March 2, 2020

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

For the first couple of decades after I committed my life and heart to Christ, this was my very favorite Bible verse. How I treasured this assurance that God would not only forgive my sins that I was aware of, but also all the ones I couldn’t or wouldn’t yet acknowledge! (On another occasion I’ll tell you what my current favorite verse is, but be assured it totally aligns with this one.)

So. Confess. What does it mean? Admit. Cop to. Tell. Make known. Own. Acknowledge. Yes, all of those. But the best answer is also in many ways the simplest. Together plus Admit equals “to say the same thing,” which comes down to Agree with God. So when I sincerely regret the way I’ve neglected a shut-in I said I would contact, I am agreeing with God that this is a serious infraction and, with the Spirit’s help, I want to be more faithful. When my “Undone” list overpowers my “To Do” list, I can easily agree with God that I need to balance my life better. When I’m nursing unkind judgmental thoughts about some people, I need to agree with God how much that corrupts me. These kinds of confessions are not offered to gain God’s acceptance. You and I already have that. Confessing removes barriers to intimate fellowship with God. Yes, it takes humility and honesty to recognize and admit our faults and shortcomings, even to God. Perhaps especially to God. But we’re not revealing any news to God. Confession keeps us from trying to conceal our sin from ourselves.

Lord, thank you for this verse that reminds us that “faithful-and-just” is a hyphenated reminder of what your true nature is. Amen

Marian Stephen

About the Contributor:
Marian Stephen is a forgiven Abba’s Child who has gotten to serve God at Nazareth Presbyterian Church as a Ruling Elder, Teacher, Retreat Leader, and almost every ministry that does not involve small children or music.