YET YOU DESIRED FAITHFULNESS EVEN IN THE WOMB; YOU TAUGHT ME WISDOM IN THAT SECRET PLACE.
We can be sorry that we have sinned, but that doesn’t constitute confession. We can ask God or others to forgive us, but our request accomplishes little if we aren’t specific about what we need to be pardoned from. We will not enjoy our relationship with God and others unless we own up to the truth and live accordingly. We will never come to Christ unless we admit that we have sinned and are sinful by nature. Without such an admission, we fail to acknowledge that we need a Savior. Therefore, the first step in establishing a righteous relationship is to embrace the truth.We will not enjoy our relationship with God and others unless we own up to the truth and live accordingly. CLICK TO TWEET
We can learn a lot from King David when it comes to facing our own sinfulness. David had a whole heart for God, but he committed a hideous sin. He lusted after Bathsheba while her husband, Uriah, was away at war. When she became pregnant, David tried to cover his sin by calling Uriah home so he could have relations with his wife, but he refused to have special privileges while the other men were away at war. So David arranged for Uriah to be on the frontline, where he would surely be killed (see 2 Samuel 11). David came under heavy conviction (see Psalm 32), but he still didn’t acknowledge his sin. So God sent Nathan to confront him (see 2 Samuel 12). David finally threw himself on the mercy of God and confessed his sins (see Psalm 51:1-5).
The first step in any recovery program is for the person to stop living in denial and face the truth—to admit he or she has a problem. Many of us are like David. If we think we can get away with it, we will likely try. However, the heavy hand of God will be on His children when they sin, as it was for David (see Psalm 32:3-4).
Some will not acknowledge their sins even under heavy conviction. In such cases, divinely sent human intervention may be necessary, as it was for David. That was the role of a prophet in the Old Testament—to bring sinners to repentance. The purpose of the gift of prophecy in the New Testament is to lay bare the secrets of the heart so the unrepentant turn to God (see 1 Corinthians 14:25). Many recovery ministries practice a process called “intervention” for those who are living in denial of their sinful behavior. A special meeting is arranged at which family and friends speak the truth in love to the one living in denial. The purpose is to get the loved one to acknowledge the truth and offer the person the kind of help that will set him or her free from his or her sinful ways.
Interventions fail if the person will not admit he or she has a problem and needs help. They also fail if the confronted person only gives mental assent to what others are saying and goes along with their suggestions in order to appease them. Intervention by others or by God’s conviction will only be effective if we acknowledge the truth in the inner person (the heart). Troubled individuals have to own the truth as David did and desire the only remedy for their sin: repentance and faith in God (see Psalm 51:7-13).
A FEW QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- Why doesn’t sorrow for sin constitute confession? What is required for us to truly confess our sins to God?
- What is the first step for any person who desires to resolve his or her personal and spiritual conflicts?
- What role did prophets play in the Old Testament? What role does the gift of prophecy play in the New Testament?
- How has God used people in your life to bring about necessary change?
- How is intellectual knowledge of the truth different for you than knowing truth in the inner person?
Neil T. Anderson is the founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries. He began the ministry in 1989 and continues to spread the message of freedom to this day.NEIL T. ANDERSONJULY 31, 2020