When the Jews returned to Jerusalem from captivity, they set out to rebuild the temple but quickly abandoned the effort. They instead rebuilt their own homes and lived in comfort saying that the time had not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house. The prophet Haggai rebuked them for their misplaced priorities and shamed them for living in their paneled houses while the Lord’s house lie in ruins. In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak we ask the question of the modern church: are we guilty of the same thing?
Archives for March 2022
I have several friends who like to swap and trade things. It seems they’re always buying something with the intention of turning around and selling it. So, of course, they’re careful not to pay too much for whatever it is, because they want to be able to flip it, to make a profit of some kind. There are others who buy something, and they pay a very high price for it, maybe thinking they’ll keep it, but they don’t keep it for very long because they don’t like it like they thought they would, or they just don’t use it that much. So, it ends up in a rummage sale or being taken to Goodwill. And then, there are things which are incredibly valuable. So much so, that the average person may never be able to make the investment to buy them. And when those things are bought, the owner wouldn’t even consider parting with it. It becomes a very precious thing to them. There are some things on the earth today that are so valuable, their worth is almost unimaginable. It is difficult to put a price tag on them. That, of course, is true of some of the intangible things in life. In fact, nowhere is that truer than when it comes to things eternal and unseen. Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also, wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Solomon is telling us that the truth is a precious commodity that carries a very high price tag. And once we have it, if we truly realize its worth to us, there is no amount of money that would persuade us to part with it. That is the subject of our study today: THE TREAURE OF TRUTH, after a song from the congregation.
We’re living in an age of a constant flow of information. In fact, we have faster and greater access to knowledge and facts than ever before in the history of the world. Ironically though, we’re facing a famine of truth. Not much value is placed upon truth today. The past century or more can be described as the postmodern era: the age where people tell us there really is no such thing as truth, or at best, truth is relative to the person who believes it. In other words, what is true for you is true for you, and what’s true for me is what’s true for me, and there is no such thing as a universally accepted and absolute standard of truth. The result is few people are really concerned about truth and that’s just as true in religion as it is the secular world. How many people today set out to find the Lord’s church for example, with their single focus being on finding the truth? They want to find a church with this or that. A church with a youth program or a church with exciting music or a church with a trendy preacher or a church with a popular social network. But very few set out to weed through the sea of confusion we have in modern Christianity in search of truth. Instead, we shrug, and say, it doesn’t really matter… However, Solomon in his proverb affirms that truth is attainable, it is desirable, and it is valuable. He says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not…”
Jesus spoke of the truth as it pertained to the kingdom of heaven in that way. Matthew 13:44-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Both brief parables culminate in the same overall truth. The first refers to a man who finds a treasure. He finds a treasure when he is confronted with the kingdom of Christ, and he immediately esteems it as a valuable thing, and he invests in it. In fact, he invests everything that he has to safeguard it and keep it in his possession. Now, the merchant who purchased the costly pearl had set out on a mission to find pearls, and he found one that was more valuable than all the others, and he bought it at the expense of everything he possessed. Both parables tell us several things about the truth of Christ’s kingdom. First, they tell us that a person needs to have some appreciation for its value, or else he’ll casually pass it by. Both men immediately recognized what they found, and they set out to buy it for their own. Another thing the parables teach us is that the truth doesn’t come cheap. It comes at great cost. These men had to spend everything they had, and that merely represents the fact that true service to God comes only at great sacrifice on our part.
The rich young ruler was told by Jesus that keeping the Ten Commandments wasn’t enough. He had to relinquish his hold on all the riches that he loved so much in order to be saved (Mark 10:17-22). The Bible emphasizes the fact that the truth costs us something. And a religion that doesn’t require anything isn’t worth anything. Solomon implied in our text that the truth must be bought, and at a high price. That high price is often great sacrifice. Perhaps it’s the price of inconvenience. It can be the price of ridicule or even persecution. It can be the price of having to turn your back on something that you believed and been a part of all your life. That can be very difficult. That can be an incredibly hard step for someone to take, but such is the price of truth.
