What Confession Means

by J. Randal Matheny
“The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy.”
Proverbs 28:13 NET
Confession means I declare that I’m a sinner and that I now repudiate my sin. It recognizes and acknowledges that God is right and I am wrong.
Confession is uncovering the hideousness of what I have done. It is the opposite of covering up.
Why do I not confess my sins? Fear, basically. Fear of the consequences, of what others will think. I see the immediate negative results in human terms, rather than the immediate restoration to God’s mercy and the eternal life with him.
Confession and repentance are twins. Confession implies forsaking transgression. Refusal to forsake sin chokes confession as a valid step in the process of finding mercy.
Confession means I won’t leave things as they are.
Confession means I turn away from whatever sin is present in my life and cease doing it.
Zacchaeus knew the meaning of confession, when Jesus came to his house. Luke tells us stood up to make his pronouncement; standing gave it solemnity, called attention to its importance.
“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold'” (Luke 19:8 ESV).
Confession is no mumbling mutter with downcast eyes, but the steely determination that, starting now, things are going to change.
Zacchaeus’s “if” inserted no maybes or who-knows. He confessed fraud. He invited those who had been cheated to line up for restitution.
Covering transgression means keeping it and losing God. Confessing it means dealing with it, abandoning it and finding mercy.
Which do you prefer?


Confession means I won’t leave things as they are.

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