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The Life in Confession

Lent invites you to take a longer look at Jesus on the Cross.

This season, we invite you take time to consider Confession as a way to fully understand the choices you are making.

Naming and owning your sin is uncomfortable (and that’s putting it lightly). But as you’ll hear, confessing sin plays a vital role to your relationship with God. 

Before we get started, let’s pray: “Lord, I confess I can’t fully see the death and destruction that come from my sin. Many times, I don’t want to see it. Have mercy on my body and on my impulses. Change me through the resurrection of Jesus. Make me a new creation.”

Let’s begin.

Highlights:

Sin is a violation of who we are and who we are in relationship with God.

By avoiding our sin, we have forgotten the reality of what sin does to us, how quickly it moves into us and through us.

“Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.” -James 4:4

Act of Contrition (Inspired by the Gospels, from the Vatican)

Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: “I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your child.”

Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant thief to whom you promised Paradise: “Lord, remember me in your kingdom.”

Holy Spirit, fountain of love, I call on you with trust: “Purify my heart, and help me to walk as a child of light.”


If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest writing on this topic at, If You Don’t Need Mercy

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

What is the last time that you confessed your sin? was last time you named your sin and brought it before the Lord and other people. Just set it plain. No excuses, no justifications, no explanation, you just named your sin. One of the things that astounds me in my own life, and I’ve actually just been thinking about this this past weekend is how reluctant I typically am. to name my sin to just own it, own it. And just to say what it is. You know, at Regeneration, we spend a lot of time helping people get underneath kind of their motivations and understand what their real needs are, how they’re taking illegit I mean, legitimate needs to illegitimate sources. And we frame up a lot of our discussions with people around their pursuit of unwanted sexual behavior in that way. Hey, what you really need underneath that is good, but where you’re seeking to, to meet that need is not so good. In the wall, that’s a helpful construct for people. And if that’s new to you, please reach out to us we’d love to walk with you in that regard. But one of the mistakes we can make it our own journeys, as we understand some of our you know, that our legitimate needs underneath are illegitimate attempts to get those needs met, is the reality that doing so is sin. It is a violation of who we are, and who we are in relationship to God. It is a violation of who we are, and who we are in relationship with God. And I don’t know about you, but in my experience, there are so many churches, so many Christian groups right now, that are really turning down the volume on sin. Sin is not a popular word. Even on this podcast, you’ve probably heard us and in our literature, we are increasingly using the phrase unwanted sexual behavior, to talk about why people come to us they’re wrestling with unwanted sexual behaviors. The reason for that is it’s it’s kind of it’s the common vernacular, it’s growing in understanding, it’s acknowledging just a wide spectrum of issues that people might be dealing with, etc, etc. But we’ve steered away from talking about sexual sin, unwanted sexual behavior, suggest it’s unwanted by who it’s unwanted by you. But sin automatically brings into the equation automatically brings into the conversation that we are not just talking about something that is about you. We are your you alone, we are talking about you in relationship to another you specifically in relationship to God. And if we lose that part of the conversation, we are losing something immensely important, vitally important, and I use that word on purpose vital, meaning, we need it. Without it, we have no vitality. Something that is vital. Is is a source of life. If you remove something that’s vital from your life, then you lose your life. We have to be talking about sin. So wherever you are in your own journey, your own journey towards relational health, sexual health and wholeness, marital recovery, ceasing from unwanted sexual behaviors, dealing with unwanted and unasked for romantic and sexual attractions that lead you astray, etc, etc, wherever you are on the journey. Do not please I beg you do not, do not do not forget about the reality of sin. Do not leave that part of the conversation aside, it must be it must be a regular part of what we are talking about and what we are facing in our own lives. It is a trustworthy, saying Paul says that Jesus Christ came into the world to save people from their sins. What are we talking about here? I think part of our conversation is gotten off track. Because we have forgotten the reality of what sin has done to us. We forget the reality of how vast sin moves into us and through us both on an individual level and a collective level, a corporate level, the level of humanity. We’ve even forgotten the level to which sin has impacted creation outside of human beings. Reading through scripture, you recognize that sin actually impacted the natural world it has impacted animals and trees and the topography of the earth and in what way I don’t entirely know. But we know that death did not exist in God’s creation until after Adam and Eve sinned, and all of these things die and sin when entered the world, brought death with it. And so it Adam and Eve and this is what Paul writes to us in Romans When when Adam and Eve sinned, when they violated God’s command, they ushered in, they opened the door for death to come in. And death has reigned from Adam, the first Adam until the last Adam, Jesus, death has come in and radically changed the landscape for us. And I think even of a conversation I had not too long ago with a friend who was kind of wrestling with asking the question like, why are certain things sin? And as we kind of unpacked it, one of the things that he mentioned was that what if one of the ways he he recognizes sin in his life and other people’s lives? Sin? Is that something that does damage to ourselves or to others? And I asked him, I said, Where did you get that metric? Where did you get that kind of barometer for understanding that something is sin or not? And is that actually biblical? Is that actually in accordance with with Christian teaching? And he thought, rimoni said, I