What makes truth so expensive? What makes it such a valuable commodity? There are several factors in the economies of the world that determine an item’s value. The first is, its availability. The less of something that there is, the more expensive that thing becomes. That’s Economics 101. When the price goes up at the gas pump, one of the usual suspects is a higher demand for oil. When people drive more or refineries are refining less, then the market drives the price of oil up and we pay more for gas. If you could go out into any old stream of water and pan gold, then gold wouldn’t be so expensive. Let something be found in abundance, and it can usually be purchased rather inexpensively. Spiritual commodities are not that different. For example, the Bible calls the blood of Christ “precious.” But why was Jesus’ blood precious? It’s because He was the only lamb without spot or blemish. He was the only sinless human being to ever live, so you might say in the market of souls, His blood could purchase what no other blood could. It’s rare, one of a kind. The truth is the same way. One thing that makes truth so precious and rare is that it’s not being made anymore. Truth is out of print. It’s out of production! Do you know there is no such thing as NEW TRUTH? Truth is what is. You can’t manufacture it or replace it. Otherwise, it was never truth to begin with. Someone said a few years ago that 1,000 books per day are published. They also said that 3,000 pages of information are being printed off every second. Did you know that not one word of that adds to the supply of truth? Those writings may include truth, repeat truth, illustrate truth, deny truth, but not one bit of it adds any truth to the world or removes it. The truth is the truth and that’s it. Correspondingly, the truth is a rare commodity in the exchange of thoughts and ideas today. In fact, we have cheapened whatever concept we have in our minds of truth with the notion that ‘you believe whatever you want, and I’ll believe whatever I want, and it really doesn’t matter what the Bible says about it because everybody has their own interpretation of the Bible anyway, so as long as you’re sincere, nothing else matters.’ Have you ever thought about how that cheapens the truth? There are millions of doctrines in the world today but most of them don’t represent the true teaching of the Bible, and are therefore, not worth anything. One is as good as the next when it comes to teachings that are not found in God’s Word. And, you know, if you can’t find one that you like, you just keep looking until you find one that might suit you. The truth though, is a precious commodity because it is so exclusively unique and rare.
1 Samuel 3:1 says “And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” Now, when that was written, it had been some time since God had spoken anything to His people. And Samuel became the first in a long line of prophets after the period of silence on the part of God. So, what revelation they had from God was considered a precious thing. Paul tells us that in this age of the world, God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds… Christ appointed His twelve apostles who lived in the first century to be His ambassadors or messengers, through whom He would reveal the truth. Those men were guided by the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ’s truth to the world. You know, there is much being said in the name of religion today, but most of it does not agree with what the Bible says. As a result, we must weed through a lot of men’s babble and nonsense to get to the truth of God’s Word. Just remember this, my friend: MUCH of what you hear today is NOT true, because it is not taught in the Bible. It may come from a very intelligent man or a man who has the gift of words or eloquent speech and may appear learned, but it’s not true because it is not taught in God’s Word. What is true is precious and you should latch on to it and cling to it. I John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” That word “prove” is telling us to put it to the test of God’s Word, and if it lines up with what the Bible says, then Paul says we are to grip it tightly. In other words, we are to consider it a precious thing and not turn loose of it. We are to put it in safe keeping in our hearts and to practice in our lives. So, the truth is valuable because of its rarity. All truth is found in God and has been fully revealed in His word.
Then, Solomon says, in his proverb that once we have the truth, it is far too precious to sell. In fact, he just plainly says sell it not. He doesn’t say we should sell it for a high price, but under no circumstances should we relinquish it. Do you know why collectors of fine things often comb rummage sales and estate sales and flea markets and junk stores? I like to go to places like that because I never know what l might find. Those places are such a draw because many people throw things away without realizing their value. Then you might end up being the fortunate one who stumbles upon that item and is able to purchase it at a good price. That happens a lot. Something gets sold at a yard sale for a few dollars or even a few cents that would’ve brought a much higher price had it been offered on the internet or at an auction, to people who appreciate it or know its value. People unwittingly lose a great fortune because they don’t know the worth of what they have.
