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Here is a letter from a reader:
Please give me your thoughts on "confession."
As a former Roman Catholic, I was taught that I had to participate in the sacrament of penance, and confess my sins to a priest, and do what he told me in order to be forgiven. I know now that my forgiveness is complete in the shed blood of Jesus Christ: that my sin debt has been paid, and that God is satisfied with this once-for-all atonement. (Isaiah 53:11; 1 Peter 3:8; Heb 10:10, etc.)
Much of what I hear on radio preaching, and in Baptist churches, regarding confession, seems like repackaged Roman Catholic teaching: basically, that my sins are forgiven when I confess them. Granted, there is no priestly intermediary, but the results are the same. If I believed this, I would be on the same treadmill of working for my salvation, and hoping that I would not die with any unconfessed sin.
I believe that Jesus Christ is infinite God, and that his shed blood is enough to pay for all the sins of all men of all time, and that I entered into this blessed state of being forgiven when I put my faith and trust in him; when I "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ...." Think about it: forgiven! And, "...it is finished." This is thrilling, isn't it?
I also hear a lot about 2 Ch 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." But again, this means that my sins remain unforgiven, and places me back under the wrath of God, unless I:
1. humble myself
3. seek God's face
4. turn (repent)
These are all good things, but again, all my sins were washed away when I came to Calvary. So, this teaching on confession is troubling.
Would it not be correct to teach that a believer should walk in holiness, through the power of the Holy Spirit in them, and that they should repent when they sin, and to thank God for the forgiveness that they have in Jesus, instead of teaching confession in order to get the sin forgiven? This is not a license to sin; if a person feels liberty when they sin, they have never met the Savior. I know that 1 John 1 is used to teach the ongoing confession of sin, but in light of the other NT scriptures, I think this must have to do with a sinner that has repented toward God - he has confessed that he has sinned, instead of denying it, and going on thinking he's not so bad, etc.
Well, I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Please shoot me a note when you get a moment.
Brother Paul V. answered his own question really. Nowhere in the Bible is salvation made contingent on repentance. The Pope, Baptist preachers, and everyone in between, teach that repentance is the key to being born again. It is an ongoing blasphemy of Fundamentalists that makes salvation dependent on my repentance.
There has never been a sinner who was born again who did not understand his sin was damning. On the other hand, there has never been a sinner saved who did ANYTHING to participate in his salvation except to believe in Jesus Christ. The sins were washed away before he ever knew about them on a Wednesday evening, outside Jerusalem, about 2000 years ago. The last Passover was Jesus Christ himself, and I can only believe it happened and praise him for applying the Blood to me.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:
that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
What John reveals as the Gospel, Paul teaches later to saved people, and there is not one word about repentance. There IS teaching about "confession." This "confession" is NOT about your sin-- It is "confession" that Jesus Christ is the Son of God--
NOWHERE ARE YOU TOLD TO CONFESS TO MEN THAT YOU ARE A SINNER-- YOU ARE TOLD TO CONFESS WHO JESUS CHRIST IS TO MEN.
Confession is not made to a priest or at a Baptist altar call. Jumping into the "River of Renewal" or "praying through" never saved anyone. Confession is made in the check out line at Wal-Mart or Monday morning at the office to the lost.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
This is NOT repentance before God! It is confession in the market place. There is much justification for teaching that a profession of faith is false if that profession is not followed by public confession of Christ. There is NO biblical grounds for saying a profession of faith is false because the sinner did not wail and weep over his sins at an "old fashioned altar."
Peter understand he was a sinner? Answer- YES: Luke 5:7
And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they
should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they
began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Did Isaiah know he was a sinner: Answer- YES: Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
But, Peter was not blessed by Jesus for confessing he was a sinner. Jesus simply ignored Peter and kept teaching him. The blessing of Peter came, not after confession of sin, but after confession before men of Christ as the Messiah in the flesh.
16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he
(her dead brother) shall
rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
We have heard many stories of families finally having enough of jackboot Baptist and Pentecostal hog pens, and they leave and are feel delivered. But, residual issues hang around, right?