don’t know where I got that. No, because we know and Paul says this, too, that that the wages of sin is death, it kind of makes sense, then that it would follow that you know, things that are sinful are things that are destructive, they bring death. But I think one of the one of the results of the fall, one of the results of sin in the world and death in the world is that we can’t actually see how things bring about death, we can actually see the damage that our sin causes. And so sometimes, some things that God says our sin seems arbitrary to us. Why is that sin? That’s not hurting anybody? I think the truth is, whenever we get into that territory, we have to acknowledge how do I know it’s not hurting anybody? How do I know it’s not hurting me or other people? Who made me the, the, the one who can see clearly. And to this point, back to Genesis three, Genesis two, God forbade Adam, from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which in the midst of the garden, and his his warning was the day you eat of it, you will die, the day you eat of it, you will die. And we get into Genesis three, Adam and Eve, eat of that tree. And from all that we can see they don’t die. And I’ve you know, I think a lot of us like to skip over that. But, you know, from, from their perspective, it might have seen that the enemy on some level was correct. I think we’re supposed to read that and go, I made me don’t understand what what died, then I maybe don’t understand what it was like for them before. They maybe I can’t fully see the death that comes in when I send the destruction, the damage that comes in, when I sin. And so in so many ways today, when we engage in sin, or we come up with into the realm of temptation, and we go out, it’s not really going to hurt anybody is it? I think we do well to to humble ourselves and say, I don’t know, I don’t know what kind of damage this is doing. And certainly this applies in the area of sex and sexuality certainly supplies an area of gender ideology. Certainly, this applies in, in the things that we have compassion on, and we ought to have compassion on. But we cannot in our compassion, we cannot enter mercy. Forget that sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death. And we don’t do ourselves any favor when we give ourselves a quote unquote, pass because it, quote unquote, didn’t hurt anybody. We don’t give others. We don’t do any anybody else any favors. When we give each other a pass for the sins that we’re engaging in, by saying, Well, you know, it’s such a hard situation, you know, what was you feel bad for you sorry. I mean, we can have compassion we can recognize it’s hard for people I it’s been so good in my life, when people when I’ve done when I’ve engaged in sending people to compassionate means that boy, it was hard, wasn’t it? Yes, was hard. And it’s kind of amazing that God cares for us in that way. And we can look through the Gospels to see the many ways that Jesus had compassion on sinners. But if we, in our compassion, if we forget sin, if we paint over sin and try to make it a non category, we actually do harm. Because sin destroys sin, results in death. And in Scripture, again, is clear that, that it’s because of these things, the wrath of God will come now because God is getting angrier and angrier and angrier, but because God is going to set things right, and in all the ways that we’ve aligned ourselves with sin, we are setting ourselves at odds with God. James says that friendship with the world is to make yourself an enemy to God. I think that’s just another way of saying what I’m trying to say here that when we align ourselves with sin and say, well, it’s not hurting anybody or it just seems natural to me. We are setting ourselves at odds with God. And is it any wonder then, looking back at what Jesus says at the end of time, that he’ll come to some of us who will say I never knew you, I don’t know who you are. We do not want to be those who try to whitewash and cover up the reality of sin in our world and Christians we cannot, even in our desire to be, quote unquote relevant or to speak the language of the culture, we cannot lay sin aside, we must acknowledge and hold to the reality that we are not just in relationship with ourselves. We are not just in relationship with this present age, we are in relationship with an eternal God, who has said that there are things that are right. And there are things that are wrong, their sin, that is, there’s there’s truth that is good. And there’s falsehood that is, in fact, sinful, a violation against ourselves as God’s created and against him as our Creator. Now, what do we do with this then on our own personal journeys away from our sexual sin away from our other sins? Well, it’s Lent. And this is a great time of year to remind ourselves and remind one another, that we we have sin, and we are to confess it, we are to acknowledge it. We are to beat our breasts and mourn, Lord, have mercy on us, I have sinned in what I’ve done. I’ve seen what I’ve left undone. But friends, we are not to despair. I think despair, if we despair in our sin, increases the temptation then to wash it, to wash it over to try to stop talking about it. No, we are not to despair, Christ Jesus came in the flesh, to eradicate sin, to do away with it were in the flesh in he originally didn’t his flesh, and now he’s doing it in our flesh. So where does your flesh still want to sin? Where does your flesh still move towards sin, either sin of comission things that you do or sins of omission things that you neglect to do? Right in those places, acknowledged, Lord, I confess, I did this, or I failed to do this and it is sin, have mercy on my body have mercy on the impulses that I experienced in my flesh. And Lord, changed me through the resurrection of Jesus and your present Holy Spirit in me, change me. This is part of what it means to become a new creature. So we acknowledge our sin, but we do not despair in it. Instead, we confess it readily to God and to others. And we beseech the God have mercy. To have mercy on us into changes from the inside out. Lord, thank you, that the Last Supper you broke bread and said, This is my body, given for you. Take, eat, we ingest it into our bodies, Lord, we take your body and ingest it into our bodies, that our bodies might have, according to John six, eternal life, the source of eternal life inside of us united with us, that we might become new and always able to say yes to you and noticing, oh, Lord, make it so in my life and make it so in the lives of the men and women listening. Were prayed for our good and for the good of the whole world. Lord have mercy. Amen.

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