Confession and Repentance

Today’s reading is Luke 13.

How would you rank yourself on your spiritual discipline of confession? I think both individuals and churches often may be extreme in one way or another around the focus of confession and the fact we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Often times we can have lots of confession and focus on all our wrong doings and forget that because of the cleansing blood of Christ we are no longer in darkness and can live life forgiven with peace and joy (1 John 1:7). I’ve said this before in prior posts, but Jesus was not just nailed to the cross just to forgive our sins..the story doesn’t end there. He was resurrected on Easter so that we might live life to the fullest knowing that we are no longer dead to our sin. Jesus says Himself in John 10:10 that He came to give us life! He’s not still nailed on the cross so let’s not live like it. However, just confessing our sins regularly and knowing we are forgiven does not give us permission to keep on sinning over and over either..more to come on this. Lastly, in my humble opinion, many individuals and churches talk about of the saving grace of Jesus, but have lost emphasis on the spiritual discipline of confession where we specifically name our known sins and ask for forgiveness of sins both known and unknown.

It is crazy how God works because this topic is something that has been on my mind for the past few months and wouldn’t you know it….my assigned verses and this week’s sermon in church were on this very topic. In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus emphasizes the importance of repentance because without it we will all die and are going to the same place because we are ALL sinners (Romans 6:23). He also makes it clear that when bad things happen to us, God does not make it happen as a punishment for our sins. This is another topic in and of itself..see John 9:2-3 and Romans 8:1. But back to repentance which is from the Greek word matonia. It doesn’t just mean confession. It means a change in one’s life…to go in the other opposite direction of sin and go towards God. Jesus is telling us it is not ok for us to just go on living life in a sinful way because we know we are forgiven. Changing how we live is critical part of being a Christ follower. 1 John 1:6 says that if have fellowship with Him while still walking in the darkness we are lying and don’t practice the truth. Does that mean we will not sin when we are a Christ-follower? No..we are human and will mess up again, but we should be able to proclaim that we are working on it. 1 John 3:6 tells us that no one who abides in Him keeps on sinning because they know they will be forgiven anyway.

So, can we call ourselves a Christ follower without the spiritual habit or discipline of confession? Can we go to Heaven without confessing our sins? 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Again in 1 John 1:10, “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” In between these verses, John talks about the importance of confession for forgiveness in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I raise the prior questions not to get into a debate, but rather to emphasize that I believe God calls us in his Word to confess our sins. If we do not, we are likely being untruthful with ourselves about our sin problem and need for Jesus’ saving grace on the cross. It doesn’t seem to me that one can call himself or herself a Christ follower without confessing that one is a sinner themselves and the need for Him as their savior. My understanding of the Gospel is that coming to this realization, asking for forgiveness for all sins (even once), and believing in Him is the ticket to Heaven. At the same time, I believe the spiritual habit of confessing our sins and naming those we are aware of individually through calling them out in prayer is what will truly help us change the way we live and the direction of our lives as Jesus speaks of through the Greek word matonia. This is tough at times, but we know that God knows anyway, and I believe our sins continue to erode us and bother us when we don’t  name them. Naming our sins in prayer to Him will bring them to light, make us feel better, and also increase the likelihood of changing the way we live in the way He calls us.

Lastly, what about those who are not a Christ follower yet and have not prayed to Jesus asking for forgiveness and His grace? Well, it is interesting that immediately after Luke 13:1-5 where Jesus speaks on the importance of repentance, He then tells a parable in Luke 13:6-9 about a fig tree not yielding fruit. However, the vine dresser gave it multiple years and chances to yield fruit before finally cutting it down.  We all will eventually perish as Jesus speaks of in Luke 13:1-5, and He we won’t have forever, but He gives us time to turn to Him and His open loving and forgiving arms.

Let each us reflect on where we are on our walk with Him and whether confession, repentance, or both is something we need to work on. Let us know we are all a work in progress as we try to grow closer to Him. But above all, let us go with peace and joy today knowing that God did not send his One and Only Son to condemn the world, but so that the world may be saved through Him (John 3:17).


Today, we are examining God as our comforter.  This post was originally written in 2017 by Michael Summers.

Paul’s letters to the Corinthians are painful to read.  Yesterday David asked if any of us had ever experienced having a person we were trying to help question our motives and speak negatively about us to others.  I sadly answered yes in my heart as I read David’s prompting.

That experience was difficult for me.  Today’s reading challenged me to grow. Especially verses 3-7.

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

God is our comforter.  Παράκλησις, translated as comfort here, could also be translated ‘encourage’.  It holds in it the element of acceptance, council, and courage.  As if to say God is the one who finds our sorrow acceptable (or not) and strengthens us to continue on (if it is acceptable, more on this latter).

Παρακαλέω, translated as comfort three times in verse 4, could also be translated as urge, implore or exhort.  This helped me understand the activating (or reactivating) nature of this word as if strengthening one to get back in the fight.  God provides us the strength to continue Glorifying Him.

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

‘That we’ is a purpose clause.  God strengthens us so that we may be strengthened and encourage others.  Citing God’s character as the Comforter; the source of strength gives God glory.

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

This was the most challenging part for me.  The comfort supplied has no limits, so long as our sufferings are in Christ.  Put another way, God supplies us with all the comfort we need for righteous suffering.

The question then became, what if the suffering was not righteous?  That is, what if the suffering was actually a result of my selfish ambition, seeking my own glory and not God’s?  This was my wake up call.

If I did not receive strength and comfort for the sorrow I felt, does it then mean that it was chastening rather than suffering for Christ?  I am inclined to consider this deeply.  Afterall, are we to believe that all suffering is because we are seeking Christ glory perfectly?  If not, as I reflect on a past wound that lingered too long, that sapped my strength when I know it shouldn’t have, I am inclined to think it was due to my sin and pride.