Two things almost always happen:
1. Mom and Dad take up to two years learning to trust other people and some new pastor who is a godly and humble man. They keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. If this is your experience, do not give up. But, commit yourself to people one at a time, and to a pastor only as he shows himself your friend. Do not commit yourself, your kids, and your cash to programs and .......ness.
2. The second experience of families battered by bastard preachers and deacons is that the kids of the family do not know if they are saved, and cannot find assurance. In junior church the kids were bombarded with the notion that they always failed God and were so full of sin that their only hope was to fling themselves into the arms of the adults herding them and the fire breathing preacher.
First, find out if the kids were sexually or physically abused, especially if you are in Texas.
Second, take loving action, and start reading through the Gospel of John in your family Bible reading, and ask, over and over, "Billy, do you believe that?" If Billy says he believes it, praise God and keep going. If he does not believe something in John, don't despair and DO NOT threaten him with hell fire. Keep reading. Lift up Jesus, and trust the Holy Ghost to do his work.
Once you come to John 20:31, simply ask Billy is he believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If Billy says he believes that, tell him Jesus wants to hear him say it out loud (Roman 10:9-10). Once Billy says he believes this out loud, have him read the end of verse 31. "....and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Ask Billy if he needs to do anything else to have eternal life. If he wanders back to the excerments of Baptists traditions due to flashbacks to junior church, bring him back to read it again. Do this until Billy finally realizes that he is saved by faith and saying so out loud, not be repentance.
Sin should have been dealt with all along the way as you read John, and Billy knows he is a sinner. He must be helped to declare his faith in Jesus, not in his sin.
Daddy-- Do YOU really believe that declaring your faith in Jesus Christ is all that you must do to have eternal life? Be sure that you are sure that you are sure that you are sure that "the just shall live by faith," faith in a Savior, not faith in a plan, "the Romans road," or by kneeling on a magic carpet at the front of a church house.
Finally, you must find a way to reinforce faith daily. Perhaps your family would need something like running together and hugging and confessing your faith in Jesus when someone feels doubt creeping in. Maybe a Bible verse posted on a nice plaque on the wall with an assurance verse. Maybe memorize assurance verses for a few months at Bible reading time.
And, regarding Baptist traditions, get the hell out..... I would suggest you buy a mid sized garbage can, place it out back with the other trash cans, and whenever you or your kids realize you have been observing some Baptist tradition that is not taught in the Bible, write it down and let one of the kids take it out back and throw it in that trash can. Make a sign with "dung gate" on it, and tape it to the can. Explain that people, like Jerusalem, must get things our of their lives from time to time.
Confessing sin never saved anyone. Jesus' Blood saves anyone who is genuinely born again. And, I shall be brutally blunt-- any preacher, Pope, or raving evangelist who teaches that repentance of sin saves you, that mongrel teacher is damned to hell.
I have talked to many people in the USA and Africa who knew they were sinners and said so. Some have gone as far as to say they are sorry for their sins, and a few have even said they told God they were sorry. But, these people would not confess that they believe and are sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
It is commonly taught by Fundamentalists that many people come to believe in Jesus Christ but never repent of sin, so they are lost. I find just the reverse-- that many people repent of sin, admit that they need to be cleansed in the Blood of Christ, but they refuse to confess to men, OPENLY, in the market place, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In this case, the Fundamentalist repentance privately, or even at the altar in a church house, is not saving. It becomes a charm act, a kind of works salvation without obeying what God calls for in Romans 10:9-10. The proof of faith is to talk about Jesus, NOT YOUR SIN !!!! Until you talk about Jesus, and tell the world you totally believe he is God, you are not saved.
My question to you is, "Who is Jesus Christ"? If you can in all sincerity and faith answer as Peter did in Matthew above, you are born again. You have NOTHING left to do to "have life through his name." John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Now, go confess it-- tell someone who is NOT a church house friend. If you refuse to speak, confess, of Jesus Christ, you are not born again- You are still in rebellion against the truth. Psalms 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed
to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive
damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
This text is often used to prove that repentance results in salvation and that repentance must be added to the confession of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Please notice CONTEXT! The passage is to saved people, not lost sinners. Verse 9 and 11 are all about the repentance of the Corinthians with regard to sin in the assembly which was not being dealt with. Paul commends them for dealing with that sin in response to his first letter to them, 2 Corinthians.
