Confession of sins; February 21, 2023

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

This is another of the Scriptures I heard repeatedly when first introduced to the Charismatic Movement, and with good reason. The concept of confessing sins was virtually lost from the denomination in which I was raised, and that is a major loss. Prayer was certainly taught, but I don’t think there was much expectation of healing. The thing is, my father was exposed to the Shantung Revival in China when he was a new, single missionary, and public confession of sins was certainly a characteristic of that revival, as it has been of virtually every major revival in Church history. From what I have heard, it is also happening in the current Asbury Revival in Kentucky, though the press coverage has tended to gloss that over. I was distressed yesterday to hear that the university administrators are trying to “get back to the academic calendar,” even though they did cancel classes initially. Man wants to control the Holy Spirit! Now there you have a sin that needs to be confessed! The last half of this verse is often quoted independently of the first half, and we lose sight of what it is to be righteous. As Paul wrote, quoting Psalm 5:9, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.’” (Romans 3:10) However, as John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) The only way to be righteous is to have our sins confessed up-to-date. However, when our sins are confessed, we are from that moment righteous, and should have every expectation of being welcome in the throne room of God. The Catholic Church formalized confession, which is probably better than ignoring it like some groups, but between the formality and the idea that it had to be done to a priest, it degenerated into almost a works-based salvation, which is a major reason other groups avoided it. Both sides of that pleased the devil! If we want the Holy Spirit to move freely, as He has been doing at Asbury, we’ve got to be honest with Him, with ourselves, and with each other. If we will do that, our prayers will progress to another dimension.

This of course applies to me. I do have some close friends to whom I confess sins, and I try to be specific in asking forgiveness of my wife or others against whom I might sin specifically, but at the same time I’m not to be picking at myself, looking for sins to confess. The Holy Spirit is quite faithful to point out things I need to confess, if I will keep my heart open to Him. That really is the key to it all. I desire intensely that the Holy Spirit be poured out on this church, this city, this nation, and to that end I’ve got to be completely open to Him myself. My track record hasn’t been terrible, but it has certainly been spotty. I’m never to think “I’ve got it all together,” because only Jesus has it all together! I’m feeling I’m to speak on the Holy Spirit this Sunday, but I certainly can’t make anything happen on my own. I’ve got to be humble before my Lord and follow His directions, allowing Him to use me however He desires, for His glory alone.

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace. Thank You that Your forgiveness and cleansing are real, and are available to all. Help me be fully up-to-date before You so that I won’t be a hinderance in any way, but fully available for whatever You desire to do, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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