Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Foyer: Place of Confession

As we tour our way through the Mansion of Prayer, we are first introduced to the foyer. What is the purpose of the foyer? In our earthly homes today, the foyer is the place where the welcome mat lies. This is where we wipe our feet so as to not drag mud and dirt across our host’s carpet. The same is true in the Mansion of Prayer. The foyer is where we wipe our spiritual feet. It is the place of confession.

Why is this room needed? The answer is quite simple. Because unconfessed sin in our lives hinders our prayers. David wrote in Psalm 66:18 the principle that God doesn’t even hear our prayers if we are knowingly allowing unconfessed sin to remain in our lives. Some say that this means that God hears our prayers but chooses not to answer us. However, the word in this verse means that He literally does not hear. If we willingly let sin remain in our lives without dealing with it, then our prayers may bounce off the ceiling, or maybe even the planets, but they never make it to the ears of the Father.

So what does it mean to confess our sin? Does this mean that we simply say some magical words, “God, I ____________ (fill in the blank)! Please forgive me.” No. Confession is more than the recitation of a few choice words. It first involves acknowledging our sin. The Old Testament word for confession is a word that literally means “to point out with the hand extended” (Psalm 32:5). In the New Testament, the word is a Greek compound word where we get our two English words “to say” and “the same.” Thus, confession is to say the same thing about the action as God does. In other words, we acknowledge that it is sin and that it is an offense against a holy God. Like God, we hate it and desire it to be out of our lives.

It also involves an attitude of godly sorrow. In the Bible, there are many examples of those who had remorse but they were not truly sorry (Pharaoh, Balaam, Achan, and Judas are just a few). Godly sorrow is always evident with true confession (Matthew 5:4; Second Corinthians 7:10-11; James 4:8-10; Romans 7:15; and Psalm 38:4).

In the example of confession in Second Samuel 7:2-3, we also see that this act involves both aspiration and action. Aspiration is an inward turning. This deals with our will. We make the internal decision to turn from that sinful activity. Action is an outward turning. This deals with our walk. We separate ourselves from the sinful practice in our lives.

So what is the key that opens up this room and by opening it, ultimately gains us access into all the other rooms in the prayer mansion? The key to the foyer is this…be honest! Be honest about your sin. Quit rationalizing away your sinful activities. Quit justifying your disobedient practices. Call it what it really is…an offense against a holy God. Hate it. Make the decision to turn from it. Separate yourself as far as you can from it. First John 1:9 is written to Christians. It is a beautiful verse. According to it, if we truly confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. “Just” means He will forgive every sin. “Faithful” means that he will forgive us every time!

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