A key ingredient to revival is confession of sin
April 18, 2006
No matter whether there is another name on it, whether or if it’s a capsule, or a tablet, or powder, or whatever, it’s still aspirin. No matter what it is mixed with, the key ingredient is still aspirin.
The same is true with awakening and God movements. A key element – confession of sin – is a neglected doctrine. This doctrine seems to move into the forefront in times of revival.
In times of revival the Holy Spirit convicts the believer of sin and there is no peace until the believer confesses or agrees with God about what God has called sin.
The Bible gives us clear teaching on the matter. Sometimes people object to confession, but when we follow the maxim – let the circle of the offense committed be the circle of the confession made – most people do not have any problem with confession. Another way of saying this: secret sins should be confessed secretly, private sins confessed privately, and open sins confessed openly.
Whether in great awakenings, or from the writings of Charles Finley, or a local church moment, confession of sin must be specific, not general. For a church member to say, “I am not what I should be” is one thing, but to say, “I have been a troublemaker in the church and I need you to forgive me” is something else.
The attitude of the human heart toward sin could be considered a general problem, but all acts of sin are specific and should be confessed that way. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Achan was a soldier of Joshua’s army and disobeyed a divine command after a victory at Jericho. At Ai, the armies of Israel were defeated by his incomplete obedience. Confession was first due unto God and then to those he disobeyed.
Partial obedience or partial confession will only result in judgment or the lack of God’s blessing. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covers his sin shall not prosper…”
If someone has a problem with another brother, confession must be made. It is also made in private. Matthew 5:23-24 says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
There is many an offering of money, service, preaching, etc., made everyday that when tested by fire (1 Cor. 3) will become as wood, hay, and stubble. Wonder what would take place this Sunday if believers would obey this simple command?
There is also the admonition of Matthew 28:15-17 that goes along with this. A couple of things to think about;
I should not wait to let someone come to me, I must become intentional about confession. In addition, when we go to a brother or take some one else, our motive must always be redemptive.
There is a time for this but always handled wisely. In times of revival it is not unusual when someone has spoken critically toward leadership in a church or against the church body that open confession would be proper. Open confession was practiced during the baptism of John in the Jordan, and also following the preaching of Paul in Ephesus.
The need for limiting open confession should not be an excuse for prohibiting open confession. The Bible is very clear on this: James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righ