“Confession is an act of faith with three parts: an announcement of what we believe to be true and good; an acknowledgement of where we have fallen short; and an alignment to which we are committing ourselves. Confession therefore provides the midcourse correction that realigns us with truth as many times as we need to be.”
— Os Guinness, Time for Truth
We may often talk in terms of repentance, but repentance has neither substance nor direction when it runs without confession; the courage to turn to the truth even when that means turning against ourselves. Yet if we have committed ourselves to Christ, we have committed ourselves without reservation to the truth. This is at times a tough road, because we live to a higher standard; the truth turns most times against ego. So if we are committed to the truth, we have signed a contract to smash the ego again and again, beating it into submission such that humility would be our final repose.
True confession is the last outpost, the final frontier, in actually abiding to the truth.
True confession is the difference between the mature Christian and the immature one.
True confession may, indeed, be ever rarer in this fuzzy postmodern age, where our culture allows, indeed provides for, the blurring of moral lines. We get away with more. We are less responsible, generally. We have the excuse these days to run from the truth all the more.
But this is not to be the lot of the Christian.
Christians will abide to the truth, because they have been freed—saved no less—and living truthfully is their ticket to peace; for righteousness and peace are often seen linked in the Word of God (see, for instance, Isaiah 32:17).
The Power in Guinness’ Three Components of Confession
Confession may be a rough ‘n’ ready enacted gap analysis where we consider God’s ideal, how we have fallen short, and what we need to do to get there. Confession’s beauty is that it’s a “midcourse correction”; a redirection from untruth to truth.
All we have needed in the course of our confessions is the courage to stare truth. When we stare truth, dealing with our temporary humiliation to have fallen short, God blesses us with an immediate spiritual ascendancy—the power behind repentance.
When we go to God in integrity, being as honest as we can, we literally have a split-second moment where we face the consequences of falling short. Then, immediately, power is given to us to rise. This is the operant power of being Christian. This power is unlike any other power known on earth. There is nothing more powerful we could experience than being honest in confession before God and realising spiritual release.
Realising Paradoxical Spiritual Freedom – In Christ
When we give ourselves over to God in confession we have not surrendered our dignity; indeed, we have reclaimed our dignity.
This is a vast and paradoxical spiritual freedom. What appears to be a trap—the vulnerability of confession—is, in fact, the greatest freedom known to humankind. No one can free us like God can free us.
Let us not be afraid to confess, because in our confession is our release; in our confession is our peace.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.