“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
When I first came to know Christ God revealed my own past sin in a vivid, movie-like way. Every hateful word, unclean thought, impatient action and unforgiving attitude came to my remembrance. I was undone. For so long I had blamed others for my problems, frustrations and failures. Of course it was their fault because I was a good person. I believed I was the victim of circumstance and the world was a mean place. However, after God opened my eyes, I knew I was a mean, ugly, selfish person. No longer could I claim the role of the child-victim because now I was the one inflicting the pain. Fortunately, God allowed me to remember so I would also know how very much I had been forgiven. Convicted of my guilt, I was compelled to confess my sin. Forgiven of my sin, I was free to live for Christ.
Since then I’ve come to realize that Confession is a vital bridge to living a life of freedom in Christ. In the judicial system Confession means: “A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.” We are to formally agree with God about our sin, bringing it to Him because we trust that He is not only faithful but also just and righteous. He is able to forgive us because the penalty has been paid. God set the standard of righteousness and then met that standard through the shedding of Jesus’ blood. In the same way that faith is credited to our account as righteousness (Romans 4) His payment of death has been credited to our lives. In other words, the blood has been applied to the doorposts of our hearts and we are fully forgiven. Therefore, we are now free to live His life by faith.
However, living life by faith includes allowing Jesus to wash our feet via confession. Confession is the great exchange. We bring Jesus our sin and He gives us His righteousness. We appropriate (receive) His forgiveness and we live for Him, pouring ourselves out for His glory. It’s like breathing in and out in intimate communion with God. Surprisingly many people want to jump over confession instead of walk through it. Like Peter they say, “Lord, You will never wash my feet!” Because sin can be painful, ugly or shameful it seems easier to bypass confession and go from praise to supplication. Also, some sin seems trivial and we don’t want to bother Jesus with it, even though it’s a barrier to intimacy with Him. God calls us to confession, however, for the purpose of intimacy. How many children want to sit in their daddy’s lap when they know they are guilty of something or they believe their father is mad at them? God knows our tendency to run away and hide when we have sinned. So, His loving way is to convict, draw out into the light, cleanse and restore so we can sit in His lap without fear or shame. Thank you Lord for calling me to intimacy through transparency as you show me Your blood has covered all!
A sail so ripped by choppy skies
Set right again by Wind;
I see the crimson sailcloth rise
Enveloping my sin.
His guardrails set at great a price
Too much for me to pay;
The vast, horrific sacrifice
On pulpit lay that day.
His blood, which Jesus offers all,
Runs down my hardened boom
Reviving still the lifeless soul
Summoning from the tomb.
“Come, My child!” He beckons me,
“I’ll cleanse you with My blood.
My righteousness will set you free
Of shackles gained abroad.”
“Confess, beloved, your waywardness.
My pardon will I give,
Your rudder turned to set the course;
Repent and you will live!”
“Let go the pain that holds you fast
To stern of hate and fear.
Take courage! Climb the Maker’s mast,
Set sail in Love so near!”
Marlene McKenna 2015