The deep and regular confession of sin is one of the paths we walk to experience close communion with Jesus Christ. Its absence is certain to lead to a weakening faith, and a lack humility, joy, and zeal. Yet I have found some Christians who are uncomfortable with a push toward the ongoing confession of one’s sins as if it’s guilt-driven religion. But, the confession of our sins is not a defeatist, self-centered, form of fruitless navel-gazing. It is not guilt-driven religion, but gospel-driven soul work that connects us to Christ, and it is an essential part of a healthy Christian life. Octavius Winslow has powerful words on confession in his classic, Soul Heights and Soul Depths.
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A fellow sinner may forgive but it takes some working up to do. In some cases, he may even be eager to forgive but this eagerness does not come naturally. In many cases, though, there is not eagerness but dutiful obligation. We bring our sorrow, our repentance, our request for pardon, and we receive questions, probing, testing, measuring. We deserve this, there’s no question about it. And really repentant persons will accept the difficulty of an offended party’s forgiveness as part of that repentance. So we slink, tail between our legs, chastened and stung. It has to be this way because of the nature of human hurt and the antisocial nature of sin.
The internet is a place of merciless permanence, meaning that what goes online stays online, whether you want it to or not.
Things we may say in a moment of weakness can far outlast their initial setting.
- One ill-advised tweet.
- One careless FaceBook rant.
- One stupid YouTube video.
They can all be frozen in time and serve as a perpetual reminder of a past failing.
R.C. Sproul Jr:
The short answer is sin. Though our sins are forgiven, though sin no longer has dominion over us, though sin is daily being mortified in us, it yet remains, and has power. Which leads us to disagreements, to failures to submit to the Word of God in all that it teaches. How does sin lead us to disagree? Here are a few ways.