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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Lesson in Confession


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

This verse is a stumbling block to me. 

Isn’t it enough that I confess my sins to God? I’m not Catholic, after all. I believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, for as Romans 10:13 proclaims, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Why then need I confess my sins to others?

Consider that other alone: Scripture alone. The Bible - the whole Bible! - is the inspired word of God and the sole infallible rule of faith and practice. That includes James 5:16. Further, this is not about justification; it’s about sanctification. We do not confess our sins to each other so that we may be forgiven or justified; we confess our sins to each other so that we may be healed.

So why don’t I do it?

Because people would think less of me. Confident though I may be in God’s amazing grace and unconditional love, I don’t fully trust His church to mirror His character. I fear their haughty eyes and self-righteous condemnation. I desire their approval, their admiration even, so under a veil of righteousness I hide my sinful heart.

Who then do I aim to please - God or man? Who do I glorify - God or self?

I must confess I have sought to please man that I might be glorified. This verse is a stumbling block to me because I have a pride problem. Pray for me so that I may be healed.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rebel without a cause

For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!

That is really a great question. Moses sounds so disappointed in his people, after all they had been through together, after all the suffering and pain they experienced. After all they had learned about God and His faithfulness, Moses as leader knew he couldn't count on the Israelites to remain true to God.

Moses knew that the Israelites were rebellious at heart. They deserved God's punishment, although they often received his mercy instead. We, too, are stubborn and rebellious by nature. Throughout our lives we struggle with sin. Repentance once a month or once a week is not enough. We must constantly turn from our sins to God and let him, in his mercy, save us.

Many a parent, who discovered their child misbehaving has said to the offenders, "You know better than that. We've been through this before, and as soon as my back is turned, you are at it again." I am sure God thinks this same thing of us and that is why He sent His Son. God knew His people over the ages, would rebel over and over again.

We still do this today.  I still do this today. I know better, I've been down this road before, but still I weaken and fail Him. I mess up every day, but now, I recognize it early on, and can stop in my tracks. I have learned there are consequences, and they are not fun. Because of these consequences I am learning to change,


Deuteronomy 31:27