Slideshow image

Abide 12 – Repent & Confess  

Day 1 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Introduction The idea of repentance was first mentioned when SMORP was introduced.  

Scripture – Refers to reading and memorizing the Bible

Message – Refers to anything the Lord may be saying to you

Obedience – Refers to obeying what God instructs you to do Repentance – Refers to sin the Holy Spirit requires you to confess and repent of

Prayer – Refers to your prayers to God   Unfortunately, some believe and teach that once a person becomes a follower of Jesus, they no longer need to practice confession or repentance. While those who communicate this may have good motives, in Abide 12, you’ll learn about the continuing need for what some have called, “the holy habit of repentance.”  

Saints Still Need to Repent and Confess Their Sins After Salvation  

First: believers still sin after salvation   When you became a follower of the Way, one of the names you’re given is, “saint.” While many churches no longer use this name to refer to each other, it does point to your value before God. However, while valuable, saints still sin!  

For example, in Ephesians 4, Paul provides a list of sins that the saints are to stay away from, stating, Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.   Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul actually rebuked believers for sinful actions while they met, 1 Corinthians 11:17 (NIV) In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good … In his second letter to this same church, Paul is clear that they aren’t yet perfect in their behaviour, 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.   John echoed what Paul said, 1 John 1:8 (NIV) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. John is saying that if you claim that you have no sin, the denial itself is sinful. Sadly, many followers of the Way shrink back from this truth!  

Of course, Jesus himself taught that his children still sin. For example, in his seven letters to the churches (Revelation 1-3), Jesus rebuked five out of the seven because he was displeased with them. To the church at Sardis, he warned, Revelation 3:2 (NIV) Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  

Second: believers still need to confess and repent of these ongoing sins   Take a look at what John says in 1 John, 1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. It mentions confession, and it’s important to know that the verb, “confess,” is in the present tense. This means that you’re to REGULARLY confess your sins.  

Further, James included the confession of sins in the middle of his instructions concerning healing prayer, James 5:16 (NIV) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  

Finally, Jesus plainly told the churches of Revelation what to do with their sins. For example, he commanded the church at Ephesus to repent, saying, Revelation 2:5 (NIV) Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. This is a part of what Jesus is doing today! He encourages, BUT he also calls his children to confess and repent.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. Why do you need to continue to confess and repent? What are some verses or passages that support this?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time in your life when you confessed or acknowledged a sin or failure? Did you experience a, “weight lifted off of your shoulders?” Write down an example or two.

2. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22, Psalm 1, Colossians 3:2, Psalm 39:4.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 23:1-22.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 2 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

The Difference Between Judicial and Relational Forgiveness The forgiveness that you’ll STILL need is not the forgiveness that you receive when you first become a follower of the Way. When you receive salvation from Jesus, you’re forgiven in a judicial sense. It’s as if you had never sinned! The judge, God, has declared you innocent. Praise God! Instead, the forgiveness that you still can experience is relational. A great way to understand this is through marriage.  

Suppose a husband ignores his wife and takes her for granted; perhaps he even says some unkind things to her. It gets, to use an old expression, “chilly in the room!” Now she might no longer respond to him and though they are living under the same roof, there’s little or no communication. Are they still legally married? Yes. Are they still in love? No. Are they communicating? No. Do they have a great relationship? No. They are relationally distant.  

It’s similar in your relationship with God. When you sin, are you still his legally adopted child? Yes. But when you sin, there’s an issue to resolve, a disruption in the relationship. Jesus made this perfectly clear when he washed his disciples’ feet (John 13). In a culture where people walked long distances on dusty roads in sandals, it was normal for the host to arrange for water, to wash the guests’ feet.  

When Peter objected to what Jesus was doing – washing his feet - Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (verse 8). To this Peter responded, “Then wash me all over” (verse 9), to which Jesus answered, John 13:10 (NIV) A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you (referring to Judas – verse 11).  

What was Jesus getting at? Washing is elsewhere used to symbolize the cleansing from sin (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5). Notice Jesus says that the one who has bathed doesn’t need to be washed all over, as Peter had suggested – they just need their feet washed. All his disciples, except Judas, were in good standing with him. Jesus had received them as his own, forgiving their sins, and in his words, they were clean all over.  

What Jesus is teaching is that when you are forgiven of your sins you get bathed from head to toe – he washes you white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)! You’re clean all over! But as the washing of feet demonstrates, you’ll still need regular cleansing/forgiveness from the sin that piles up from living in this broken world!  

