The Technique of Confessing Sins, No. 4
Techniques of the Christian Life
Neutralizing a Believer
This is the fourth session on the technique of the confession of sins. Again, I must stress that this is perhaps one of the most
important of all the techniques that we shall study. A great deal hinges on the practice of this technique both now and in eternity.
The reason Satan hits this so hard is because if Satan can divert Christians from this technique, then he has neutralized them in their
combat in the angelic warfare. All day long all of the forces of hell are preoccupied with nothing else, relative to
you as a Christian, than sitting there and analyzing you and trying to determine how to deal with you, as of this point in time, where
you stand, with all that is true of you, in order to divert you from participating in the angelic warfare--to cause you to be a spiritual
casualty so that you cannot deal with your own spiritual life, let alone to execute your ambassadorship for Jesus Christ.
Now that's the
whole name of the game in hell: how to neutralize you as a believer. And one of the best ways is by attacking this technique of
confession of sins. This is because most Christians, sad to say, are ignorant of this technique. If you were to go up to the average
church member and say, "Are you acquainted with the technique of the confession of sin?" they would come up with something maybe that
would be totally irrelevant. Usually they will attach it to something that they think an unbeliever is supposed to do: to go to God and
confess his sins in order to be saved--which he is not. He is only to believe the gospel. But they
would have very little real biblical understanding
of what this is all about. Well if they don't know it then that means that the average Christian
and the average church is not functioning according to this technique.
The baby Christians are
not very much impressed with confession of sins. As a matter of fact part of their problem is
because they are so spiritually immature, they are not even aware how wrong they are doing.
Consequently, they go along in their wrongdoing fairly oblivious to it and they don't take
seriously the technique of the confession of sins. A Christian who is maybe more advanced but
he's on negative volition to the doctrine of the pastor-teacher becomes insensitive and thus
oblivious to the sins in his own life, so he doesn't use the technique of the confession of sins. I think if there
was some way we could make a survey, an analysis of this, we would be shocked by how little the
technique of the confession of sins is used by the average Christian. We have a hard time
getting people to take it seriously. And the reason for that is because Satan is constantly
drumming at you in one way or another that this is not important, he is trying to divert you from
its use, because it's the key to everything.
Consequently, you can spend a whole lifetime out of temporal fellowship while Satan is
rejoicing in all the human good that you're producing, coming from a warm carnal Christian
wanting to be devoted to the Lord, but not knowing that he's been neutralized because of
unconfessed sin. The issue of this technique is the means of victory over the old sin nature
so that you, as a believer, are capable of producing divine good under the Lord's power and
direction. We are to note sins in our lives, we are to be concerned, and we are to be aware when
we have sin. Hebrews 12:15 tells us that. Yet, I remind you that you are not to go around in a
morbid state of concern whether there is some sin that you have failed to confess.
God the Holy Spirit
This is the
work of God the Holy Spirit in fulfilling the responsibility of the Lord Jesus Christ who is not
only the author but is to be the finisher of our faith. It is the Lord's responsibility through
the Spirit of God to bring conviction upon us in the various ways that we mentioned in the last session
in order to make us aware that there is something we need to confess. If you are not aware
of it, and He is not making you aware of it, then there is no need for you to be concerned and to
be all uptight over whether you are missing something. You perhaps may pray the prayer that the
psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23 where he said, "Search me God and know my heart.
Try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."
The Psalmist said, "Lord if there's something I should know, brief me on it." When you pray
that, you may be certain that the Lord will come through for you.
What we have learned thus far is that we are to confess, and go right on, without getting hung up--just moving ahead.
All of this raises an
interesting question. And that's our subject in this session: the incentive to sin. There is an objection
that you can immediately see raised to what we have said thus far about the technique of the
confession of sin. If naming our sins is all that's involved for forgiveness, we are told, then we
can sin all we want and just have a wonderful time. Even before I sin, I know I'm going to
confess this later, so I'm really going to enjoy this. This is like during the Middle Ages and the time
of Martin Luther, when the church was selling indulgences, and an indulgence
was something that you bought in order to have sins forgiven on credit. This was for sins you hadn't committed
yet but you could buy an indulgence and when you did sin, you could slap the
indulgence on it, and the sin was already covered.
