12th December 2016

Confession Of Sin

 Confession: Making Amends for Our Sins









There are clearer examples of when repentance involves more than simply feeling contrition (sorrow for our sin) and asking for forgiveness. If I steal your car, then simply asking your forgiveness does not cut it. It is a start, and it is important, but it is not everything. What have I forgotten? Well, I still have your car in my garage. I must make reparation for stealing your car. This reparation involves, at the very least, returning your car. We know this because it is demanded by simple justice. Repentance—specifically asking forgiveness of God for my sin—takes away the eternal punishment due to my sin, but it does nothing about the twenty thousand dollars I stole.


The clearest Scripture about the fruit of confession and repentance, and its necessity, is the story of Zacchaeus. Of him, Christ says, Luke 19:9Jesus and Zacchaeus1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him byame.Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”9“Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of AbrahamHow did salvation come to Zacchaeus? Through his repentance, of course. But in this passage his repentance is expressed in his desire to make restitution for his theft. Would Christ have said that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s home if Zacchaeus had said something like, “Lord, I believe in you, but I am not giving back the money I stole”? No, because his refusal to make restitution would have shown him to be unrepentant. Our repentance makes reparations where possible. And our reparations confirm our repentance. The two cannot be separated. God may forgive the sin (i.e., he does not send you to hell because of it) but the temporary consequence or punishment of the sin remains. We intrinsically understand this. If I steal something from someone, then I must also make reparation along with my confession, reparation that is necessary to repentance.

Perhaps I repay what I have stolen and add a bit more. The healing that can grow out of this action is the grace of reparation.


As we confess our sins, it is important to examine whether we might also need to make reparation—as far as it is possible with us to do so. Making reparation is part of the discipline of confession. If I refuse to make reparation where reparation is due, then I show that my repentance is not genuine. I must do what I can, by God’s grace, to repair what I have broken.

We saw above how important and necessary it is to make restitution for our sins. If you steal, repay what you have stolen; if you destroy something that belongs to someone else, fix or replace it. This is the kind of sin that involves another’s property, and reparation, along with asking forgiveness, reconciles you to your brother or sister. In this article, I will continue considering reparation, focusing on sin that is relational and does not involve another’s personal property.


I mentioned above the hypothetical story about offending my wife and then trying to heal the damaged relationship: not just asking for forgiveness, but also giving gifts and doing kindnesses. Now being forgiven by God is different than being forgiven by my wife, in that he always loves perfectly , You see our sin wounds us, not him. Our sin affects our ability to have communion and relationship, not his ability. When we sin, God does not love us less. He does not withdraw from us with hurt feelings. But our sin hurts our communion with him in a way that goes beyond confessing our sin to him. 


Let me explain. Suppose that one day, having never looked at pornography before, in my curiosity I click on that suggestive or vulgar picture while browsing the Internet. In doing so I begin to lust, and I become an adulterer in my heart. Afterward, I understand my sin and confess my sin to God, who forgives even such serious sin. But something has happened to my soul in the meantime. The sin has wounded my soul, creating an attachment to that sin. There is something in me now that wishes to view pornography again. It is not curiosity that drives me to view pornography the second time but my lust. It has gained a foothold in my heart. Christ has forgiven me, but there is in me now this attachment to this sin, a wound, that wasn’t there before. In these kinds of situations, I must not only ask for God’s forgiveness (this is the primary concern, necessary and needful), but I must also battle this attachment to sin that I now have. It remains even after I have confessed my sin. Perhaps I confess my lust and use of pornography and then find myself viewing it again. And again and again. And I begin this cycle of falling into the same sin and returning to God for forgiveness. After a while, I begin to despair of ever being freed of this sin. I wonder whether God will still forgive me because I return to it over and over again. So I begin living with the guilt and shame of my sin. “Am I even saved?” I wonder at times. Has God ceased to love me? He has not. It is our sin that puts up a barrier; it is my barrier, not his. Nonetheless, it is a real barrier. 


Because our sins have damaged our hearts, we have some reparation to make that is not physical—a kind of spiritual giving of roses, of writing love letters. Because our hearts have gone astray and still desire to stray, we work to repair them. So we pray and read the Scriptures and do what we can to share in God’s life. We turn, day by day, from the affairs of our hearts back to our Lover: We read spiritual books, we serve, and we give to those in need. We do all these things that draw us to Christ—because we love him. We spend time with him. We pour out ourselves for him and for others. And we also strive to bring our sin into the light by confessing it to a godly brother or sister who can encourage us and keep us accountable. All this is to repair in us the damage our sin has inflicted upon us. These activities are aids, ointment, for healing our heart’s


Some may wonder at my audacity to seemingly belittle the forgiveness of God, to say that it is not enough. But I do not. His forgiveness is more than sufficient to wash away our guilt. His grace is beyond us—greater than all our sin. He is gracious and merciful, and he loves us. He is love. Our reparations are our responses to his love, and they are the habits that repair our damaged hearts.

I see my own heart from a distance. I understand the wounds I have inflicted on myself and the guilt and despair that have resulted from habitual sin, even forgiven habitual sin.And while I will always live with temptation, I now know beyond any shadow of doubt that I am forgiven and loved. I am freed from my guilt, despair, and doubt. You need to know this too—deep in your soul—that you are loved and forgiven. 


You are loved. Do not spend another day oppressed by your own sin, crushed under the weight of it. Drag the hateful thing into the light to die. It is the only

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All posts, Sin


Sin is as serious as the grave. When we sin, there must be atonement for what we have done because the sin we committed breaks or disrupts the communion that existed between us and God. Christ, of course, offered atonement for sin on the cross. He redeemed the world. So when we confess our sin, he forgives the eternal punishment we might have incurred from that sin. He reconciles us to him. He restores our communion. That seems, often, to be the end of the story on sin and its effects. Yet when I sin against my wife, for example, asking for her forgiveness (and, of course, God’s) doesn’t always completely repair what I’ve temporarily damaged in our relationship. So I might also bring her flowers or give her another gift of some kind to reassure her of my love for her. Or I might hug her and tell her how much I love her. Or I might do the dishes for her. I might do all these things or much more depending on the offense because I am trying to atone for my sin against her, or repair what has been broken. She may have forgiven me, but there may still be hurt in her heart. So I offer these things in order to regain the communion that we have lost due to my sin. “Giving a gift can open doors”Proverbs 18:16

16 Giving a gift can open doors;  it gives access to importantpeople!17 The first to speak in court sounds right—  until the cross-examination begins.18 Flipping a coin can end arguments;  it settles disputes between powerful opponents.19An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.23 The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults.24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than abrother.