Paul taught the same. On the one hand he told the church at Corinth, 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Yet in the same letter Paul challenged them to examine themselves for sin before taking the Lord’s Supper (communion).  

Other verses in the Bible that instruct believers to examine their lives include: Psalm 119:59-60; Lamentations 3:40; Matthew 7:3-5; 2 Corinthians 13:5. Therefore, when the Spirit reminds you of a sin, you need to ask for forgiveness and deal with it in a way that he asks.  

Put another way, when you are conscious of doing wrong or when you realize that your actions or attitudes or words grieved God, as his beloved child, confess your sin and ask him to cleanse you, without for a second thinking, “I hope I’m still saved!”  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What’s the difference between judicial and relational forgiveness? How did Jesus illustrate it? Explain these as best as you can.  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Since confession is discussed today, it’s a good time to practice! And it’s REALLY useful to do this with someone else (this is usually easier than a person might fear), but it can be adapted to do it alone.

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sins that you need to confess. Then go through Question 3.

3. Use the Peer-to-Peer Prayer Ministry Guide below to confess your sins  

Terminology: a. Person: refers to the person receiving ministry

b. Minister: refers to the person giving or guiding the time c. If you use the tool alone, then you are both the Person and the Minister  

Steps: a. Person confesses their sin: “Heavenly Father, I confess name of sin as my sin. I repent of it and ask you to forgive me”

b. Minister assures them of forgiveness: “Name of person, God’s Word promises that when you confess your sin, he is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. So, in Jesus’ name I declare that you are forgiven”

c. Minister breaks all bondages to that sin: “In Jesus’ name I break all bondages to name of sin in name of person and cleanse them with the blood of Jesus”  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 23:23-39.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 3 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

What Repentance Includes  

First: repentance includes the mind   Repentance begins with agreeing in your mind – “what I did is wrong!” There is no place for denial in the journey that you walk with Jesus.  

This need for agreement can be seen in the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15:17-19 (NIV) When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'  

Second: repentance includes the heart or emotions   If you take your sin seriously, it will produce a godly sorrow or grief. Here is what Paul says in response to the right kind of attitude about sin, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NIV) … for you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  

You observe in this passage that emotions can produce either a godly or worldly kind of sorrow. The worldly sorrow ends up in pain and death because it only grieves over the consequences of the sin, and because it’s self-centered. Godly sorrow, on the other hand, grieves over the cause of those results – your own choices.  

Third: repentance includes the will   Repentance is a choice, an act of the will to change direction and behavior. Feeling bad, but continuing to repeat the behaviour is not repentance. As John the Baptist said, Luke 3:8 (NIV) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Fruit is the result; the different actions.  

Another verse that links repentance and action includes some encouragement from Paul, Acts 26:20 (NIV) … I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.  

We Are to Examine Yourself Before the Lord  

Jesus calls all followers of the Way to regularly examine themselves, so that by his Spirit he can point out sin. Just as people are advised to receive regular medical checkups, the Bible wisely encourages you to do spiritual checkups as well.  

In discussing communion, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, 31 (NIV) Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup …31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. What does it mean to judge yourself? It means to judge or deal with your sins!  

In another passage, Paul even urged the believers at Corinth to test themselves to ensure that they were still in the faith! 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?   If you need help on knowing how to do this, sincerely and with an open heart, imitate the prayer of David. He prayed, Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  

This is so important for followers of the Way. And as you confess and repent, you’ll experience two amazing benefits: relational forgiveness AND less discipline from God (which 1 Corinthians 11 also talks about in verse 30).  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What are the 3 things that repentance includes?

3. What are 2 benefits of first examining yourself for any sin?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time in your life when you had worldly sorrow (sorry only for yourself, sorry that you had consequences), rather than godly sorrow? Write this down.

2. Can you think of a time in your life when you had godly sorrow (you were disappointed that you sinned against your Father and against others), rather than worldly sorrow?  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 24:1-22.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 4 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Confessing to One Another  

There’s something deeply significant about learning to confess to others, and receive their confessions. Some churches believe that this should only take place with a pastor or priest, or between God and the individual, but the Bible is clear that this for the entire family of God.  

For example, if a brother/sister offends another, the hurt brother/sister is to confront the offender, and the offender is then to confess and repent. The hurt brother/sister is then commanded to forgive, Luke 17:3 (NIV) So watch yourselves. "If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them.” How powerful this is when it is practiced!  

