WHODUNIT PART 2

If I cast up a confessed, repented, and forsaken sin against another, and allow my remembrance of that sin to colour my thinking and feed my suspicions, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael

Last week in Whodunit Part 1 we spoke of the importance and the difficulty of confessing our sins, because it admits guilt to the greatest crimes of all, and that is sin against a Holy, Righteous, Judging God. I wish I could say it might get easier this week, and for some it is, because we have a right focus on the Cross of Calvary, and that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In doing so, a lot of people miss out on the importance and the spiritual blessings of these verses!

When we think about and understand the purpose of confession, what are some of the things that come to mind. Well, we already determined in part one the admission of guilt, and depending on the sin, we might even feel dirty, or shameful, we may feel weak, worthless, unworthy, broken, and that’s okay, because that is where God works His best, a repentant heart!

Although the translation I used for the devotional is from the ESV, I prefer the latter have of verse 16 from the KJV, for it says this “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Breaking this down, the first word, effectual, means producing or able to produce a desired effect. Our prayers are fervent, which means exhibiting or marked by a great intensity or of feeling zealous. However, these prayers are from a righteous man avails much.

But here is where we run into a bit of a problem. For Romans 3:10-18 says this:

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

There are none who are righteous, no on understands, and no one seeks for God. That is, unless he or she is born again, spiritually, filled with the Holy Spirit who cleanses the unclean spirit in the person. Who by the effectual working of the blood of Christ on the Cross of Calvary, is the sinner, the unrighteous, the unholy person forgiven. For even Christ says of His accusers and executioners, “Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

But here comes the best part, remember our main word from Part 1, confession, well, it is also used in a positive context, which helps make our verse even more powerful. Let’s look at Romans 10:8-10: But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The Word, the spirit of God, that is in a man’s (gender neutral) mouth and heart, is able to confess Christ as His Lord and Savior, thereby who has the righteousness of God, who He (the sinner) is confessing his sins to, and by confessing Christ as Savior, he also has an Intercessor, and Great High Priest, who takes these prayers before the throne of God. How much more do we need to be convinced of these promises of scriptures? Either we believe and act as adopted children of God, or we don’t. The fastest way to kill prayers is pride, doubt, and lack of faith.

We also tend to pray for things of this world instead of the things above, and we should not be worried of things here, including our health. The healing can be referred to a physical, but more importantly, a spiritual healing, one that is in the trust and care of Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:32-34 –

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Hopefully we all now have a better understanding on the basic importance of confessing Christ as Lord and Savior and how it relates to Salvation as well as the importance of expanding on that and confessing our sins not only to Him, but to our neighbors as well. There is so much more that could be written, but I pray that has stirred the embers of the Holy Spirit in your heart to go and seek Him in confession and prayer and that He would humble us and lift us up in Christ and Christ alone.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WHODUNIT PART 1

A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins, everything remains in the clear, but in the presence of a brother, the sin has to be brought into the light.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

My wife and I have started back to reading together before bed and I cannot tell you what a blessing it is before laying down and let the stress of the day fully release. We are currently reading the wonderful book by Jerry Bridges called The Pursuit of Holiness and I have included a link to it on Amazon should you be interested. I for one highly recommend it!

If you read yesterday’s blog post, we spoke about the wonderful gift of discernment that God gives His children insight beyond basic knowing right from wrong, but more importantly to see sin and He sees it, and the things He hates and finds as an abomination.  (what, you have not… well here’s the link – (Do You See What I see )

Today we are going to look at another great ability that we as Christians do such a great disservice to each other, and more importantly sin against God. But before we get into that, we must continually be understanding how Holy God is and how sinful we not only are, but are capable of being. Now I know that sin is not a very popular topic among the modern day church today, and many think that it is just not all that serious, can be swept under the rug or in the corner, or worse, ignore it and it will just go away (BIG mistake!).