There are multitudes of people who have been that way with the truth. They don’t esteem it very highly and it doesn’t take very much to get them to sell out, even though Solomon says that we shouldn’t sell it at ANY price. Think about it: many people will sell the truth for any number of reasons. Some will sell it for popularity or acceptance. It’s not hard to stand for something if others don’t oppose it. But it’s a different matter, you see, to stand by yourself and uphold the truth. That takes some courage. Only the person who understands the value of the truth will be willing to do that. Daniel understood how valuable the truth was when he refused to violate the law of God to appease the king by eating from his table and drinking his wine (Daniel 1). You see, truth meant more to Daniel than even the acceptance of the royal government. He wasn’t going to sell the truth out for prestige and acceptance with the king. I can tell you that it’s far from popular today to stand for what the Bible teaches about much of anything! If you stand for what the Bible says about morality in this day and time, you will immediately be labeled a hateful bigot or a Bible thumper. If you contend for what the Bible says about doctrine, you just wait. There is a multitude of people lined up to call you a legalist or a fundamentalist. And some people can’t stand up under that kind of criticism, so they sell the truth. Whatever pleases the most people, whatever is the course of least resistance, that’s what they believe, that’s where they go to church, that’s how they worship, and so on.
And then, there are those who sell the truth for comfort or convenience. That is, they’ll only stay with what is right as long as it comes easy and doesn’t demand too much of them. But should the truth to encroach upon their worldly lifestyle or their busy schedule, they’ll sell it. They treat the truth as though it’s not worth very much. They’ll trade it for something much less requiring. That reminds us of the story of God’s people after the division of the kingdom long ago. You’ll recall that Jeroboam was worried that the people would go back to Jerusalem to worship, and their hearts would thus be turned away from him, until they would rebel against him and kill him. He was so worried about that that he set up two idolatrous altars in the more nearby places of Bethel and Dan, and this is what he told the people: 1 Kings 12:28-29 “…It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.” Jeroboam told them to worship the substitutes that he had set up nearby. He sold his error to the people by convincing them that it would be easier and more convenient. Speaking of going to a place to gather with others for worship, I know of people even now, in this dispensation of time, who will drive a long distance to meet with a group of people who worship according to the Bible because there’s not a congregation like that in their community. And instead of just throwing up their hands, they go to great effort and great expense to make that trip Sunday after Sunday to join with people of like precious faith to worship according to the teaching of the Bible. You know, that sometimes leaves their neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends scratching their heads and wondering why the church right down on the corner isn’t good enough. It’s because they value the truth, and they’re not willing to sell it for comfort or convenience. So, what does the Bible say happened when the people took the deal that Jeroboam offered them, and worshipped the idols in Dan and Bethel? 1 Kings 12:30 “And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.” 1 Kings 13:3 “…This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.” God condemned Jeroboam’s false altars. Well, a lot of people are lured away from Jerusalem as it were, by the appeal of an easier religion. They sell the truth for convenience and for comfort.
Then there are those who sell the truth for what they think is progress. Many are casting the truth aside because it’s not considered up to date. It’s not in step with the culture. It’s not cool and trendy and fashionable. Many churches of Christ are selling the truth to be like the popular church in town. To be like the denominations or the emergent church. Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” There is something to be said for what is tried and true, and that is the case with what has been established by precept or example in the Word of God. I believe the worship as it was offered by the early church is still our pattern and should be good enough for us today. Many of the modern innovations in doctrine and worship that so many people take for granted today may draw a crowd and appease most cutting-edge thrill seekers in religion today, but they don’t please the Lord because they are a departure from what His word teaches. The so-called ‘Christian community’ is constantly evolving so quickly, in fact, that it is hard for anyone else to keep up. It’s like trying to keep up with the latest technology: you go and spend a lot of money on a new device and it’s not very long until it’s old hat. That’s the way it is with change in religion. The latest, greatest, most cutting-edge thing, in just a few years, is going to be old hat. When you become un-tethered from the Word of God as your guide and as your standard, where will you end up? “Buy the truth, and sell it not…”
©2022 BibleWay Media. All rights reserved. BibleWay Media grants permission to copy this material for personal use. Permission is also granted to distribute this transcript as long as it is reproduced in its entirety, used solely for its original purpose of spreading the gospel, and attribution is given to the author and Let the Bible Speak.
Most things have a price attached to them and are for sale if someone offers enough money. Nothing is of greater value than the truth although many treat it as though it is not worth that much. The wise man urges us in Proverbs to “Buy the truth and sell it not.” In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak, we talk about why truth is such a treasure and why many are selling it today.
The bible says that we must confess our sins to be forgiven of them. But when is a confession not really a confession?
