Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my
transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in
the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with
shouts of deliverance. Selah
This is a powerful passage that speaks about the cleansing power of confession to God. David writes
in the Psalms that when he kept silence his bones grew old, but when he confessed his sins the Lord
forgave his iniquity. David then calls the Lord his hiding place. This is the truth we often find in
our confession. When we try to hide our addictive behaviors then it happens so often that our sins
become known to others and we find shame and disgrace. But when we confess our sins to God, then in
His grace we find a place of hiding, a place of safety from our shame and guilt. We can begin to
sing songs of deliverance.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
A very simple and straightforward proverb that shows the value of bringing our sins out into the
open. It is through confession and forsaking our sins that we find mercy and grace in the eyes of
God and other men and women. To continue covering them only creates deceit in our souls and in our
relationship with others, including God.
Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,
and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Here we see the response to the preaching of John the Baptist and his calls for repentance. This was
before Jesus had been introduced as the Messiah, the Chosen One. Nevertheless, we still find that
people instinctively confessed their sins as they went through the process of baptism, repentance
and cleansing. The truth circulated in 12 step circles that "we are as sick as our secrets" must
have been written on the human heart for a long, long time. For here, approximately 2000 years ago,
when people sought wholeness and healing, then confession was a part of that process.
Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in
the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of
So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
This passage comes from the time when the apostle Paul was in Ephesus. After many demonstartions of
the power of the Gospel, many began to believe in the Lord and confessed their deeds. Confession again seems
to be part of the act of true repentance. Reflective of that time and place, there was also apparently quite
a bit of magic being practiced, which often goes along with idolatry. Part of their repentance in this case
was to burn the books that they had used for magic. In a parallel for our lives, we need to get rid of our
sources of temptation as far as is possible (given the constraints of our living a godly life) so that they
will no longer be a source of idolatry for us. In this way, the word of God can also prevail in our lives
and give us the true freedom that is found in Christ.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The
prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James tells us that we should confess our faults to each other, and in so doing we may find healing.
This is a powerful means that God has given us to find healing through an honest, trusting
fellowship with each other, and finding healing through confession.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
Here we have the principle of confession put in a very clear and straightforward way. We are to
confess our sins, and God will be faithful to forgive our sins. To whom do we confess our sins? This
verse does not say explicitly, but we can surmise that it is at least to the Lord, since He is the
one doing the cleansing because of this. This does not preclude confession to others, either. As we
see from the passage in James
5:16, confession is also pleasing when we confess to one another.