What does confessing our sins have to do with revival and reformation? Find out in this month’s Synapse

5-2011: Revival, Reformation, and Confession

“The most wonderful aspect about confession is that it proves God’s eternal love for us.”

Revival, Reformation, and Confession

By Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti

It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong. Worse yet, it’s hard to admit when we’ve sinned. But then God doesn’t intend that confessing our sins should be fun. Perhaps the difficulty and embarrassment that accompanies confession in some strange way helps us not to sin.

What does it mean to confess our sins? “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.”1

God accepts our confessions of sin only when such confessions are accompanied by heartfelt repentance and reformation.2 We see all of this occurring in the confessions of the prodigal son (Luke 15:17‒20) and the apostle Paul (Acts 26:10, 11). But perhaps the most famous confession in the Bible is that of David’s in Psalm 51. As you read it, note that his confession is accompanied by gratitude for God’s mercy and promises.3 Also note his desire for God to create in him a “clean heart” and a “right spirit” (verse 10). A “clean heart” involves the sanctification process (Ezek. 11:19, 20; Eph. 4:20‒24), while a “right spirit” refers to consistency in one’s obedience to God.4

But perhaps the most wonderful aspect about confession is that it proves God’s eternal love for us. It is today, as it was when John wrote so long ago, that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).
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1.Steps to Christ, p. 38.
2. Ibid., p. 39.
3. The SDA Bible Commentary, sec. ed., vol. 3, p. 756.
4. Ibid.