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.