The “other” types of confession in the NT

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Jam. 5:16). In the previous article, I discussed the need to confess our Savior, Jesus Christ, as the Son of God. I mentioned there were three different types of confession in the New Testament and that the first led to the other two. Today we will look at the second and third types, starting with confessing our sins to one another.

One of the advantages we have and should use as Christian brothers and sisters is the ability to use each other to overcome our sinful behavior. It is an honor for someone to approach us, confessing their sin, because it allows us to show our love for them. The Bible has this to say in Gal. 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When someone comes to you, bearing their souls in an attempt not only to be obedient to the Word of God but also so that you can pray for them, you are helping them remove that burden. One of the marks of true Christian friendship is the willingness to pray for each other. And prayer works – not in ways you and I may necessarily understand, but always to the furtherance and glory of God’s Kingdom. When we confess our sins to each other, by extension, we are confessing them to God as well.

In the OT, the famous king David approached God in prayer to confess his sins. Psa. 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin...” He expressed the confidence that God would hear and forgive him, but all that had to be done according to the cumbersome law of sacrifices. The life of Jesus would change that, however. His work on the cross paved the way for us to confess directly to God, and we should absolutely make use of that privilege. John clearly states that in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you have faith in God and His omnipotence, you have to believe that He will forgive that which we confess to Him.

Remember, confessing to another individual is not asking them to forgive you – something they have no power to do.  You are accepting responsibility for your sin by verbalizing it and also asking faithful brothers and sisters to pray for the strength to overcome it. The power to forgive rests with God, not clergy, celebrated leaders, friends, or any other human. The other type of confession is equally important because it is Christ’s confession of us. Matt. 10:32-33, “So everyone who acknowledges (confesses) Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  Another scripture, Tim. 2:5, says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”. Basically, this means that if we are willing to confess Jesus as the Son of God and His role in our lives and salvation, He will do the same for us.

Our loyalty to Jesus results in Him speaking on our behalf in a way no one else can.  When I think of Him confessing me to the Father, I picture myself standing before a judge pleading my case but failing miserably. If only I had a witness to speak on my behalf. Jesus then stands up and says, I will vouch for him, Father. He is willing to do that for his flock because He is the shepherd willing to lay down His life for his sheep. That is how great His love for us is. How awesome is our Savior that He would speak on our behalf to ensure that we receive a room in that mansion in the sky? But we need to remember that confessing without commitment is in vain. Jesus will not speak for those who are not obedient to God’s Word.  Confess Jesus as the Son of God. Confess to your friends and ask them to pray for you. Confess to God and ask Him to forgive you.  If you do, your Savior will confess you to the Father, which will be a good thing, my friend.

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