The writer of Hebrews also instructs believers to warn one another, as a protection, Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  

Paul said something similar, Galatians 6:1 (NIV) Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently … You may not find such a task enjoyable – whether you’re the one who has sinned or the one confronting. However, it’s a vital part of being a follower of the Way.  

James has something further to think about, reminding the church, James 5:19-20 (NIV) My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. Wow!  

Now it would really stretch things if you were instructed to confront someone about their sin, without expecting a response (confession and repentance) in return! Which is why James says matter-of-factly, James 5:16 (NIV) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Mutual confession should happen!   From Acts, here is another example of public confession and repentance, Acts 19:18 (NIV) Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.  

Of course, the Bible does not require that you confess to others every single sin you confess to God. In fact, at times it would be quite inappropriate. For example, you wouldn’t confess certain sins to your child. However, for good reasons, God does at times require it.

Some of the benefits are:  

• it can release healing (inner & outer) and set you free

• it can break pride – which is at the root of all sin!

• it encourages others to confess

• it can lead to mutual accountability

• it can encourage prayer support

• it seals the decision to deal with the sin  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. Does the Bible teach that some of your sins should be confessed to others and vice versa? Explain.

3. What are some benefits of confessing to one another?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Spend some time in prayer and ask – “God, is there anything that I need to confess to another person?” Many are pleasantly surprised by the kind of breakthroughs which can happen when they confess to others!

2. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22, Psalm 1, Colossians 3:2, Psalm 39:4.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 24:23-35.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 5 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Jesus Judges Believers Who Do Not Confess and Repent  

First: Jesus will judge believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ   Paul teaches in the book of Romans that believers will still be judged after they die, Romans 14:10 (NIV) You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. He’s saying – don’t judge your fellow brother or sister! Jesus will deal with it.   In a letter to the Church at Corinth he says something similar, 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Now that’s clear!  

Second: Jesus is judging believers in the present   Your faith is so important to God that he sometimes disciplines his children when they stumble along in an area. For example, consider the matter of believing or trusting God in Zacharias’ life (Zacharias was told that he and his wife would have a child). He simply asked the angel, Luke 1:18 (NIV) How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years. And for daring to question the greatness of God’s power, he immediately could not speak until Elizabeth gave birth to their son John! Without God’s discipline, it’s easy to forget that Jesus is also to be Lord of everything in your life.  

Sometimes God’s discipline even ended up in ultimate judgment. In the sobering story of Ananias and Sapphira, Luke gives a real-life example of this (Acts 5:1-11). This couple told the apostles that they had given all of the proceeds from the sale of their land; but they hadn’t. What was the consequence for their lying? God struck them dead!  

Paul also emphasizes another possible result of God’s discipline for sin, 1 Corinthians 11:30 (NIV) That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. According to this verse, God’s discipline includes, “weakness,” “sickness,” and “falling asleep” (premature death!).  

There’s also the story of Jesus healing a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, at the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus sent him on his way with these words, John 5:14 (NIV) "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." Wow!   Clarification: Jesus was equally clear that not ALL sickness was directly connected to a person’s sin (see John 9:1-3).  

Finally, if churches don’t repent, Jesus judges and disciplines them – even now! To the church at Pergamum he said, Revelation 2:16 (NIV) Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  

Some might view this as harsh, but there are three amazing reasons why God disciplines his children now:

• it results in holiness for you, and it’s for your good! Hebrews 12:10 (NIV) Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness

• you won’t have to be judged with the world later on. 1 Corinthians 11:32 (NIV) When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world

• discipline will warn others, bringing about a healthy fear of the Lord and respect for his commands. Again, this is for everyone’s good (e.g. the rule – “don’t touch a hot stove” and the healthy awe of its heat)  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What are 2 ways/times that Jesus judges sin? Write this down with an explanation, as finding the right words can help you explain this to others as well.

3. What are 3 reasons for Jesus disciplining his children in the present?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Spend some time in prayer. Ask God – “have I experienced anything in the past or am I experiencing anything presently, due to sins I was or am not repenting of?”

2. In response to your answer in Question 1, thank him for loving you enough to discipline you now.

3. Also, in response to your answer in Question 1, ask God if there are any corrective steps that you need to currently take.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 24:36-51.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 6 Final Steps 1. This lesson, Abide 12, had some pretty intense stuff! Take some time to re-read the verses included during Days 1-5, while asking the Holy Spirit to gently teach you and encourage you.  


Leave a comment

We reserve the right to remove any comments deemed inappropriate.