image courtesy of Despair, Inc.
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs 28:13
What is the importance of confession? Have you ever thought about this question? So many times in my Christian walk I have been told that without confession there is no forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The problem is we have already been forgiven (1 John 2:12). And, if that were not the case, we would never have confessed all of our sins in order to find complete forgiveness.
So, what is the importance of confession? There is an interesting passage in Hosea that I believe brings to light God’s desires for confession. It is found in Hosea 2: 5–13 and Hosea 2: 14–23. The book of Hosea is about how God made the prophet go marry a prostitute to symbolize God’s love for Israel. This passage shows the rationale of the importance of exposing sin.
What is God’s response to Israel’s sin? He actively blocks her path to keep her from her lovers; he takes away His provisions for her; and He exposes her lewdness.
Is the response based out of anger or love? LOVE. How do you know? Israel could not receive God’s love for her while she was still holding on to other lovers. He removed His blessing, not as a form of punishment, but in an attempt to make her feel her weakness without Him. He knew her attachment to these other lovers would hinder her from receiving the full measure of His love, and He loved her too much to leave her sin hidden.
What is God’s attitude once He exposes her? This part is just amazing. Once He gets her to a place of weakness, He tries to win back her affection. He allures her. He speaks tenderly to her. He starts to give back that which He withheld. It is amazing to see God as such a jealous lover that fights for His bride, yet after fighting He does not assume her love. He humbly seeks to win her favor. The God, who can do anything He wants, does not presume that we will respond, but seeks to make us want to by courting us.
How does the relationship change between them? Before the relationship was a servant/master. Now, it is one of lovers – a husband/wife. Do you see? This is God’s plan. He wants intimate lovers, but sin hinders our view of Him and the best we can see the relationship being is servant/master. We confess our sins, not for the forgiveness. We confess our sins in order to walk out our forgiveness. Because I know that I am forgiven, I can expose my sins to the light of His love to see He does not hold hatred or disappointment in me, but love and forgiveness.
Leaving our sins hidden in darkness exposes lies we believe about God’s forgiveness – that we have gone beyond His grace or He will not take care of me. We are not some sort of project that we have to be corrected or supervised in order to gain His favor. He loves us because He delights in us. We bring Him joy.
Sin saddens God’s heart not because it angers Him (remember Jesus dealt with that), but because He loves us so much He wants us to experience all of the joy in His heart for us. Stop worrying about your ministry or what other may think of you. Confess your sins so that you may run in the delight of God’s extravagant love for you.