1. Application

Confessing Our Sins to God

Joshua 7:1–26 (ESV)

1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.

Our private sins are not without consequence and they cannot be hidden from God. Let us therefore be honest with God by confessing our sins to him knowing that he has the power to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8–9).

Honesty about our sins does not mean that we air our dirty laundry in public, telling everyone of all the things we’ve done wrong. But it does mean thinking carefully about the patterns in our lives and being willing to ask for help from God and from others in our pursuit of holiness.

Confession also means that we do not try and justify our sins. We are naturally very good at finding lots of different reasons to explain our actions. My husband annoys me. I’m tired after a long day at work. I’m stressed and I need to relax. Those people have enough money they won’t mind if I take this for myself. There might be times where we are more susceptible to sin, but we’re not confessing our sins to God when we try to justify them.

Confession also means we don’t make light of our sins. It was just one drink too many. It was just a bit of fun. Those are just the kind of things you have to do in your student years. We’re not confessing our sins to God if we make light of them.

Confession also means that we don’t simply ignore our sins, thinking that they will go away of their own accord. God wants us to be holy as he is holy and that means we must fight against our sinful desires and put them to death by the power of the Spirit. If we ignore them, our sins will simply increasingly enslave us. That’s what sin always does. Like a fire that never has enough fuel to burn, sin never reaches a stage where it has had enough. As John Owen famously said, Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.