The Scriptures say that sins should be confessed to one another, to men of God, and especially to those offended against. These are some of the basic requirements of walking with God:
Repent. Turn from all sin. The first word of command in the gospels is, “Repent.” Acknowledge every sin and confess it, whether a sin committed, an action omitted, a sin of attitude, word, deed, desire, or thought.
Restitution must be made in full to the reasonable satisfaction of the one wronged. Apology is not enough in many cases. What about their loss of goods, peace of mind, freedom, or general well-being? By the Law, God commanded that in some cases fourfold was to be returned as compensation. How far above the laws of men are the Laws of God! If you hope to receive God, you better prepare yourself for His holy Laws.
Confess. It is not enough to whisper it to God. If your sins have been public, then the repentance and confession ought to be public. If you unduly embarrassed someone publicly without cause, you must make it right publicly, voluntarily. Confess other sins to a man of God, as they confessed sins to John the Baptist or to appropriate persons. If you have hidden adultery in your heart from your wife, you must confess it to her – specifically.
Confession of sin must always be specific – none of this, “I’ve been dishonest,” stuff. How were you dishonest, why, with whom, in what, when, and where? Get real, get right. You will not deceive God; you cannot satisfy a Holy, Perfect God with half-heartedness or hypocrisy. You will only disgust Him and possibly bring wrath rather than good.
For more on receiving the Lord’s cleansing through confession of sin, read Holy Waters.
I now address the misunderstandings and erroneous rationalizations concerning this important subject – confession of sin.
Those of you who confess Christ and would have genuine peace and joy with God must come completely clean with both God and neighbor, whether the neighbor knows you did wrong or not, and sometimes even if they were not involved. If you have wronged anyone, and you have the opportunity to make things right with them, you have every obligation under God to do so. As you treat His brothers and sisters, and as you treat your neighbor, so you treat Him.
Many use this Scripture to avoid admission of fault and sin to others:
“For I confess my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight; that You might be justified when You speak, and be clear when You judge” (Psalms 51:3-4 MKJV).
They argue, “I sinned against God only. I don’t need to confess to anyone but Him.” Some repentance that is! A verse further on says:
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners shall be converted to You” (Psalms 51:12-13 MKJV).
Why do you prefer to hide what you have done? Is it pride? Is it to escape the deserved consequences for your actions? Tell me, friend, how will you teach transgressors God’s ways, if you refuse to make things right with others, directly and personally, be it believers or unbelievers, family or strangers, be they innocent or guilty toward you?
How will you make things right without saying, “I’m sorry”? How will you make things right without restitution? Bring forth fruits demonstrating true repentance. Let’s put all the talk and pretense away. God hates it! You hear me? He hates it! It is hypocrisy. No, you need to come clean and ‘fess up.
And don’t let the amount of time passed stop you. It may not matter if it was yesterday or a decade ago. A long-awaited apology or restitution can bring much relief and joy for those wronged, or closure to the situation.
A married woman I know went on the internet and met another man. She soon left her husband and children, who were all suddenly devastated. What a sad family it was at the time! She married that man and, in time to come, began to run in politics.
Politicians strategize, as you know, and often find a “church home,” which is what this woman did at a local evangelical church (which the Lord told me was a “witches’ coven”). After all, one must give good impressions and please men to get their votes. Besides, contacts can be made.
So then what did she do? She “asked Jesus into her heart” and suddenly she was “forgiven for all her past deeds.” Now that things were “right with God,” she was home-free to continue her life as a sinner because “God forgave her”!
No repentance, no restitution, and everything was now supposedly just fine. Meanwhile, her adulterous partner gets to keep his ungodly reward for evil, instead of being stoned to death, and she leaves her former husband and children in their dismality when she also ought to be stoned to death, according to God.
Is that the way things work? Maybe with sinners and hypocrites and liars and thieves and murderers and sluts and whoremongers and adulterers and adulteresses, but not with saints and angels and God. No, no, no. Do not think for a moment you can confess your sins to God and not actively repent of them. Do not think for a moment that the past is the past if there is anything you can do to make things right or reverse your evils in the present. You only invite God’s wrath with that approach.
Try testifying to your neighbor while wearing the wristwatch you stole from him. If I steal $1,000 from my neighbor, whether he knows about it or not, am I right not to repay? And if he doesn’t know I stole it, am I free? Hardly! It was his – give it back to him; the Lord would definitely have you restore that which you have stolen, and then some.
Whatever you keep back that is not lawfully yours is cursed and you and your house with it.
Now what if I go to my brother or neighbor with intent of restoration and pretend to give him a gift, with no explanation, except perhaps a phony one like, “I appreciate you,” or, “I felt led to give you this”? Do you really think God will approve of your pretense, not to mention your claim of virtue?