There was a fellow named Tetzel who was making a really big business of selling indulgences
left and right. He used to use little jingles like, "When the coin clinks in the box, a soul from
purgatory flops," or something like that. I don't know for sure. It was in German, so I don't know
how to rhyme it better than that. He was really drawing the dough in. One day, he had a very wonderful
day of selling indulgences, and he was riding home on his donkey. All of a sudden,
out stepped a bandit who put a dagger under his nose and robbed him of his box. Tetzel said, "Do you
realize that you are taking the sacred money of Mother Church?" The bandit said, "Father, it is all right.
I bought an indulgence earlier today to cover this sin." Now that's the idea--confession of
sin is an indulgence. I've always got it there to cover. I can assure you that that is human
viewpoint. It's coming from the old sin nature, and it's inspired by Satan in order to divert
you from operating on grace. The reason Satan tells your old sin nature to think this is because
he wants you to get back to saying, "Now let's see. I must do this work. I must do this penance.
I must have this emotion." Then you're right back out of being forgiven and right back into
sinning once you step aside from the grace technique.
A baby Christian and a carnal believer are very prone to this objection because their very
status causes them to favor a merit system. Well the answer to all this is the fact that for
every sin that you and I commit, while we do have this means of forgiveness, we also immediately
upon sinning enter a status of discipline. In one form or another, God immediately begins
to apply discipline to the sinning Christian in the form of divine chastening. This is taught
us extensively in Hebrews 12:3-15. A Christian with unconfessed sin will lose his
peace with God. He loses all divine good production. All the time that he spends out of
the inner circle of temporal fellowship is wasted time in his life. At that point he is not
buying up time that he is using in terms of earning rewards in heaven. The discipline on the
carnal Christian begins as a curse. It's a burden. It mounts in its intensity. But when he
confesses, it then turns into blessing (Hebrews 12:11, Job 5:17-18). What is very painful
at first upon confession later becomes a blessing.
Now when you do commit a sin and then you
do confess, the discipline may immediately be removed. You may not suffer any discipline at all.
Or it may be that if the discipline is in progress, God will stop it just as soon as you
confess. Or if it is not stopped immediately, then it is because the Lord has a purpose in
teaching you something relative to that particular sin.
It may be that you have fallen into that again and again. It may be that you have
entered it with just that kind of a willful spirit of "I can do it and confess it." Therefore
God has forgiven you, but He is now going to discipline you until you learn the lesson
relative to that point--that he does not allow members of his family to have dirty hands.
In the Old Testament, when a priest was introduced into his office of priesthood, he was
given a complete bath all over signifying salvation. Thereafter, every time this
priest was about to officiate at the altar, he had to step by the lever with the water outside,
wash his hands, and wash his feet--every time, because it was symbolically portraying that we as
believers who have been completely cleansed, as John 13 tells us, yet we must constantly be washing off the dirt of sin in time that we pick
up before we can serve.
So our confession is necessary to wash the sins away. In
1 Corinthians 11:31, we have these words, "For if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged."
That means we do our confessing. We escape the discipline. "But when we are judged, we are
chastened to the Lord that we should not be condemned with the world."
The Lord is not going to permit his family to be condemned as the world is in its sin.
Remember in John 13 we had the story of the Lord washing the disciples' feet. When He
came around to Peter, Peter said, "You can't do this to me." He thought it was unfitting
for the Lord to wash his feet. Then the Lord said, "If I don't do this, you'll have no part with me."
Then Peter said, "Well in that case Lord wash me all over because I really want to be
with you." and the Lord says, "You who are clean, every whit, completely do not need a whole
bath," and the Greek uses the word for bath over against "but you need washing," and it's the
word for partial washing which the Lord was demonstrating by washing their feet. This was
again symbolic of this very thing we're talking about. We as Christians walk through the
world. We pick up the contamination of sins. It has to be washed away. If it is not, then
God disciplines. If we are willful, he disciplines on a longer range basis.
Consequently, there are degrees
of chastening depending upon the circumstances of the sin. Hebrews 12:6
tells us about a chastening that's described as being skinned alive by the Lord, and 1
John 5:16 tells about the worst kind of chastening of all where you die. God takes your life physically.
In the Old Testament, you're acquainted with David's sin of adultery which placed him
not only under discipline but of this kind of discipline--the sin unto death. You have this in
2 Samuel 11. You may compare that to Psalm 38. You also have Saul, the first king of
Israel. Because of his negative volition and unconfessed sin, he lost the Holy Spirit. That's
something that can't happen to you in this age, but in the Old Testament they could lose the
Holy Spirit. So he lost the Holy Spirit. He didn't lose his salvation, but because of his sin,
his negative volition, over a period of years and over a number of things, he finally came under
the judgment of this sin unto death. We read in the Scriptures in 2 Samuel 12 that David
confessed. He was spared. Saul did not, and 1 Samuel 28:19 tells us how he died.
