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Confess My Faults To Who?
February 23, 2019

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much


James 5:16 (KJV)


When our church first started attending the men’s retreat, after the end of the last evening service a “testimony service” would be held.  This was a time in which men would stand up, and not only praise God for blessings, but also confess some of their deepest, darkest secrets that they had supposedly already asked God to forgive them of.  Not only did I personally feel that it was a time that sapped the very positive “let’s move forward” attitude of the retreat, but it also left me with a very bad taste in my mouth as I would inevitably learn things about people that I never really wanted to know.  I believe that when we confess our sins to God, those sins are not only forgiven, they are altogether gone.  Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Micah 7:19 says, “and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”  Finally, Jeremiah 31:34 tells us, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  If our sins are forgiven and gone, why continue to bring them up and confess them to other people?


Many misapply James 5:16 and believe that it is teaching us that we must confess our sins to each other if we want to truly be forgiven as we pray for one another.  The truth of the New Testament however not only implies, but is also adamant that the only person we need confess to for forgiveness of sins is Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).  The book of Hebrews even deals with the fact that Jesus the high priest and we are all part of the priesthood. We no longer need a human priest as a go between, for we can now go directly to the throne of God through Jesus Christ, and obtain grace any and every time we need it.  “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Sod of God, hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:14-15).  As you can see, this is much more consistent with the teaching of the rest of the Bible.


We need to remember that one of the reasons James has written this letter is because of the mistreatment he has seen of Christians by other Christians.  He has addressed the sad fact that Christians show preferential treatment (James 2:1), talk nice to one another while talking bad about one another (James 3:10), and how they can downright mistreat one another (James 4:1).  To keep James 5:16 in the context of the letter, and in agreement with the rest of the New Testament, the only faults we are to confess to one another are the ones we commit against one another (Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 18:25).


In the end, we are to forgive one another and pray for one another rather than gossip about one another and seek revenge on one another.



Parting thought:

Unity in a church begins with individuals being able to admit they are wrong to those they have offended. Those who are offended in turn need to be able to forgive and move on.  Let us spend all our time praying for one another while we spend no time talking bad about one another. 

Nothing can touch the Word of God. Not all the powers of earth and hell, men and devils combined, can ever move the Word of God. There it stands, in its own moral glory, in spite of all the assaults of the enemy, from age to age. 'For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.'“ ~C.H. Mackintosh