Posted by: brittany marie | December 20, 2007

Confession Followed

So, I became interested in confession after my last post and decided to pursue it further.

It’s written that you should “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).” And “When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned” (Leviticus 5:5).

Confession is a major step toward healing and forgiveness. It is the admitted wrong, the accepted fault. It is the acknowledgement of imperfection and the realization of the need for salvation. It reminds us that we are human.

And we know that it is necessary, for many a saint in as followed this example. “When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds” (Acts 19:17-18). But we can be encouraged for “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The passage that really struck my heart though was from the man after God’s own heart. He says, “For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin” (Psalm 38:17-18).

But I kept going and this is where my true nerdiness is revealed. Recently I purchased an exhaustive concordance of the Bible. I normally use Blueletterbible.org (great site) but I can’t always be chained to a computer. So, now I’m chained to a very thick and heavy book.

Anyhow, I was pretending to be scholarly and noticed something. The Hebrew word for confession that is primarily used in the Old Testament is “yadah.” Apparently, this word means to throw, shoot, cast. However, the New Testament Greek word is “homologeō” which in turn means to agree with, to concede, to confess, declare, to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of, to profess, to praise, celebrate. I also found that “homologeō” comes from two other Greek words: “homou” and ‘logos.” The first means together, of persons assembled together, while the second is more about speech, like a word, discourse, or even something more mental, like reasoning.

I thought it was interesting how the idea of confession changes. Before the coming of Christ, confession seemed to be something down in fear with distance as a barrier. Whether it was removing your sins far away from yourself or praising a removed God, “yadah” implied some sort of space. Which makes sense. In the OT world the priests came between the people and God as holy intercessors. And even look at the way people confessed sins through sacrifice and how that sacrifice was treated. (See Leviticus 6: 8-13) It eventually had to be removed to a place outside the camp. There had to be distance.

There was distance.

But after Christ, things change. No longer are the priests needed. (See Hebrews 7 and 8 ) Now, confession doesn’t require distance. In fact, it would seem from “homologeō” that confession takes place primarily in groups. That would imply closeness, an accepted forgoing of personal space. And no longer is there the idea of a separation between man and God. There is no “yadah,” no having to throw ones praises. Now, God is here.

Christ is here.

He has established a new covenant.

“Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary…when Christ came as high priest…he did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood…how much more, then, will the blood of Christ…cleanse our consciences from acts the lead to death, so that we may serve the living God” (Hebrews 9).

Note the “we.” Not priests, but us. And it’s plural.

That’s really encouraging, especially when you are easily susceptible to loneliness, like me. The knowledge that confession, a keystone of the faith, has community with believers and the Living God at its very heart is really uplifting.

“We” can know the living God.

That’s sweet.

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