Good morning and welcome to Let the Bible Speak. It’s my privilege to join you today to open and study the divinely inspired Word of God. The statement “confession is good for the soul” is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. In fact, it’s not only GOOD for the soul, but also necessary for the soul. God makes confession of sin a prerequisite to His forgiveness of that sin. Listen to the Apostle John in 1 John 1:8-10. He writes: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
The word “if” makes forgiveness conditional. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In other words, if we refuse to confess our sins, He will not forgive. A refusal to confess our sin is a refusal to repent of that sin. Repentance involves more than a change of behavior, though it will always result in such. Part of repentance is the act of confessing what we have done. Many misunderstand the word “confession”. Confessing something does not mean that we reveal something to others they know nothing about. Nor does it merely mean acknowledging something. There is more involved in a genuine confession of sin and our pride often stands in the way of us doing so. We have, in the bible, several examples of people acknowledging their sin but, in many cases, their confession amounted to very little. We want to see what a true confession of sin looks like and why it is so necessary to having a right relationship with God.
When we hear that someone confesses a sin, perhaps a crime, we think of someone coming out of the shadows and bringing the truth to light. When we think more about it more deeply, however, we see that to confess doesn’t necessarily mean to divulge something that others didn’t know about, but rather, it really means to admit to what a person is already accused of. It may very well be that the deeds we confess comes as a surprise to people but never in the case of God. In fact, when it comes to confessing sin to God, it goes even farther than just an admission of guilt. When the scripture says that we are to confess our sins, it means that we are to not only to acknowledge our sin, but we are to openly and unreservedly agree with what God has said ABOUT our sin. When John writes “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins”, he wrote the Greek word “homologeo”. It is a compound word that means to ‘say the same thing as another’ or ‘to agree with another’.
God does not need us to inform Him of the fact that we have sinned, but He does require that we agree with His assessment of our sin if we expect Him to forgive us. If we dodge, obfuscate, and deflect blame for our sin or in any way refuse to be honest and take responsibility for our sins, God will withhold His forgiveness according to His word. Why is that? Why is God so insistent that we confess our sin before He extends forgiveness? Because TRUE and genuine confession is part of repentance and God refuses to forgive any sin for which a person refuses to repent. I emphasize the words ‘true’ and ‘genuine’ because there are confessions that are not really genuine; they are counterfeit. And many people go through life spiritually substituting excuses, alibis, and stubborn rebellion for true humble repentance and confession before God. The result is that their hearts are far from God and from His will regardless of what things they may say.
Confession and repentance go hand in hand, and you may confess sin without repenting but you can never repent without confessing. To illustrate this fact, I want us to look at several confessions people made in the word of God. Some of them even consist of the very words “I have sinned” but they weren’t really confessions. Let’s see if we can tell the difference.
The first COUNTERFEIT confession I want to talk about was made by the wicked Pharaoh of Egypt during the ministry of Moses and he made what we’ll call a HORRIFIED confession. There is no power like God’s power and when His power is on display, it can’t be ignored. The Egyptian Pharaoh was a powerful man himself. Egypt was a rich and powerful nation, and the Pharaoh was a fierce and formidable man. The children of Israel were slaves there, as we well know, and had been for several generations. It would take more than an eloquent appeal from Moses to get Pharaoh to let the people go free. It would take God showing His power in an incredible way to break the will of Pharaoh and even that would not change what was in his heart. Catastrophes and disasters can bring individuals and even nations and their leaders to their knees but still not change truly turn their hearts to God.
We see that time and again in our own history. When some horrendous tragedy shakes the nation and the world, you’ll see a momentary revival of religious interest but in more cases than not, people’s hearts are not really moved to repentance and thus lasting change. We see this in the case of Pharoah. When God sent Moses to declare His command to free the Hebrew people, He determined that each of these declarations would be followed by a successive series of plagues in Egypt. These afflictions and disasters would be increasingly hard on Pharaoh and were designed not only to punish him for his treatment of God’s people but to display God’s sovereign power and His superiority over the imaginary God’s the Egyptians worshipped. He turned the water of the Nile River into blood. He caused an infestation of frogs; and then lice; and then flies. He diseased their livestock and afflicted them with terrible boils. None of these things moved Pharoah, so God sent Moses back to Pharaoh to tell him in Exodus 9:18, “Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.” Some of the people listened and brought their cattle inside but others ignored Moses’ warning. So, the bible says “And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.” This was no ordinary storm. You didn’t see it on the Weather Channel, I can tell you that. It was enough to scare anyone out of their wits – and it did Pharaoh! “And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”” It sounds like Pharaoh finally got the message. Doesn’t it? But he didn’t. He was just shaken by the storm but once the sun came out and the birds started singing again, he reneged on his promise and stiffened his neck again. Isn’t that the way many people are even today? Have there been times when you have been frightened for your life and you went to praying to God and making vows and making promises that you never kept? A lot of people do that.
