Must we Confess to be Forgiven? (3 of 3)

Prodigal Son

Prodigal Son

(Continued from yesterday)

Where does it say in the Bible that teachings before the cross no longer apply afterwards? Some may quote Hebrews 8:13 –
When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
However, this passage is contrasting the old and the new covenant, so of course the old is superseded by the new. But it is NOT comparing NT teaching before and after the cross. There is a huge difference. And didn’t the Bible say:
Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
• Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

If even OT truths were written for our instruction, how much more the Lord’s teaching!

I think in their zeal to drive home the point that Christ has done everything for us and that we do not need to strive for our salvation, some preachers have gone overboard and thrown out the baby with the bath water. It is good to present truth in fresh, creative ways for maximum impact, but it is wrong to go beyond what Scripture said. Our salvation is based on Christ plus nothing. We can never merit God’s favor by what we do – never have, never will. But that does not mean we don’t need to do anything in response to the grace and mercy shown to us. Not to earn God’s favor, but in gratitude for giving us what we don’t deserve, and withholding from us the wrath we do deserve.

Prayer is one such thing. Confession and asking God to forgive us our sins is another. Just as God already knows our needs before we ask Him, but tells us to pray anyways, so God already forgave us in Christ before we ask for His forgiveness, but tells us to confess nonetheless. Let me use the parable of the Prodigal Son as an illustration. When the son wasted his life and grieved his father, their fellowship was damaged by his behavior, but the parent-child relationship was not broken because the dad still had compassion for his child (Lk 15:20). He was willing to forgive his son and embraced and kissed him, even before he confessed (Lk 15:21). All that was needed was his genuine repentance (Lk 15:18-19, 21), and fellowship was restored (Lk 15:22). May I suggest to you that this is a truer picture of our relationship with our Heavenly Father than the one that depicts Him as not caring about our conduct because we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6 KJV).

So why confess? Because it shows we are really God’s children and care about grieving our Father. We confess because we admit that we sinned against Him, we want to turn from our wrong path, and we want to walk in His way with His help. We don’t take for granted all that He bestowed on us, and we obey what He commanded because we love Him. Is that living under the Law? Not for one moment. That’s responding to love with love. And that’s not redundant.

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