We meandered in discussion last night at Bible Study – what to do with the summer while our leader is at camp for a month and two weeks, almost starting in on the creation/science debate and the infalliability of scripture, and I brought up my concerns about the 5 Steps of Confession that we’ve been discussing and their Biblical basis. To me, they’ve seemed somewhat “pop psychology” and less Biblical that I would like. I also kind of feel like they break out things and order things strangely.
Sooo….. Drumroll, please! I’m unveiling my 3 Steps of Confession:
1. Acknowledge our sin before self, God, and others.
– this acknowledgement encompasses the concepts of seeing how our sin has hurt/affected others and feeling their pain. I think we can’t really acknowledge it without an awareness of the injured party and how they see and how they feel about our actions.
2. Accept grace.
– God says that if we confess, He will forgive. His forgiveness is what allows us to step forward, and by accepting grace we do so.
3. Make reparations or restitution.
– Our acceptance of God’s grace leads us to give to others. It isn’t required, it isn’t necessary, it is simply that when “our cup overfloweth” others benefit – we can’t help but want to share and show others the love that we’ve received and repair the relationships we’ve damaged.
The study guide uses the story of Zaccheus to show that we make reparations prior to grace. Jesus says he’s going to Zaccheus’ home for dinner, Zaccheus repents and says he will make fourfold ammends to those he’s cheated, and Jesus explains that truly Zaccheus is forgiven. My contention is that Zaccheus understands his forgiveness when Jesus volunteers to eat with him, and Jesus’ explanation is not necessarily an explanation to Zaccheus, but to the crowd of the transaction that is already taken place.
There, some of my random thoughts about confession and the study of it that we just wrapped up before moving forth in I John.