The Practice of Confession

Tim Challies has an excellent article titled The Practice of Confession. Here’s an excerpt, but I would highly recommend clicking through to read the full article.

Some time ago I was reading the site of a Roman Catholic apologist and read a statement that showed a misunderstanding of Protestant theology. And there may be good reason for this error. The author said simply, “Protestants do not believe in confession.” The statement is correct only insofar as Protestants do not practice auricular confession (confessing ones’ sins to a priest in order to receive forgiveness). That statement along with others I have heard and read shows that there is a misunderstanding about the Protestant view of confession. That God calls us to confess our sin is clearly supported by Scripture. The Bible offers us clear teaching on this subject. Yet this is not an aspect of Christian living to which Christians tend to give a great deal of attention. Today I want to look just briefly to the practice of confession.

[snip]

Most Christians have, at one time or another, learned the acronym A.C.T.S. as a model for prayer. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication is a good and a logical way of ordering prayer. There is logic in this model. Giving God the adoration due his name will inevitably prepare us for confession. Focusing on God’s attributes will help us see where we have fallen short of his standards. A part of our adoration is focusing on the attributes of God that we shared with him before our fall into sin. For example, we may give God glory for being perfect in holiness. As we do this it opens our eyes to the fact that this perfection is God’s standard for us. He demands and expects no less from us. Once we have established who God is and what he has done we cannot help but see how our lives and character fall short of the perfection he demands. The reaction of a contrite and broken heart can be nothing other than confessing our sinfulness before him as we begin to pour out our requests before him.

I am reminded of Steve Green’s song “I Repent”

I regret the hours I have wasted
And the pleasures I have tasted
That you were never in.
And I confess that though your love is in me,
It doesn’t always win me
When competing with my sin

Chorus
And I repent, making no excuses.
I repent, no one else to blame.
And I return to fall in love with Jesus
I bow down on my knees and I repent

I lament the idols I’ve accepted,
The commandments I’ve rejected
To pursue my selfish end.
And I confess I need you to revive me,
Put selfishness behind me
And take up my cross again.

Chorus
And I repent, making no excuses.
I repent, no one else to blame.
And I return to fall in love with Jesus
I bow down on my knees
And I return to fall in love with Jesus
I bow down on my knees and I repent

I Repent – Steve Green

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