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Sha​dow Of The Cross Ministries

DEDICATION 

It is in loving honor and memory of my great-grandparents (Rev. Edgar Stephen and Ethel Stephen) that I dedicate my first posted message on our site.


My grandmother was the foundation in the development of my faith growing up. Her unwavering  and compassionate faith and commitment to God and her unconditional love for her family, made her home the desired and designated place for everyone to gather together.


I love you grandma!


Gordon

We are told in 1 John 2:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  When confessing our sins, we need to understand the purpose and importance of doing so. To do this we need to go back to the book of Genesis, the creation of man, and the first confession from man God required.


When God created man there was no such thing as sin. It did not exist. Man was created to live forever. The one and only thing God forbid Adam to do was to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  God even warned him that if he ate the fruit from this tree, he would "surely die"  (Genesis 2:17).


It is after giving Adam this warning, that God created all of the creatures of the earth and allowed Adam to name each and every one and to also have dominion over them all.   God then created a mate for Adam so that he would not be alone. God even allowed Adam to name the mate that God had created. "She shall be called woman", Adam says in Genesis 2:23.


God had given everything Adam and Eve would ever need or want to enjoy the paradise that had been created for them. They could have and do whatever they pleased with the one exception; they were forbidden to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge.  Adam and Eve were no different back in their day then than man is today. They were not satisfied with everything God had given to them. 

When the serpent (Satan) tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree which had been forbidden (Genesis 3: 4-5), and she in turn gave the fruit to Adam to eat (Genesis 3:6), their lust and desire for more than God had given them allowed sin to enter the world.


The instant Adam and Eve disobeyed God's instructions and ate the forbidden fruit, it was then they suddenly realized they were naked. They made an apron of fig leaves to cover themselves and hid among the tress in the garden when they heard God approaching because they had knowledge of their nakedness, shame and disobedience.

Starting with Genesis 3:9 we see God establishing and asking for a confession from man for the first time. Verse 9: And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

 

Because He is a perfect and all knowing God, make no mistake, He not only knew that Adam was hiding, but also knew exactly where he was! He wanted Adam to acknowledge and confess where he was and why is was hiding.


Adam answered God in Verse 10: And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.

God then asks Adam in Verse 11: He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" God being all knowing, already knew what had happened, but again, He wanted Adam to personally acknowledge and confess what he had done. Adam confesses to God in Verse 12: ...The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave of the tree and I did eat.


God questioned Eve in Verse 13: "What is this that thou hast done?" Once again, God already knew the answer, but He wanted Eve, like Adam, to acknowledge and confess her sin, which she did admit, as it continues in Verse 13: And the woman said. The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.


Since the very first sin in the Garden of Eden, God has commanded for us to confess our sins and throughout His word we are reminded to do so. Searching the scriptures for all of the passages on this subject would make for a great personal Bible study! (Hint: there are over 26 scriptures in at least 17 different books of the Bible to discover).


One of most quoted scriptures on confessing our sins is the one listed at the beginning of this message (1 John 2:9). This verse is worth repeating..."If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The first five words of this verse are critically important because the promise found in the remaining fifteen words are conditional and based on them. 


Taking The Time To Confess

We already know that God is aware of every sin we commit (we can't hide anything from him), but He wants and commands us to acknowledge and confess them to Him.  There is no sin too small to confess...no sin too big to be forgiven. Once confessed...once forgiven..."It is remembered no more!" (see Hebrews 8:12 and Isaiah 43:25)


Just as God had Adam and Eve verbally confess and explain their sin to Him in the Garden Of Eden, I believe He expects us to be specific when we confess our sins as well. When we are specific in our confession of the sin we know we have committed; we acknowledge, take ownership and full responsibility for it.  We have the opportunity to confess our sins every time we pray.

Although we will examine prayer life in more detail in another message, I do want to discuss the "confessing sin" part of prayer here while we are on the subject.


Confessing Sin And Asking Forgiveness:


God's word instructs us to confess our sins. It is only when we confess sin that we can ask for and receive forgiveness for them. In Numbers 32:23 we are told “Be sure your sin will find you out” (KJV). 

Asking for forgiveness from God was typically something I did toward or at the end of my prayer. I had heard numerous pastors, deacons and individuals pray publicly over the years. Many of them closed their prayers by asking God to "forgive us for our sins", so I adopted this practice as well.


During a period of seclusion (*) quite a few years ago, I was convicted to make a few changes in my prayer life. The "confession of sin" was one of the areas that I was led to change.  I realized that over time, I had developed a practice of taking my sins and grouping them all together in one neat little bundle. During prayer I would ask God to "Please Forgive Me For All My Sins" instead of taking the time to openly acknowledge, admit and confess each one of them I was specifically or individually aware of. 


I have learned that when we don't acknowledge and confess our specific sins, they can become easier to commit, as they can tend to convict us less and less each time.


Another change I was led to make during the seclusion was to make confessing my sins the first priority when praying.  Our God is Holy God. He is unable to look upon sin. As we are all sinners, we need to start our prayer by confessing our sins first and asking for forgiveness of them through the blood and in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.  When we do this we are seen as righteous and sin free in God's eyes and we can boldly approach Him with our prayers knowing they will be heard.


"For His Glory...By His Grace"

 

"Brother G"



(*) seclusion:  a period of time scheduled specifically for personal spiritual reflection, growth and renewal.  A seclusion is typically a 3 - 5 day retreat and is planned, scheduled, organized and hosted for individuals, couples, families or church groups. If you would like us to contact you with more information and/or would like to discuss scheduling a seclusion, please email us at [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page.