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The Confession Of Sin
“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.
The one thing which God hates is sin. It grieves and provokes Him, and He will destroy it. The one thing that makes man unhappy is sin.1 The one thing which Jesus had to give His blood for was sin. In all the communication between the sinner and God, this is the ﬁrst thing which the sinner must bring to his God—sin.2
When you ﬁrst came to Jesus, you perceived this in some measure. But you should learn to understand this lesson more deeply. The one counsel concerning sin is—bring it daily to the only One who can take it away, God Himself. You should learn that one of the greatest privileges of a child of God is the confession of sin. It is only the holiness of God that can consume sin. Through confession I must hand over my sin to God, lay it down in God, and get God’s acquittal of it. I must cast it into the ﬁery oven of God’s holy love which burns against sin like a ﬁre. God, yes, God Himself, and He alone, takes away sin.3
The Christian does not always understand this. He has an inborn tendency to want to cover sin, or to make it less, or to root it out only when he desires to draw near to God. He considers covering the sin with repentance, self-blame, or with contempt for the temptation which caused him to sin. He tries to conceal sin with the fruits of the works he has done or still hopes to do.4 Young Christian, if you want to enjoy the peacefulness of a complete forgiveness and a divine cleansing of sin, see to it that you correctly use the confession of sin. In the true confession of sin, you have one of the most blessed privileges of a child of God, and one of the deepest roots of a powerful spiritual life.
For this end, let your confession be a precise one.5 The continued, uncertain confession of sin does more harm than good. It is much better to say to God, “I have nothing to confess,” than to say, “I do not know what to confess.” Begin with one sin. Let it come to a complete harmony between God and you concerning this one sin. Let it be ﬁxed with you that this sin is—through confession—placed in God’s hands. You will experience that in such confessions there is both power and blessing.
Let the confession be a righteous one.6 Deliver up the sinful deed to be laid aside. Deliver up the sinful feeling with trust in the Lord. Confession implies renunciation—the putting off of sin. Give up sin to God, who forgives you of it, and cleanses you from it. Do not confess, if you are not prepared, or if you do not heartily desire to be freed from it. Confession has value only if it is a giving up of sin to God.
Let the confession be one of trust.7 Depend entirely on God to actually forgive you, and to cleanse you from sin. Continue in confession by casting the sin you desire to be rid of into the ﬁre of God’s holiness until your soul has the ﬁrm conﬁdence that God takes it on His own account to forgive and to cleanse. It is this faith which truly overcomes the world and sin. It is the faith that God, in Jesus, actually frees us from sin.8
Brothers and sisters, do you understand it now? What must you do with sin, with every sin? Bring it in confession to God, and give it to God. God alone takes away sin.
Lord God, what thanks I will express for this unspeakable blessing-that I may come to You with sin. It is known to You, Lord, how sin before Your holiness causes terror and ﬂight. It is known to You how it is our deepest thought, ﬁrst to have sin covered, and then to come to You with our desire and endeavour for good. Lord, teach me to come to You with sin-every sin-and in confession to lay it down before You and give it up to You. Amen.
1) Gen. 6:5,6; Isa. 43:24; Ezek. 33:6; Rev. 6:16,l7
2) Judg. 10:10,15,16; Ezra 9:6; Neh. 9:2,33; Jer. 3:21,25; Dan. 9:4,5,20
3) Lev. 6:21; Num. 5:7; 2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 51:5,19
4) Gen. 3:12; Ex. 32:22,24; Isa. 1:11,5; Luke 13:26
5) Num. 12:11; 21:7; 2 Sam. 24:10,17; Isa. 59:12,13; Luke 23:41;Acts 19:18,19; 22:19,20; 1 Tim. 1:13,15
6) Prov. 28:13; Lev. 26:40,41; Jer. 31:18,19
7) 2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 32:5; Isa. 55:7
8) 1 John 5:5
Taken from the New Life by Andrew Murray.
Andrew Murray was greatly used by God as a Dutch Reformed Pastor in South Africa, and in writing scores of wonderfully practical books, some of which you can find on this site.