Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Confession

Scripture:

Nehemiah 10:39b We will not neglect the house of our God.

Observation:

God’s people were rebuilding Jerusalem and after the public reading of the law they realized how far they had wandered from the truth. They had not lived as God’s people and their infidelity had caused them and God much pain. When they realized what they had done they recognized it was time to repent and confess of their sins.

The confession came in the form of profession and commitment to action. They recognized all that they had done wrong and were not just asking for forgiveness, but committing to a new lifestyle that would embody their faith. This embodiment could only come from a heart which was cleansed from its previous impurities. In their confession they committed to practices which would reveal their true commitment to God.

The final statement reveals where they had been deficient. Ultimately they had neglected both God and his house. The confession and declaration after all of the details is that they would not neglect God’s house — nor God’s priests or servants — nor worship of God — nor anything related God.

Confession led to real change visible in the daily on-goings of life in Jerusalem.

Application:

Those of us from the Wesleyan/holiness tradition — we are not good at confession. Somewhere along the line the word “perfect” tripped us up. This, along with the idea that we were to “claim” our place as entirely sanctified meant that confession of wrong-doing might actually mean that we were not “claiming” and living into the faith that we were sanctified. The result was sometimes a stagnation in Christian growth because the reality is that from time to time confession is needed. Jesus even included confession in his prayer when he taught the disciples to pray, asking for our trespasses to be forgiven.

The reason confession is important is because it leads to transformation. Confession is a part of the journey for the Spirit-filled believer. Along the journey we discover more about ourselves and more about God. It is in this revelation that we may discover areas which have not been given over to God. There may be attitudes which are not God-pleasing, or reactions toward others that are not Christ-reflecting. In God’s on-going and ever perfecting work in our lives there will be moments when we need to confess and be redirected. It’s the way in which we grow spiritually.

There are times when God’s people may need to corporately confess, just as the people of Jerusalem. The leaders helped walk the people of Nehemiah’s day through their confession, repentance and recommitment. Spiritual leaders may need to take the initiative to walk a church or congregation through a period of repentance and confession. Not all the decisions we’ve made in the past have been holy and a new generation may be suffering the consequences of previous actions or inactions. This was true for the people of Jerusalem but they were not willing to just blame those who had gone before, they were willing to take responsibility and be accountable before God.

Confession changed their lives and resulted in the visible expression of their worship of God. May the same be true for you and me.

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to be transparent before you.  Amen.


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