CALL TO OBEDIENCE #274
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"Confess Your Faults"
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another,
that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer
James 5:16 Amplified
Confession is good for the soul. It is good for building deep friendships and strengthening marriages. It is essential in helping us to come to that oneness which will usher in the power of God for lasting revival. But it does take a tremendous amount of discipline to confess. Yes, you hear that word discipline again. We know that this is a popular word when it comes to sports, to scholarship, and to the pursuit of higher places in leadershipbut for various reasons, we refuse to adopt this word, discipline, into our religious vocabulary. By refusing to do so, by neglecting to get its powerful principles into our hearts, we fail to succeed in victorious Christian living.
Jesus was a very disciplined man. You don’t rise up early in the morning to pray after a previous day of hard work unless you are disciplined. Jesus fasted forty days and nights. You don’t keep that long of a fast unless you are disciplined. Jesus never looked at a woman to lust after her. You can’t live that way unless you are highly disciplined. Shall I continue, or are you convinced that Christians must not only adopt discipline but place it into the inner recesses of their wills? Did not Jesus say, “...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12)? The Amplified Bible tells us on this passage that “...a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion.” Jesus demonstrated this disciplined zeal.
Christianity is not for the lazy who want Jesus to do everything for them. Christianity is not a welfare religion: a religion of continual handouts. Christianity is a religion that requires effort: God and man both working together. It is a religion for those who know Jesus is worth pressing after with all their might. Christianity is a religion, a life, for those who know Jesus to be so precious, so lovely and honorable, so worthy that it is worth forsaking all to gain him, to join him, to triumph with him, and to reign with him forever.
Yes, “Confess your faults one to another.” It is good for the soul.
Now, confessing our faults to God is generally not that hard. After all, he already knows about our weakness. Our biggest problem is confessing to one another, because, when we confess a sin or a failure to a friend, we are frequently telling that friend something he did not know about us before. We are telling him something that we have been hiding from him for a little while or for many years, and that makes it hard. And the reason why we often have kept our faults from our friend is because we felt that if we would ever tell him or her, our friendship would be over, our reputation would be lost, and that the credibility we have so carefully, so manipulatively built up over the years would be destroyed. Possibly, confessing our faults to a friend could have far-reaching repercussions if our friend tells his friend and that friend tells another friend and on and on ad infinitum. Ah, how much easier it is to confess our faults to God, who already knows all about them and who will not gossip about them to anyone. Yes, God is the only one we are sure of who will keep secretsand, of course, the godly do, too, provided they don’t backslide. But if they do, watch out for serious trouble.
“Confess your faults one to another.” Oh, what may it cost us? There is no way of telling. So then, since it is such a risky business and so hard to do, is it really necessary? Is confessing our faults one to another perhaps only a request or a suggestion, or is it a command?
If we could only convince ourselves that it is only a request, and that if we don’t honor it, we still can live peaceably on earth and joyfully in heaven thereafter. How we wish that we could see confession to God as necessary and confession to man as optional. But the plain facts of Scripture and of life, at its best, tell us that a right and open relationship with man is just as important as a right and honest relationship with God. We have to confess to both God and man, or we never will find our way out of the pigpen of distorted, dishonest, and superficial relationships.
“Confess your faults one to another.” Do we really need to do it? The story of the prodigal son tells us that, yes, we need to do it. When the prodigal came to his great turning point, did he say only, “I have sinned against heaven,” which means God? Or did he also say that he had sinned against his father? What exactly were the words that put him into the Bible for the whole world to read? “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee” (Luke 15:18).
Of course, this is a parable. But that makes it even more serious, especially since this is a parable that Jesus made up himself or received directly from his Father. The young prodigal would never have received an embrace from God or man; he never would have received the best robe, a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet had he not also confessed to man. In this case, it was his earthly father. Confession to God only is just not good enough. It does not clean up the basement.
Confessing our faults is hard, but the blessings received are immeasurable and eternal. We have to do it. We have to pull off the mask if we want to be free. We have to be real, become real, if we want real forgiveness, real cleansing, real restoration, and real empowerment for new life. If we want to have real friendships, we need to open up.