When we look at today’s teaching from the book of James, we are going to be talking about (and hopefully learning AND applying this to our lives daily, starting today if we are not already) on confessing. This is probably one of the things that Christian do not like to do, and is also probably one of our greatest sins and do not even realize it! Secondly, this is also probably one of the biggest bonds of chains of slavery to that sin that Satan has bound us with! Why? Well 1 John 1:9-10 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Two things here. 1) No confession, no forgiveness, no cleansing from unrighteousness! 2) If we deny that we are NOT sinners, we make Christ to be a liar, and it shows others that the truth (the Word of God) is not in us.

So when we look at James 5:16 it starts with the word Therefore. My old Pastor in TN always pointed that out when reading texts and would tell the listeners that it was a BIG cue to make it obvious that it was marking the importance of what was about to be said, or as it he put it, why is the therefore there for (or something like that). Now if you do not already do this (and I highly suggest we all do), we need to study the Word of God, with intensity, diligence, prayer, and great care. Although it is written in our language, we should go back to the language it was written in to get the deeper meaning and context. I use the great free online resource at BibleHub

For example, when we look up the first word, Therefore, we get the following.

oún (a conjunction) – therefore, now then, accordingly so. 3767 (oún) occurs 526 times in the NT and is typically translated “therefore” which means, “By extension, here’s how the dots connect.”

Look! You may have also learned your first Greek word! So 526 times in the New Testament alone, God is trying to tell us “Therefore” and how to connect the dots!

Now here comes two words we normally avoid at all costs and cause us to sin (not confessing). What’s worse than confessing our sins to God, confessing them to one another! We don’t like to admit fault, we are too perfect to (yeah right!) We are flawless, self-righteous, too proud, haughty (remember that from yesterday and how much God hates it!) arrogant, slanderous, and the like. Wait a minute! You mean to tell me these things are sinful? I just thought things like adultery, murder, stealing, you know BIG sins (which of course I do not commit thank you very much) were the sins we were to confess, and since I do not do those things, I confess nothing to no one. Well, you may not commit those sins, but we all do commit many others that we probably do not even think about. Things like embellishing stories (lying), talking about the opposite sex in a lustful manner (Yup, Jesus says it is still adultery!), maybe something even as simple as not showing appreciation for a waiter or waitress for a job well job serving us and we have the means to bless them with a nice tip! Still have not even touched the tip of the sin iceberg. There is actually over 600 sins listed in the Bible, and just don’t have time to list them all here, the point is, WE ALL SIN!

So know that is out of the way, what are we going to do about it? Well, start by connecting the dots. We just learned what therefore means, but what does confessing truly mean and entail? Well, this is why it is very important to understand the meaning of words used in the Bible and the context therein. Confess can (and is) used in two different contexts in the Bible, we see here one in James 5:16, but what about Romans 10:9 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Now the two ways are similar in that they mean “to acknowledge”, but in the Greek have two different words and meanings. To put it simply, the usage in Romans 10:9 is confessing, acknowledging Jesus in a covenant manner and believing who the Bible says He is and why He came as God in the flesh, leads to Salvation.

The confess in James means that we are admitting guilt, wrong doing, but let us see as God see, we S-I-N! Learn to say it, embrace your sinfulness, let it drive us as a hard taskmaster (at first, because we will go kicking and screaming) to the cross of Calvary. Learning to properly do this though brings many benefits! It helps to make us humble, to quit focusing on others sins and faults (NO ONE is more or less of a sinner in God’s eyes apart from being covered by the precious blood of Christ). We become more compassionate, kind, loving, caring, less cynical, and most of all, honor God in what He commands us to do!

It has been a little longer read than usual today, and I do hope you were encouraged and whetted your appetite, given you some new tools, and encouraged you to find ways to get into God’s Word more deeply and passionately. Thank you for reading, and hope you will come back for part two tomorrow as we finish this great lesson in the ability to confess.

Until then…

#ToGodBeTheGlory