The Healing Power Of Confession

The Healing Power Of Confession

Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth…”

Philippians 2:11: “Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess…”

James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for each other and you …”

This is an outline of a topical Bible study on the “gift” of confession.  The aim of this study is to communicate the truth of the old adage “confession is good for the soul.”   

Introduction:  My wife Jeana found a stain on carpet a few years ago.

“Who spilt this?” she asked.  Of course, the children blamed each other.  Me?  I stayed silent.  Jeana was spit fire mad.  But today I want to fess up, confess, admit who did it!  It was “the dog.”

No, not really.  It was me.  I am figuring the best time to “confess” is when I am standing in front of a crowd at church.  That way there will be witnesses if something bad happens to me.

We all are plagued with the stain of sin!

We all want to hear the message of grace and forgiveness – but sometimes it does not seem to make a difference.

Not a matter of hearing.  Not a matter of understanding.  It is a matter of BELIEVING the message.

We don’t BELIEVE that we can be forgiven.  We don’t believe in the transforming power of grace.  So, though our forgiveness is a done deal and objective truth, it often is not a part of our subjective experience.

We will never truly experience the power of grace until we learn the healing power of confession.

I.  Misunderstandings About Confession

A.  Misconception: Confession is something God NEEDS (two words never go together)

1.  Truth:  God does not clutch to His mercy (we don’t have to pry it from God’s grasp)

2.  Truth:  We need confession in order to experience healing and changed

B.  Misconception: Confession is an accounting procedure

1.  Truth:  Sin is on the debit side of a heavenly accounting spreadsheet BUT

2.  Truth:  The debit (debt) has and is being paid by God’s grace (Jesus)

C.  Misconception: Confession is simply about listing our sins

1.  Truth:  Specific confession of sin is necessary to experience healing and change

2.  Truth:  Confession of GRACE (new creation, trust/faith) are also needed


II. What was God’s PURPOSE in giving us the GIFT of CONFESSION?

Speak about CONFESSION as a GIFT of grace.  Define a “discipline” as intentional act which can help us STOP trusting/depending on self and to START (or increase) our trust/dependence on God!


A.  God’s purpose is that we be liberated from GUILT (greatest plague to confront humanity)

B.  God’s purpose is that we take sin seriously

C.  God’s purpose is that we become less likely (free from bondage/addiction)


III. What is the PROCESS of Confession?

A.  Ask God For Help (Confession MUST take place under the grace of God)

1.  Apart from GRACE – confession is dangerous

a. self-condemnation – confess things we ought not feel guilty about

c. gloss over real problems that need to be addressed

2.  Asking God For HELP reminds us that we are under HIS protection

B.  Self-Examination

1.  Reflect on thoughts, words, deeds, things done and left undone

2.  Acknowledge that we have sinned

3.  Think in terms of categories of SIN (seven deadly vices – Ten Commandments)

4.  Confession must be specific – NOT “I haven’t been as truthful as I should be.”

5.  Confession must be free from “passing the buck” (no excuses, explanation, rational)

6.  We had a choice.  We made a choice.  It was the wrong choice.

7.  The choice needs to be FORGIVEN – not excused (take sin seriously)


C.  A New Perspective On Sin

1.  All sin involves DENIAL (“it wasn’t my fault” – Adam and Eve)

                Flip Wilson:  The Devil Made me do it

2.  Sin produces myopia (nearsightedness) – “spec in neighbor’s eye – not log in my eye”

3.  Confession: Ask for a new perspective

a. From the point of view of the person sinned against

b. From the point of view of God


D.  Ask Yourself Two Questions

1.  Why Did I Do What I Did?

a. Sin is tied to some NEED – we all have three basic needs in live

Need # 1 – Security (acceptance, love, understanding, appreciation, etc.)

Need # 2 – Significance (purpose, recognition, respect, importance, approval)

Need # 3 Fulfillment and Satisfaction

b. Sin is meeting legitimate needs in an illegitimate way

Meeting the need for Security by manipulation

Meeting the need for Significance by image management

Meeting the need for Fulfillment and Satisfaction by idolatry (person/stuff)

c. If we don’t meet the need the right way – we’ll go on sinning

2.  What happened as a result of my sin?

a. Unconfessed sin leads to more sin. (Remember the Watergate Coverup)

b. Confessed sin leads toward freedom

3.  Takes time – patience – humility = but you see better when the log is removed


E.  A New Sensitivity

1.  Enter the pain of the person you have sinned against

2.  Enter God’s pain over sin

3.  Important: Context of GRACE

a. Feeling remorseful is no guarantee of repentance

b. Feeling remorseful can be very destructive

c. What do we beat ourselves up for?  Where do we let self off the hook?

d. Two kinds of sorrow: Godly and worldly

i. Godly leads to repentance, restitution, reconciliation

ii. Worldly leads toward death (condemnation)


F.  A New Way Of Living

1.  Confession NOT just of sin about also a confession of trust in God’s mercy

2.  Confession not JUST of our sin but it lso a confession of trust in God’s grace

3.  Confession not just of sin – but of our new spiritual identity

4.  This leads to a new way of living (Example: Zacchaeus)


Conclusion:  Confession started under grace.  Confession ENDS under grace.  Not the idea of grace—but the reality of grace.


The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People (Expanded and Adapted for Small Groups)
by: John Ortberg
publisher: Zondervan, published: 2002-10-01
ASIN: 0310246954
EAN: 9780310246954
sales rank: 4003
price: $6.65 (new), $0.01 (used)

You Can Live a Deeper, More Spiritual Life Right Where You Are. An expanded edition with a new chapter on prayer and discussion questions The heart of Christianity is transformation—a relationship with God that impacts not just our ‘spiritual lives,’ but every aspect of living. John Ortberg calls readers back to the dynamic heartbeat of Christianity—God’s power to bring change and growth—and reveals both the how and why of transformation. With a new chapter on prayer and added discussion questions, this expanded edition of The Life You’ve Always Wanted offers modern perspectives on the ancient path of the spiritual disciplines. But this is more than just a book about things to do to be a good Christian. It’s a road map toward true transformation that starts not with the individual but with the object of the journey—Jesus Christ. As with a marathon runner, the secret to winning the race lies not in trying harder, but in training consistently—training with the spiritual disciplines. The disciplines are neither taskmasters nor an end in themselves. Rather they are exercises that build strength and endurance for the road of growth. The fruit of the Spirit—joy, peace, kindness, etc.—are the signposts along the way. Paved with humor and sparkling anecdotes, The Life You’ve Always Wanted is an encouraging and challenging approach to a Christian life that’s worth living—a life on the edge that fills an ordinary world with new meaning, hope, change, and joy.

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