God Wipes the Slate Clean
There's something else that is important about David's sin and his confession. After David confessed
this, he had a good 25 years of the greatest period of fellowship and service
that he had ever enjoyed with the Lord. Don't forget that. His sin was a
gross sin, if one sin can be grosser than another. Nevertheless, after David made
his confession he had a good 25 years of the most magnificent service and fellowship
with God that he ever had. This tells you something about the confession of sin.
When God says He wipes the slate clean, He wipes the slate clean.
In 1 Corinthians 5 we have a Christian in the city of Corinth who was delivered because of sexual
immorality to physical death. But in 2 Corinthians 2:6-9, we
discover that this man confessed his sin to the Father, and that he has been spared. Here's the way
that some humans want to reason: If I'm secure I can't be lost, and I can sin all I want because I can confess.
The other side of eternal security is the confession of known sins based on positional truth.
Sins willfully perform come under the discipline of God commensurate with the attitude of the believer
and what he has to learn for his spiritual progress. The whole point of divine discipline is designed
to bring a carnal Christian around to where he confesses his sins. Therefore, discipline is
only for believers. God is not seeking to correct unbelievers. He's seeking to save them.
(Hebrews 12:7- 8). Discipline flows from the love of God for his children (Hebrews 12:6).
Discipline never implies loss of salvation (Galatians 3:26 and Hebrews 12:7). All divine
discipline is confined to time. You will never be disciplined in eternity for anything
(Revelation 21:4)--no more sorrow, no more tears--all of that is gone. Discipline is only on
earth, never beyond this life.
The Christian who fights discipline and refuses to confess
sins builds up spiritual calluses on the soul. The result is that if he continues going
negative toward the discipline, going negative toward confessing sins, something happens to
him spiritually which I describe as being spiritually insane.
There is nothing so frightful like seeing somebody, especially a person you knew, go
insane. I've been in the presence of people who have, under a pressure system, a crisis
situation in life, literally gone insane. Some of you have perhaps been to institutions for
insane people where you've looked at a person and you've said, "I can't believe
that's a human being. He seems like an animal--just an animal, the way they're acting."
It is possible for a Christian to become an animal spiritually. It is possible for a Christian
to go spiritually insane, and that's why this confession of sin is so crucial. Generally
it follows this course: The person rejects the Word of God that has come to him. At some
aspect, he goes negative, and that starts building up the calluses. God disciplines, and he
rejects the discipline, and builds more calluses. Then it becomes easier to become
insensitive farther and farther down the line. Somebody asked a question when I said
that it is God the Holy Spirit's business to alert you to the sin: Can't you become so
hardened that you don't respond to His signal? That's right. You have at that point gone
completely berserk spiritually.
A person who is spiritually insane can be spotted by many things.
Among them will be that he rejects his right church and his right
pastor-teacher, and instead he accepts and gives his loyalty to those who are false
for him. This does mean that they are false pastors or false churches. They are just
false for him. A person who goes spiritually berserk will move away from his right
church and right instructor to the wrong one. This person will be blind to genuine
spiritual opportunities for divine good production and he will confidently support
what is nothing more than human good production.
We can look up at those two new cassette tape rooms. We received a letter today from
an inmate at the Cook County Jail, which to me was very humbling. I realize what's making it all
possible--a congregation that has the vision to put out this kind of investment and outlay.
In the Old Testament, when somebody did something either good or bad, they put up
a monument--a pile of stones, and they would say, "We're going to remember this." We're going
to remember this event. When our children say, 'What's this pile of stones there for?'
we're going to say, 'This is when the Lord God opened the sea and we came through,' or
'This was when the dumbbells wouldn't obey God and go into the Promised Land,' or something
else." When I walked into that tape room and saw the fantastic progress these men had made, I
thought, "This is a monument to the positive volition of a group of people who are
making the Word of God possible to people they will never see this side of heaven." And
it is at the same time a monument to people that have resisted the tape ministry; have
sought to cut it down; and, who have had capacities to perform what needed to be performed,
and have refused to do it.
People who go spiritually insane are not able to see genuine
divine good production, and they drift off to pseudo production of the human good variety.
This is a frightening thing, but it's one of the signs. These people who are spiritually insane
are shot through with human viewpoint values so they are closed to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
They're very materialistic in
their outlook and yet they invest their money in pseudo fat cat short-term industries.
