" If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
(1 John 1:9, NASB).
Remember the confession sheet that we filled out at the beginning of this series? We want to come back to that now. When we became a Christian, someone should take us through our past and guide us on cleansing our conscience. Many unfortunately haven't experienced this. The good thing is that one can do it by Himself in the presence of God.
So what is the proper way to confess our sins?
We need to be thorough and thankful. By being thorough, we confront our sins in detail along with full apologies and restitution. We deal with it. We let Him deal with us. And then, we can move on. The Lord is not pleased if we only deal with some of our past sins. The list might be 100 to 200 long and contain some of the most gross sins, but when they are openly dealt with, they are forever dealt with. We can enjoy a full and free relationship with God and others. Many Christians have lived in the shadows of their past sins and therefore live in a meager understanding of Christ's powerful grace and love.
Confession leads to thankfulness because of the cleansing and restoration. Many have not grown up in a family who exercises proper restoration. The pains of bitter remarks still sting their souls after many years.
This is not the way it should be or is with our Heavenly Father. When a God's child does wrong, his Heavenly Father is surely corrects him and leads him to the steps to straighten out the problem. We should remember that though there is the God to sinner restoration, there is also the man to man restoration where apology, restoration and possible restitution with the offended persons are made.
Part of our confessional prayer should include what is called 'taking back ground.' This is based on the premise that God wants to completely restore our relationship. As long as we sin, His blessing is held back so that we are not encouraged in evil ways. But when we repent and confess, then we are able to step back in His full joy and blessing. The ground that we have lost during the battle can be taken back by Christ.
Now let's review what was written down before on those sheets. Please take out whatever you have written or e-mailed to yourself before. On the next page, we will find a description of each heading that will be on the form on the following page.