Confession is hard because it may, and often does, make us look bad to man. We have worked so hard to get up on our little pedestal, admired and respected by all men. And, if we have not put ourselves up to such breath-taking, dazzling heights, perhaps our friends have done so on our behalf. Without our being aware of it, the humility that we once had when we began our journey with Jesus has gradually turned into rock-hard pride. Oh, what a fall could occur once we confess. How happy that will make our enemies, who finally can say, “Look at him. We said all along that he is not really what he appears to be.” Yet, how happy will it make our Lord if we do it.
“Confess your faults one to another.” It means to be honest, open, sincere, and real.
Qualifications for Confession.
For us to confess, we first of all need to be determined. We must set our will to it as Jesus set his will like a flint as he went up to Jerusalem. We, too, must go to
Secondly, to confess our faults one to another, we must come to a total disregard of what others think about us. We must be like the musician who does not care what the audience thinks about him, but who only looks for the favorable nod from the conductor. As long as we are men-pleasers, as long as we seek the favor of man, we will opt out in our walk with God. This is especially a difficult problem for teen-agers. But the teen, as well as all of us, must come early in life to the stark realization that we either live to please men or to please God, and that he who thinks he can do both is cheating both man and God. No men-pleaser in divine history has ever been a friend of God. Confession may cost us our credibility on earth, but praise God, it raises our credibility in heaven! Is it any wonder that there is great joy in heaven when one sinner repents?
To Whom and What Do We Confess?
When James said to confess one to another, he meant that the saints are to confess to the saints. And what do the saints confess one to another but that which needs to be prayed overnot gossiped overbut prayed over.
We confess the things that we have trouble overcoming. We ask a saint or several saints to pray with us over these matters to get to victory. We confess our pride, our selfishness, our ungodly loves that hinder our relationships towards others. We confess our negative attitudes toward other saints and ask for forgiveness and prayer. We confess our difficulties in having times of regular prayer, being faithful in witnessing, or in forgiving others who have hurt us. We ask our brothers and sisters to pray with us to get help in these areas. We confess anything that hinders the free flow of perfect love from our hearts to the hearts of our brothers and sisters.
Do we confess everything? No, we do not. We confess everything to God, but we must exercise discretion concerning what we confess and what we confess to whom. For example, a young man should not confess to a young lady that he has had lustful thoughts toward her. He must confess this to God, and he may confess a general spirit of lust to a brother in Christ who can pray with him and hold him accountable in this matter. It is wise that we check with our pastor before we make a confession to the church, unless it is just in a general area of disobedience. We need the Holy Spirit to help us to know what to confess and to whom to confess, but we must confess our faults one to another that we “may be healed.”
The Blessing of Confession.
The blessing of confession is healing: spiritual healing, emotional healing, and physical healing. As long as we Christians are not honest one toward another, we are pretenders and hypocrites, and the Holy Spirit cannot bring us into oneness. As long as we wear a mask, we are just clowning around with our Christianity. But, if we confess our faults, our offenses, our slips, and our sins one to another, and pray about them, we shall experience healing. And healing leads to wholeness, and wholeness leads to power. God does not want anything between any two of his children. If there is anything between us, we need to get together and pray until that hindrance is removed.
Because many relationships between church people consist of some dishonesty, pretension, and cover-up, the church remains in the hospital, unhealed, unhelped, unanointed, and unblessed. Oh, but once confession is made, superficial relationships will become deep friendships in the Holy Spirit that will lead to prayer power unknown of and unthought of before, for the next phrase of the sixth verse is, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
How much electrical power can flow between two wires which, although are twisted together, are covered with insulation? But how much power can flow through such wires once the insulation has been removed? It can run a big motor, light a whole house, or cook a meal.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” because such a man is all clear with God and with his fellow saints. Such a man is a man without pretension, artificiality, dishonesty, cover-ups of faults, sins, and weakness in his relationships with God and man.