They have no problem pouring their money into something that's already got more money
than it knows what to do with, whose investment is short-term. Do you realize what it is to
be in the privileged position that we are in this church, not because of anybody but
because of the grace of God, that every dollar you put into the offering boxes and the
financing of this tape ministry that you are in something that goes on and on and on
and on in its investment and in its return--that everything that is explained in the
Word of God is like an unending tidal wave that just goes on and on? It goes crashing its way
making its impression in such a way that people will never forget.
I want to remind
you that for every tape that's mailed out of this ministry, as the stockholders you have
a part of the investment. And when God returns the dividends on those tapes, part of it
comes to you. If you don't understand stocks, that's how it works. You own stock in the
company. When they make profit and they give out the rewards dividends, and you have the
stock, then you get the dividends. Every one of you are going to find eternal reward in
heaven because you have had a part in this ministry in this way.
People with a materialistic outlook but who are
spiritually insane will lose rewards. I'm not criticizing materialistic concern or the making of money.
While on the one hand they can be making money when they are spiritually insane, their
money will be invested in false short-term ministries. The soul is so emotionally dominated
in a spiritually insane person that his mind has flipped on that account alone. The
emotions are dominating the mind. Spiritual insanity stems usually from a persistent
unconfessed negative volition to the Lord's teaching, to the Lord's teacher, or to the Lord's
techniques. Yet when you look at a person outwardly who inwardly is spiritually
insane, he will look very respectable. He will look very attractive and dedicated. He will be a
very warm human being. Everything about him on the outside will seem very stable. In fact,
sometime yet it will belie the spiritual derangement and the potential viciousness.
That's the part you may miss--the potential viciousness that lies within the soul of a
Christian who has gone spiritually insane. And it all starts with failure to use the
technique of confession.
I hope I am impressing you with how much you have at stake in
this thing alone. If there's one thing you want to remember about a person who is nuts,
he doesn't know it. That's the worst thing about being insane--you don't know it. As a
matter of fact, one of the things you're pretty sure about is that the rest of them out there are a
little kooky because of the way they're acting. You don't know you're off your rocker.
Your sense of values is deranged. The most idiotic thing becomes a thing of great
possession. You'll fight over a toothpick. You'll claw to keep a little toothpick that you
found. You just have no sense of values. That's exactly what happens to a spiritually deranged
person. He has lost his sense of values. He doesn't see where good spiritual production
lies. He doesn't realize that something terrible has happened to him. He just doesn't
know that he's off his rocker. Yet, Christians who stand on the outside will shake their heads
and say, "I can't believe it. I can't believe it. I can't believe what that person is
doing. How can that person do that? How can that person talk like that? I
can't believe it."
Someplace along the line negative volition got into motion on the
teaching, the teacher, or the technique, and the calluses built up, and pretty soon there was
an internal flip and the person went crazy in his spiritual life.
Then all of the things that are true of mental derangement are also reflected in
It's confession of sin that gives the Christian's life back to
the Holy Spirit and scuttles the old sin nature for the Lord's glory. Confession does not
apply the penalty that has to do with the cross. Penalty for one's sins is not the issue when
you sin. The issue is whether you want fellowship or not. Confession points out our
complete dependence on God because we can't handle the old sin nature any other way.
There is no credit. That's why God says, "I've already covered your sin. My son is acting
as your lawyer. You're not going to lose your salvation. But you will not be in my blessing
until you come to me and tell me the sin." By that very act, you are reminded how helpless
you are in your spiritual life. God says, "If I don't do it for you, you're not going to get
So confession is not given to us to keep us from sinning. That comes from
developing a spiritual maturity structure in the soul and from responding to discipline.
Confession is just the means that God has given us to apply spiritual first aid when
we have sustained a spiritual injury.
Forgiven Sin is Forgotten Sin
Now after you have confessed sins it is very important
how you act toward that sin. And this is what I meant that we are concerned not only on
confessing sin but confessing it biblically. Up to this point you may have been able to go
along and see everything that we've said, and understand what's at stake. But now there is
a vast problem for the Christian after he has confessed sin. Once a sin is confessed, the Word
of God tells us that you must forget it. Paul expressed this spirit in Philippians 3:13-14:
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things
which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
The doctrinal principle
is this: forgiven sin is forgotten sin. Forgiven sin is forgotten sin. It is absolutely
essential that you get and that you remember it because we're going to build quite a bit on it.
Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He that blotted out your transgressions for my own
sake, and will not remember your sins." Isaiah 38:17: "Behold for peace I have great
bitterness, but you have in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption, for
you have cast all my sins behind your back," where they cannot be seen and they cannot be viewed.
Jeremiah 31:34 reads, "And they shall teach no more every
man his neighbor and every man his brother saying, 'Know the Lord.' for they shall all know me, from
the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will
forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more."
Let's look at one more reference on
God's attitude toward sins that have been forgiven: Psalm 103:12 says, "As far as the East is
from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Now what I'm saying on
the basis of these Scriptures is that God does not keep a record of your sins. What is
forgiven is forgotten. He does not keep a record of your sins up to the time of your
salvation. And, now that you are a Christian, when you sin and you confess, it is forgiven.
If it is forgiven, the Bible says, it must be forgotten. Forgiven sin is forgotten sin.
Human viewpoint doesn't go along with this. Human viewpoint says, "I forgive you, but I
won't forget it. I'll forgive you but I will always remember it." That is human viewpoint.
That's exactly the way we act. But God says that if I forgive, I have to forget.
Just think of what that means. If you fail to forget your confessed sins, what
it amounts to is that you have entered a new stage of sinning. If you confess a
sin, and then do not promptly proceed to forget about it and move on, you have again
been guilty of sin, and you're back out of fellowship. For example, you're brooding over
sins you've confessed because you consider that the sin that you were guilty of was so gross,
so you have a guilt complex over it--such a terrible thing. You've confessed it, yet you
brood over it. Well, guilt complex is a sin. Therefore you're out of fellowship. The
reason a guilt complex is a sin is because it suggests that there was some sin that
Jesus Christ could not cover in His death on the cross. And this is plain human
arrogance. It's an insult to God's solution for the sin problem. A guilt complex
mentality is also open to physical and mental illnesses. So it's a sin on that
account because you are threatening your physical well-being. This is perhaps the
major means of getting incapacitated in the angelic warfare, to feel guilty over
Discipline for Current Sins Only
Another problem is if you go remembering your confessed sins, something will
happen to you later in a way of suffering, and you will fall into the trap of
attributing what is happening to you now in the way of suffering to something
that you did before. Then you say, "Oh, God is punishing me for the time I
did that back there." In other words, God says, "If you confess sin, I
forgive it, and if I ever forgive a sin, I forget it." And, what are you saying?
You're saying that God is remembering this sin, and that's why he's punishing you.
It is evident that the only discipline we ever suffer is for current sins only.
God does not discipline you for sins out of the past, whether they are confessed,
unconfessed, or forgotten sins, God does not punish you for sins out of the past.
There's one exception, and we find that in 1 John 5:16, which is the sin unto death.
It works something like this. Here are two lines: One is in the sunshine of
God's fellowship, and the other one is under the cloud of discipline. Here
you are, going along in your Christian life, and you're moving along here, and
suddenly, you're guilty of a sin. You're guilty of the sin of lying, the sin of
cheating, and the sin of adultery. And at that point, you come down here to the
line of discipline. Now you are under the discipline of God. You're under his
shadow of gloom. Then you confess the sin about the time you lied, and you confess
about that cheating--that stealing. But, you don't say anything about the immorality.
God forgives you for the lying and the cheating, but you're still under his cloud
of discipline because you have not confessed the sexual immorality. You go
along, and later you perform another sin, and you recognize that it is sin,
and you confess that.
In the meantime, you have forgotten about the previous
sin of immorality. Now, God lays that one on your confession of the latest sin,
and you come up to the point of fellowship again. The unconfessed sin was forgotten
because so much time went by, but it was covered subsequently by a known confessed sin.
Therefore, the record in the past is clean, and there was nothing back there for which
God could be punishing you. That's why we say that what is in the distant past, God
is not punishing you for. If you think you're under discipline, it is because of something
right here (in the recent past) that you need to deal with. It is not something in
the distant past. It's right there in the immediate present.
Sins with Long-Range Results
There are some sins that have long-range results. Here is a couple of people who are not
married. They engage in physical relations, and a child is born. Now you can't do much
about that. You can confess the sin, and it's forgiven, but there are long-range continuing
results out of that, and they have to be handled in a variety of ways. For a Christian, there
is the grace of God that has many ways that restore completely, as with David. That's what I'm
stressing. There are many kinds of sins that have long-range results, but that is not discipline.
That is simply the consequences of that particular kind of sin.
You decide that you would like to
fly an airplane. So you take a lesson, and you need about eight hours to solo. You get
four hours where you've been able to fly with the instructor, and you know what to do.
