate it, to know it is there and do nothing about it. It is to hide it, to cover it by excuses, to consider it unimportant, to ignore its dangers.
God considers any iniquity to be an ABOMINATION. An abomination is a horrible disgusting thing. There are no "good guy" iniquities, no little white lies, no insignificant rebellions of the heart! God calls rebellion in any form "as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as idolatry."
1 Samuel 15:23 ESV For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king."
Daniel was conscious of the subtile ways in which sin surrounds us and creeps into our thoughts, actions, and inactions. In his exemplary prayer in Daniel 9 he IDENTIFIES nine faces of SIN.
Daniel 9:5-13 ESV we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. (6) We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (7) To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. (8) To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. (9) To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him (10) and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (11) All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. (12) He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. (13) As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.
WE HAVE ...
1. Sinned: v 5 Missed the mark, fall short
2. Committed iniquity: v 5 Deliberate conscious sin
3. Done wickedly: v 5 Life style habitual sin
4. Rebelled: v 5 Said no to God!
5. Not hearkened: v 6 Closed our ears, ignored
6. Not obeyed voice: v 10 Grieved the Holy Spirit)
7. Transgressed law: v 11 Legal term know law & disobey
8. Departed from God: v 11 Backslidden, wandered away
9. Made not prayer: v 13 Sin of prayerlessness
DEAL WITH SIN!
Our Lord Jesus emphasized the need to deal with sin each time he spoke of prayer. In the Lord's prayer he deals heavily with the need to deal severely with sin. That is, in fact, the primary lesson of the Lord's Prayer. Immediately after citing it he pointed out the need to forgive as well as ask for forgiveness.
Luke 11:4 ESV and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."
Matthew 6:14-15 ESV For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I WILL CONFESS MY SIN:
A man that truly enters into the presence of God cannot but help to see himself as unclean. The holiness of God cannot tolerate the presence of sin! We are exhorted to confess or sin to the Lord (I John 1:8-9), and even admit our faults one to another (James 5:16) so as to pray effectively and fervently as righteous men.
1 John 1:8-9 ESV If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 5:16 ESV Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.