[1 John Series 3] Cleansed

Day 2 of 6 • This day’s reading


A statement of change

Confession is not just guilt release. It is also a statement of change. Think of all the Scriptures that come around saying, “I want You, Lord, to make me different.”

In Acts, the Bible says there was a group of people involved in sorcery who came and confessed their practices because they intended to change. They even burned their old magic books. When Paul says to confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ that is a statement of change. We are basically saying, “I am going to follow Christ, not my own ways.”

When confession happens, it is intended to break the cycle of sin. When we confess our sins to the Lord and to somebody else and we apologize, we feel guilt relief because we have gotten things right, but it is also a statement of change, because now we have been placed under accountability for our actions.

Often, we would prefer to say our confession only to God and not tell anybody else. This option gives us a little bit of an out. Nobody knows, except God, that we know we were wrong. But when we confess our wrongs to the person that we have wronged, we put ourselves into accountability for change. Andy Stanley says in his book, Enemies of the Heart, “Remember the purpose of confession is not to relieve your conscience. It is to effect change and reconciliation in your life.”

Who do we confess to? The two people that we have hurt. We have hurt God because we have sinned against Him, so we confess to the Lord. Then also we confess to the human person that we have hurt: “I am sorry that I did that. That hurts you. I apologize.” Now we have been placed into accountability so that we say, “Lord, give me the strength to not do that again. I know that it is wrong, so I am going to strive not to do it again.”

Confession is not just for us to feel better. It is to restore the relationship. Keep your lists short. You don’t want to be on your deathbed apologizing to every kid, cousin, grandchild, and person coming through. If you say something that could be taken as an offense, instead of staying up all night worrying about it, just say, “I didn’t mean that to sound like this....” Make sure that things are right between you, God, and other folks.