So, you say, "Man, this is a breeze," and you take up your little plane by yourself. You don't have
a license, you're not cleared by your instructor, and it's not legal, but you know how to take off--you've
done that with him. You know how to climb out. You know how to go up to your 400 feet. You level off.
You make your left turn. You know how to keep climbing. You make your forty-five, and you're out
of the pattern. You get up to about 1,500 feet, and you're really flying around, and you try those
steep little stalls that you were doing with the instructor. And you go up and down, and all of a
sudden, you really get carried away with yourself, and you hit a stall, and the old plane begins falling
on one wing. And, because you're used to correcting the wing with the ailerons, you want to move your
stick over. So, the left wing has fallen over, so you slap the stick right, but you're in a different
attitude, and now that right aileron throws you into a tailspin. You should have
corrected it with your rudder, and kept your hand off the stick--kept it neutral. But you didn't know
that, because the instructor hadn't taught you that yet.
Now, you are a rock, and the earth is spinning
up to you, and it's getting closer. And, I mean, it spins. And you're saying, "Lord, I want to confess
to you right now, I should not have gone in this plane; I am illegal; I have broken the FAA regulations;
and, I confess this sin. And the Lord says, "YOU'RE FORGIVEN." And you keep going right down, and
pretty soon you corkscrew right into the earth, and you walk in (to Heaven), and the Lord says, "You
really are forgiven."
There are some sins that have long-range results. You were forgiven when you confessed it. And, God
was not disciplining you when you crashed. That was a long-range result because you didn't know how to
So, what you do with your sin is the issue. The confessing is the issue. For you to remember it, and
say, "God is punishing me for something in the past," is not true. You may be suffering some consequences
of a sin, but not as punishment, just because, in the nature of that sin, those results are there.
A sin may be of a mental nature. This kind of sin of attributing something in the past will get you
mentally, and you won't be able to enjoy life because you're going to sit around waiting for the next thing
to hit you--constantly waiting for the next blow to strike you. That, in itself, is a sin, because you lack
a faith rest attitude.
You may recall discipline that you have suffered sometime in the past for a sin, and the result is that you have
now become bitter about that. You think about that discipline. You think about that sin that you have experienced.
You think about that person that you think caused you to fall into that sin. And, a spirit of bitterness
arises, often because you want to blame somebody else. Your relaxed mental attitude is destroyed, and you're
out of fellowship. You've lit up a new sin from an old one. This kind of bitterness usually leads to other
mental sins: vindictiveness, revenge, and an unforgiving spirit. So, this is another thing about recalling
sins. It can lead to a sense of bitterness.
Don't Share Your Sins with Others
Or, you remember your confessed sins, and you are tempted to discuss them with people. This is a terrible
thing to do. People will come and discuss their sins with you because they're looking for sympathy. Sometimes,
they will talk about sins because they will want to have justification from you that it wasn't too bad that you
did that--that it was understandable that you should have been guilty of that. Negative volition toward
confession of sin and toward the pressures that God puts on us causes us to seek a certain psychological release.
Sometimes, this takes the form of public confession, where a person wants to get up and tell the group what he
did. This is called group therapy. That group therapy rot is pretty popular these days, but it will not give
you the results you're looking for. No one but God can forgive, and when you tell other people about your sins,
publicly or privately, you are violating your privacy, and that, in itself, is a sin. Also, when you discuss your
sins publicly, you're gossiping about yourself, and the result is that you're causing others to sin with the
information you give them.
There's one other very grievous problem relative to not forgetting sins, and we're going to get into this one next time.
This has to do with the matter of bringing up the sins of other Christians. Whether another Christian is guilty
or not guilty of a sin, whether he has confessed that sin or not, if you bring up that Christian's sin, you set in
motion some very fantastic destructive forces on yourself. Within a family circle, this is a very tempting to do--for
husbands and wives to be throwing up to each other their failures and shortcomings. It is an easy thing for a
wife who is indignant at her husband. He says something to her, and she says, "Ah, drop dead." And he looks at her and says,
"What, and look like you?" And she says, "Like the time you were all boozed up under the table." And, she's throwing up a sin
to him. Now, whether he has confessed that sin or not, the fact that she has mentioned it has set in motion destructive
forces on herself. If he has confessed that sin, it's even worse--the very fact that she has mentioned it. Don't miss
next week, same time, same station. Will she escape? Will she be sustained? What will happen to Pauline? Come
and listen to the rest of this peril next time.
Dr. John E. Danish, 1973
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