Ouch and amen! God is the righteous One who judges.  I am the sinner who is judged.  God is the Merciful One who gives grace.  I am the one in desperate need of His mercy and grace.   Admitting this depravity is the first step to receiving that which I need from God.  Confessing our Sin is our humble gate that protects God’s glorious reputation. (see extra credit below)

6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

We are to thank God for the righteous suffering.  We will know it by the degree to which we are supernaturally strengthened.  This is to be shared with and passed on to those who suffer.  All the time giving glory to God as the Strengthener.

7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.


Extra Credit: God’s Glory and Confession of Sin

All things were created for God’s glory. (Revelation 4:11, Isaiah 43:7)  The proud are too busy seeking their own glory to give God His glory.  Confessing our sin proclaims God’s character as holy and His Law as right. (Luke 23:41)  Not confessing our sin is a way of blaming God for sin.  Notice the first sin and how Adam blames God. (Genesis 3:12)  Confessing our sin humbles us and gives God glory. (Joshua 7:19) In summary, when we do not confess our sin it is disagreeing with God, a form of attack on His reputation.  When we say, “God I deserve this” it agrees with God and brings Him glory.  We were designed to bring God glory.  This is one way we can do it.  Confessing our sin.  

The world says, ‘find your strengths and play them up.” the Word says “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2Corinthians 12:10)


At first, when I saw I would be writing about David I had to laugh. What were the chances? God always has ways to make you laugh and to draw you closer to Him. It also could have been planned out by BJ as he set our readings up? Either way, I get to share the story of David.  Now before I looked at the readings for today I figured it was going to consist of some OT that looked at his courage as a young man or king. There was also the chance we looked back at the time where David was involved in some terrible sins. When my eyes read across the page revealed the readings for today are Psalms 3-8, Psalms 32, and Romans 4:6-8.  Did you know that out of the 150 Psalms seventy-three psalms are associated with David?  In Hebrew, the Book of Psalms is tehillim which means “praises”. The Book of Psalms can also be seen as a hymnbook. 

So what hymns or praises would David be singing about? Let me start by going to part of the Romans verses that were the bookend for today’s readings.  

Romans 4:6-8 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them”.

David had felt tremendous guilt for some of the terrible sins he had committed.  And yet he had experienced amazing joy in the forgiveness. We all have sinned. I truly feel like I grew up making many wrong decisions that selfishly were based on my own desires. Even today these desires to do it my way or by my terms can cause this pain. David reminds us all that you don’t need to hold on to this guilt. That when we quit denying our guilt and recognize our sin, admit to it and ask God for forgiveness, we can let go and trust that God that He will and has covered our sins.  I know, easier said than done. Maybe you contemplate the severity of the sin or who it may have involved. Just remember God sent his son for us, even when we were sinners. Jesus already paid the price. We just have to take them all to Him and trust.

1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse us. 

This statement is a reason to sings songs of praise. Now goa head and read through Psalms 3-8, and 32.  In these Psalms, you will be reminded of how we need to trust in God for protection and peace. That when we have this confidence we can call on Him anytime and he will listen and provide the comfort we need.  God will defend you, He will deliver you in times of trouble and rescue you when you need it. I David, just like David, need rescue. Forgiveness brings true joy. Walk away from the pain of guilt into the arms of our Father who provides comfort and relief from the mistakes of our past.  


Psalm 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Psalm 32:10 Many are the woes of the wicked,  but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!


Have a blessed day Biblejournal family. 




Joshua 10; Psalms 142–143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

Several years ago I had the life-changing honor and privilege to participate in a study called Discipleship Essentials, written by Greg Ogden. One of the many takeaways from that study was on a model for prayer (keyword “model”, not a “mandate” as there are many ways to pray) using what is referred to as an acrostic to help teach us to pray. The model is ACTS; Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. ACTS invigorated my prayer life over the years and has served as a reminder to make confession a regular part of prayer as it is often very tempting to skip right to the “bless me” or “save me” part.

The ACTS pattern popped out at me today through Psalm 143. Here’s how I saw it and a good example for our own prayer lives.

Adoration: In verse one, David opens up by addressing God as Lord; his ruler, humbling himself before him and asking him to listen. I read this as “You are God and I am not”; it sets the record straight. David specifically expresses adoration through referencing God as faithful and righteous.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my pleas for mercy!
    In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! (Psalm 143:1)

Confession: David is acknowledging that he is a sinner. We all are. No one living is righteous before him. It is very tempting to skip over this part of prayer because we all have sins and it hurts to confess, however God already knows our sins. Confession is telling God what he already knows. When I get to the confession part and nothing is immediately there to confess, I ask God to reveal my sins that I’ve forgotten or suppressed… and the floodgates open… talk about an answer to prayer…

Enter not into judgment with your servant,
   for no one living is righteous before you. (Psalm 143:2)

Thanksgiving: Reflecting on what God has done and expressing gratitude.

I remember the days of old;
  I meditate on all that you have done;
  I ponder the work of your hands. (Psalm 143:5)

Supplication: Asking God to meet your needs and the needs of others. In Psalm 143:7-12, David asks:

  1. For the Lord to answer him quickly.
  2. For God to not hide his face from him (or for God to be near and present).
  3. To hear of God’s steadfast love.
  4. For direction; the way he should go.
  5. For deliverance from his enemies; to be within God’s refuge.
  6. To be taught to do God’s will.
  7. To be led by the Spirit.
  8. For his life to be preserved for God’s glory.
  9. For his soul to be brought out of trouble (again, deliverance).

And finally David has faith that God will answer his prayer; that in His love he will cut off his enemies and destroy the adversaries of his soul. As we worship our God through prayer, we can trust he will take over; we should be faithful because he is faithful.