Christianity doesn’t pretend we are sinless people.
So, why do we pretend that we don’t struggle with sin? Why do we put on fig leaves? Why do we hide? “If we say, ‘We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10 CSB). One reason is our seven-layer pride. We want people to think highly of us. We don’t want to disappoint others. We don’t want to look like some icky Christian who still struggles with that sin. Or, the sin we’ve committed feels like the odd one out, no one else in our circles seems to be tempted there (so we think).
Confession Is More Than Fessing Up
If God’s word is in us, we won’t be able to hide our sin for long. When we get to the point of seeing our sin for what it is, and we’ve confessed it to God and others, God’s grace is at work in us. We are experiencing gospel power. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 CSB). And if God’s grace is truly at work in us, we will do more than confess our sins.
Biblical confession involves more than admitting our sin. Sometimes we think fessing up to our sins is enough. “Alright, I’ll say what I’ve done, get my grace ticket, and go on my way.”
That’s a confession booth. That’s not biblical Christianity.
Repentance is Required
Biblical confession involves repentance, turning from the sin. It’s a two-step process. Proverbs 28:13 is a blueprint for Christian confession.
The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. (Prov. 28:13 CSB)
Concealing, hiding, lying, and pretending about our sin leads to a dead-end. There is no blessing on the other side. There is only more frustration, more layers of lies, and more web-spinning. But, the gospel shows us that mercy is available to sinners like us. We conceal our sins because we fear the hammer of God’s wrath. But the gospel tells us mercy swings down because the punishment of our sins already landed on Christ. Do you believe that God’s mercy is ready for you? There is one more thing you must do.
The blueprint goes: Concealing ceases, confession launches—and now the step we often overlook. Renounce. We must do more than admit our sins; we must turn our back on them. We must be willing to gouge out an eye or cut off a hand (let the reader understand).
While Christianity doesn’t pretend we are sinless people, it also doesn’t pretend we have to keep sinning.
When it comes to our sins, renouncing, repudiating, spurning, casting off, disowning, rejecting, shunning, and the like are what we must do. Mercy awaits us. Compassion from God is available to those who admit and abandon their sins. God’s power is available for both. Do both today.