Confession“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9) 2016 LLC Winter Services Congregation and Youth Evening February 26
Overview • Sin and its effects • God’s Love….saved by faith • Confession – scripture and doctrine • What is confession? • Confession – public and private • What keeps us from confessing? • Time to visit
Points to remember • a gift to help a child of God in faith • has a scriptural foundation • voluntary, of one’s own will • enumeration of all sins is not essential nor possible • the preaching of forgiveness and believing it are most important
Sin and its effects Sin is: • transgression of God's will • iniquity against our neighbor • the falling away of the heart from God and rebellion against Him
Sin and its effects All have sinned. • “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10) • The believer’s endeavor is a battle: • enemy of the soul • the world • one’s own flesh. • “In this battle we suffer losses and are wounded. Sin attaches and wounds the conscience.” (THIF)
Sin and its effects Apostle Paul – battle of the flesh against the spirit. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:18, 19, 24)
Sin and its effects • A tender conscience is troubled. • Feelings arise: • fear doubt despair • Shame guilt embarrassment • Peace and freedom are lost. • Joy is taken away. • The pathway becomes difficult. • The beauty of God’s kingdom diminishes. • We doubt if we will reach heaven.
God’s love…saved by faith “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine • “To help us, God has given confession wherein we can free our conscience from exhausting burdens and to salve our wounds…Confession is for remaining in faith, not for entering faith.” (THIF) • Confession – a matter of church doctrine • A part of the life of a child of God • Spoken of in sermons
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine “Since absolution or the power of the keys, which was instituted by Christ in the Gospel, is a consolation and help against sin and a bad conscience, confession and absolution should by no means be allowed to fall into disuse in the church.” (Smalcald Articles)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine “Confession has firm foundations in Scripture.” (THIF) “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Heb. 12:1)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8,9) “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine The keys of the kingdom“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” (John 20:21–23)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine Jesus’ instruction and example“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15)
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine Abundant Grace“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18:21–22) 70 X 7 = 490!
Confession –Scriptures and Doctrine “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:2–5, a psalm of David)
Let’s Sing SHZ 306! (v. 1) When doubt and sin are pressing, a Christian sighs and weeps and on the way of suff’ring, for mercy waits and pleads, and then, in trust and comfort, confesses sin and grief to a confessor father and finds forgiveness free.
Let’s Sing SHZ 306! (v. 2) Christ gifted to His kingdom His Spirit and His grace; He gave His congregation the power of the keys. That power of forgiveness relieves the pain of sin, and then the sin-sick conscience finds peace with God again.
Let’s Sing SHZ 306! (v. 3) Grant absolution, Father, to strengthen weary souls; the Word of grace deliver to end the pain and woe. Alone by grace and mercy Your children travel home, and when they end the journey You’ll grant a gleaming crown. W Väinö Havas – VK 1938 E Richard Nevala 2008
What is confession? To admit or acknowledge our sins. “Luther emphasized the voluntary nature of confession…We confess of our own will because we feel confession to be a gift given to us by God. It comforts and encourages our consciences.”(THIF)
What is confession? “According to Luther’s understanding, absolution already is confession, although it may not include any special confession of sins.”“He emphasizes, especially, that the preaching of forgiveness and hearing it are the most important part of confession.”
What is confession? Luther condemned false confession practices: • As a work forced upon a person under threat or fear • An act whereby one merits forgiveness by the goodness of their confession -- an enumeration of sins or a detailed accounting
What is confession? Luther -- Small Catechism Confession consists of two parts, “One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive absolution or forgiveness from the confessor as from God himself, by no means doubting but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.”
What is confession? Luther -- Small Catechism “In addition, the Small Catechism teaches that before God, we should acknowledge that we are guilty of all manner of sins, even those of which we are not aware. We do this, for example, in the Lord’s Prayer. Before the confessor, however, we should confess only those sins of which we have knowledge and feel in our heart.”
What is confession? Luther describes four forms of confession: • General confession • Confession of love • Public confession • Private confession
What is confession? • General confession: “when the congregation confesses its sins together. This takes place at a worship service and in communion.” • Confession of love: “takes place when we ask forgiveness of our neighbor for our offenses, whether word or deed.”
What is confession? • Public confession: “In it, we confess our transgressions publicly and ask for forgiveness from the congregation.” • Private confession: “in which we confess our sins to a confessor-father privately and receive absolution.” “When we speak of confession, we generally mean private confession.”
Confession –Public and Private Is public confession more effective than private confession? • Gospel of forgiveness is just as powerful in both • Main emphasis is on absolution, not the confession • Wrong emphasis makes confession a work by which a person attempts to earn merit. • In both instances the same word of the Holy Spirit enlivens and gives strength.
Confession –Public and Private • We wish to correct matters to the extent that offense has been caused. • The gospel preached by a confessor-father conveys the power of forgiveness to correct matters such as offenses against others or the government.
Confession –two parts Luther teaches (Large Catechism): • First -- my work and act, lamenting my sin and desiring comfort • Second -- the work which God does, absolving me of my sins through a word placed in the mouth of man
Confession – two parts Danger that emphasis shifts to act of confession and enumeration of sins Effect: • Confession becomes our work • Thinking we’ve become a better Christian. • Absolution becomes unnoticed. • Not feeling freedom and joy • Feeling a need to make a better confession. • A confession spiral can result when our gaze is directed into ourselves rather than toward Christ.
Confession –two parts When forgiveness preached through the power of the Holy Spirit is most important, we experience freedom from sin. Then confession is seen as a gift of God and the grace privilege that He has intended. Our confession is alwaysimperfect, but the absolutionis perfect: all of our sins are forgiven and our consciences are freed.
What keeps us from confessing? • My supposed honor • It feels as though no one else could have fallen into such sins. • Ifear that my confessor-father will not understand or will no longer consider me as a believer.
What has happened when I have been able to speak to a confessor-father? • I have been surprised. He has understood. • When my sins have been forgiven, I have experienced liberation. • The faults giving me pain no longer rose accusingly. • The stone has been removed; the travel feels easy. I have only regretted that I have carried burdens in vain.
I have been a confessor-father also. The believers to whom I have been able to preach the gospel have become close and dear. • I have learned that keepingfaith and a good conscience is important to them. • I have an unconditional responsibility to remain silent.
Confession is a God-given gift that helps us in faith. The word of absolution has simply freed our consciences from heavy burdens. The performance of confession does not cleanse our consciences but belief in the word of absolution. God does not cleanse our hearts by confession, but by faith.
Remember to forget • Pleading for forgiveness • Preaching of forgiveness • Believing forgiveness • Forgetting those sins that have also been forgiven by the Heavenly Father
Let’s visit • How have you experienced the gift of confession in your life of faith?
Let’s visit • What has kept you from confessing your sins? • Knowing how difficult it is to confess our sins, how can we help a troubled brother or sister in faith to become free? • Have you had an experience where a brother or sister in faith has helped you to speak of matters troubling you and then preached the gospel so that you can be freed from the burden of sin?
Let’s visit • When you have received strength to confess your sins, what have you found your confessor-father’s reaction to be? What has happened to your relationship with him? • To whom should we speak when we have sin burdening our conscience? • What is the duty of a confessor-father?