Or what if I secretly leave the money on his table or slip it in his pocket or her purse with no explanation? While that might work sometimes, God does not generally work that way. He wants you to rejoice in honesty and be free to shout it from the housetops, not only for your own sake, but for the sakes of others who will see your good works and glorify God. You rob Him of glory when you withhold anything at all.
The real reason you return the money is because you did evil, and you must confess yourself a sinner, not a philanthropist. Being a sneak won’t make it right with God. It has nothing to do with being good or appreciative or magnanimous. By pretense, you add sin to sin and anger God.
And by adding His Name to the game, you do more of the same because you are the one to blame.
Yes, friend, that is what He wants. Let’s face it – if you are not open and honest, you are not free. The cross has not had the liberty to do its very necessary work.
Will a dead man or woman have any further need of hiding anything? Nothing can be spared, not a thing. You must die to have access to God; only then will you be free and free indeed.
One may think it harsh of me to speak this way, but it is God’s Law, not mine, that commands the death penalty for adultery and many other sins. The idea originated with God – read it in your Bible. Furthermore, He is the One Who calls for repentance and restitution.
You may cite the John 8 story of the woman caught in adultery to refute my supposed unforgiveness and legalism, but keep in mind that Jesus called on her to go and sin no more. If she remained with an unlawful bed partner, would she be meeting that requirement?
I tell you this: While many professing Jesus Christ as their Savior have a “Jesus” who would let her continue to run around, the Jesus I know says, “If you continue in your sin, you deserve the punishment written, and I will not rescue you the next time.” That is the Real Jesus Christ. Argue with that, and I can only say you have a devil for your “Jesus.” Repentance is paramount.
Would you like proof of that from Scripture? Try this:
Luke 13:1-5 MKJV
(1) And some were present at the same time reporting to Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
(2) And answering, Jesus said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things?
(3) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
(4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who lived in Jerusalem?
(5) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
“Oh, but that was before the Lord died on the cross to pay for our sins,” you say? Then let’s go beyond the cross, soon after His resurrection:
Acts 5:1-11 MKJV
(1) And a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
(2) And he kept back part of the price, his wife also knowing, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
(3) But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
(4) While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own authority? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.
(5) And hearing these words, Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came on all those who heard these things.
(6) And the younger ones arose, wound him up, and carrying him out, they buried him.
(7) And it was about the space of three hours afterward, when his wife (not knowing what was done) came in.
(8) And Peter answered her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much.
(9) Then Peter said to her, How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door and they will carry you out.
(10) Then at once she fell down at his feet and expired. And the younger ones found her dead, and, carrying her out, buried her beside her husband.
(11) And great fear came on all the church and on as many as heard these things.
Years later, we have more of the same:
Revelation 2:19-23 MKJV
(19) I know your works and love and service and faith and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first.
(20) But I have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My servants to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol-sacrifices.
(21) And I gave her time that she might repent of her fornication, and she did not repent.
(22) Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of their deeds.
(23) And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches will know that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts, and I will give to every one of you according to your works.
What did Zaccheus say when true salvation came to his house? Here it is:
“And Zaccheus stood and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor. And in anything I accused anyone falsely, I restore it fourfold. And Jesus said to him, This day salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:8-9 MKJV).
Now that is repentance – the real thing! I love this story! Read it and you get permeated with the reality of the joy of genuine salvation! I see this small man jumping for joy because his chains are gone – chains of deception, dishonesty, hard labor, guilt, and covetousness! Faith invaded his soul, released him from his prison, and he was free, free, free! Halleluyah! Blessed Zaccheus! A true son of faith, a son of Abraham!
And what a testimony to light the way and encourage and thrill the hearts of many to come!
“Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much” (James 5:16 MKJV).
And what were the people doing when the way of the Lord was being prepared by John? They were confessing their sins!
“And all the land of Judea, and those of Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5 MKJV).
So you are afraid of repercussions. Are they greater than God? Will He not take care of everything when He asks you to do the right thing? He most certainly will!
Think about it: Why is He asking you to do the right thing anyway? So that you will lose and be cursed, or so that you will gain and be blessed? What happened to Zaccheus? How do you think he fared thereafter? Salvation came to him and his house! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Honesty, confession, and restitution bring healing for both perpetrator and victim. It isn’t just a matter of returning goods.
Do you know what you need to do about confession? If not, get in touch with us and, Lord willing, we will give you counsel of the Lord.
What you need to know about confession – what it is, why you need it, how it works, and where it takes you. Life and peace await those who truly forsake their sins and are cleansed of all unrighteousness.