Will You Confess Too Late?
Confession is the acknowledgement of something we need to show in our lives. Christianity (the point of salvation) begins by confessing (freely acknowledging through personal faith) Jesus for whom He is (Matt. 10:32-33). Great men and women always confess. Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). The gospel of John records five confessions:
- Nathanael confessed, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (1:49).
- The Samaritan woman confessed, “[I]s not this the Christ?” (4:29).
- Peter again confessed, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (6:69).
- Martha confessed, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (11:27).
- Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God,” only after his doubts were erased (20:28).
Consequently, confession is repeated in scripture as necessary for our salvation (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 John 2:23; 4:2-3, 15; 2 John 1:7). Yet, confessing our faith is not always easy. Even after Peter confessed Jesus twice, he later denied Jesus when the situation was different. John the Immerser confessed Jesus even in the face of the Pharisees (John 1:15-18, 29; cf. Matt. 3:7ff). Eventually, the Pharisees agreed to cast out any Jew caught confessing Jesus (John 9:22; 12:42-43).
However, confession is not only important to salvation, but it is also important to the daily life of a Christian, because we are to confess our sins. God promised the blessing of forgiveness of sins to His children who will confess them (1 John 1:9). James said, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Spiritual healing comes by confession. Like the confession of our faith, confession of sins is also difficult. People have a hard time admitting, “I have sinned.” Yet, God requires it to be pleasing to him (1 John 1:8). The confession of the prodigal son is a perfect example by Christ to show the heart of the confessor: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19). In direct contrast, notice the example of Achan. When Joshua lost the battle with Ai, God told him it was due to sin in the camp. So Joshua gathered the people and began to divide by tribe, family, household and man. Achan had the opportunity to confess during this time, but did not confess his sin until it was too late (Josh. 7:19-21). Many like him will wait until it is too late. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that ever tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).
Thus, according to the apostle John, for erring Christians to remove the guilt of sin and its consequences, we must “confess our sins,” which we do before and to the one against whom we commit the sin. Please note that we are not confessing that we are sinners or that we have sinned, but we should understand clearly why we are specifically to “confess our sins.” One word of caution is necessary—the Bible says to “confess” them, but does not say to “report” them. In other words, while we are to be honest and sincere with our offenses, God does not want us to blab all the gory details about such to everyone. May we understand the tact and wisdom necessary to distinguish the two!
Therefore, as we see in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, forgiveness was the resultant attitude of the Father who replaced the ring of son-ship, the robe of righteousness and the shoes of freedom (Luke 15:22)! When the child departs in sin but returns to the favor of the Father in confession, our Lord makes the reception of the child a very beautiful thing! Will you confess Him too late?