Verse 10 makes one and only one point, that is, true repentance is the result of the sorrow of Bible believing saints. The repentance of the world is real, but it is hypocritical and results in a change of heart, that is, a return to the sin again. One repentance is in reference to genuine salvation, while the other repentance is in reference to damnation.
I know a man who has repented of his sin many times. He is genuinely sorry for his sin, and he makes provision not to return to that sin. The problem is, every time he finds a reason to return to the sin after all. He is not born again, for if he were born again he would go on the victory described in Verse 11 above.
So, this text has nothing to do with sinners getting saved by repentance. It describes what saved people and unsaved people do about their sins, how they repent.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Verse 12 tells you again who is being addressed-- "Ye men of Israel...." These are Old Covenant believers, not Philistine pagans.
Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
believing was in John-- This was a message of repentance to Jews, and they repented
to look for Messiah who had not yet been revealed. The repentance of a Jew did
not make him right with Messiah. Only later, after Jesus started preaching the
Gospel of the kingdom, did the Jew have the opportunity to believe that Jesus
was the Christ, the Son of God. Even here we see that their repentance did not
save them, it only got them ready to act by faith in the Savior.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This was said to saved Jews who had just asked what they should do in view of the fact that they had killed their Messiah. Lost Gentiles are not saved. Once lost Gentiles become saved Gentiles, they are also sent to repent and confess sin in 1 John 1:9. That has nothing to do with believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews in Acts 2 needed to repent of their rejection of Messiah so they could be remitted of sin and go from faith to faith.
20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed
you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
we see that Jews repent to get right with God, and Gentiles confess for the first
time faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Both Jew and Gentile are doing this in
one faith once delivered in Jesus Christ.
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
was to backslidden Jews again, not to lost Gentiles.
24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer,
and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
repent and their sins are remitted. They are born again and promised eternal life,
as we saw earlier, only when they confess their belief in Jesus Christ as the
Son of the living God. As we also said, there is no such thing as a sinner getting
saved who does not understand he is a sinner. But, hell will be full of people
who knew they were sinners. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as the only
sacrifice for sin, AND SAY SO TO MEN, will be glorified into eternal life. When
the emphasis is put on repentance, the sinner may never really believe Christ
is God. He shows he never made the connection between his sinfulness and Christ's
work on the cross by his total disinterest in talking about Jesus Christ to other
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
The sinner was not a goat turned sheep. The sinner was a sheep, a Jewish believer, who went astray. Messiah came to bring Israel back to himself. That is the point of the story.
heard of a Fundamental Baptist preacher who privately confessed to a friend that
he did not understand salvation. How could this be? Answer: He had not taken the
works all the way out of the saving act of faith-- confession of Jesus Christ
as the Son of God plus nothing.
Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
These did not believe they were sinners, and that explains why they did not confess faith in Jesus Christ. They hate him. If they could repent to Buddha or Mohammed, then they likely would repent in a flash, but they did not want to stop sinning. Repentance, based on godly sorrow, is the mind set that sends a man to Jesus Christ. Confession of Jesus Christ before other sinners is what saves him.
10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Some readers have been offended by this article. They think I do not believe in repentance as part of salvation.
I believe repentance WILL happen when a person is born again. But repentance is not the act that saves, as the article above shows. So, I want to make it clear that if a person has never repented to God and man of sin, he is not saved. It is simply not possible to understand why Christ died and rose from death if one is not convinced of his own personal state of sin.
There is a real problem with easy believism. There is a modern "salvation" which is simply like taking off the original factory hub caps on your Chevy and putting on some new cool ones that spin and flash lights. I agree with brother Farah in his concerns. I dare you to find me a church that teaches easy believism that did not first change to contemporary Christian music. Go on, I dare you. The two simply go together.
Souls are saved by, or where, the saints are worshipping God the Bible way:
Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
IS A RIGHT WAY TO DEAL WITH SIN--
READ THE GOSPEL OF JOHN