I had an unexpected conversation today about (among other things) the role of confession for a Christian.
We were reflecting on our state of mind when we are confessing to God, and I think all too often confession becomes the Christian version of ‘good works’ to earn salvation. What I mean is how often do we slip into thinking sin takes us away from God and that confession brings us back and makes us pleasing to God.
BUT the reality is that our confession is not pleasing to God. Jesus is pleasing to God. And we are in him and therefore in grace. The reality in a life lived in grace is that because of Jesus our sin doesn’t cut us off from God, and neither does our confession bring us closer to God. Jesus calls us not to confession but to repentance, not just once as we ask Jesus to be our king for the first time, but continually throughout our life. We should never be satisfied in who we are, but constantly recognising our sin, and not just confessing it but turning from it and to Him.
In our conversation we reflect on ourselves pre and post becoming Christians, both of us remembering that we were different people back then! But we both realised that we should long to be better everyday.
I might be a Christian now, and a very different women, but I am still riddled with sin. Romans 7:17 – 25 gives the perfect description of me –
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.