When you thought you were having a heart attack; or when you thought you might have cancer did you say that you need to turn to God? How many people, when the Covid pandemic started and the world ground to a halt and we were hearing all the frightening reports, how many started talking about returning to God, getting back to reading the bible and praying? Did all of that go by the wayside as the world began to return to some sense of normal? After 9-11, there was a brief religious revival in America and church buildings were full for a short time. But it didn’t last. By many metrics, we’re worse off now spiritually than we were then. What happened? People make counterfeit confessions and cry out to God but there’s no real repentance. That’s the problem.
But then you have what we’ll call a HYPOCRITICAL confession. This was the kind of confession that was made by a sad excuse for a prophet of God named Balaam. I wish we had time to go into his story in great detail and maybe we’ll do that in a future sermon, but it’s a pathetic story, to say the least. Now, Balaam was a good preacher, at least that’s how he appeared on the surface. He could be firm, authoritative, and resolute. In fact, Balaam’s kind of preaching was what we need today. The problem is, Balaam was not the kind of preacher that we need. He was a hypocrite. He could preach a stirring sermon and call people to be faithful to God’s word while he tried to find every way around doing God’s will himself. His underlying problem was that he loved money and if there was anything that could shake his resolve to stand for the word of God, it was someone coming along and waving money under his nose. And that’s exactly what happened here.
The story is found in Numbers 22. Again, this would be a good study for us another time. For now, though, suffice it to say that the king of Moab wanted Balaam to do a terrible thing and curse the people of God. Well, as you might imagine, God wasn’t about to do that but the king, Balak, offered Balaam a lot of money if we would go against God and this put Balaam on the horns of a dilemma. He wanted to find some loophole to allow him to make a deal with Balak and to be right with God at the same time. No man can serve two masters, however, and Balaam immediately started to compromise his own rhetoric. He sounded good when he said that he would not do one thing more or less than what God had said but that was just a sermon. He didn’t mean it. He started to wheel and deal with Balak and God had to go to the extreme of sending an angel to either stop him or kill him. If you read the story, you learn that he was riding a donkey and God’s angel appeared to the donkey but not to Balaam and he came a hair’s breadth away from getting himself killed when God opened his eyes to see the angel and when He did, it scared Balaam half to death. When he saw that angel, the bible says in Numbers 22:34 “Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned…”
Well, just like Pharaoh, that sounds good. It sounds promising. But he didn’t mean a word of it. Read the rest of the story and you’ll see that he didn’t mean it. He thought his confession would soften God up and get him out of trouble, but he didn’t change! Read on and you’ll see when he went ahead and betrayed the people of God, disobeyed the Lord, and caused a multitude of Israelites to die as a result of his treachery. Words are cheap if they’re not backed up by action and Balaam’s confession was just words. Like all of his sermons, great and powerful as they may have been, his confession was just telling God what he thought God wanted to hear but it was a hypocritical confession.
And then there is the HALF-HEARTED confession. This was the kind of confession King Saul made when he got backed into the corner in 1 Samuel 15. God had an important and clear mission for Saul and that was to go wipe the Amalekites off of the face of the earth. He was to eradicate them from the top all the way down. God was crystal clear about what Saul was to do when Samuel delivered the message and sent Saul into battle. The problem was Saul was arrogant, prideful, and stubborn. He thought he knew better than God. So, when he and his men got over there and things were going like they were supposed to, he got the bright idea to spare the king alive and bring him back as a prisoner of war and to save out the best of the Amalekite’s oxen and sheep under the guise of offering them to God as sacrifices. Well, he sinned in all of that because that’s not what God said to do. When Samuel found out about it, he went to confront Saul and when Saul first saw Samuel, he sticks out his chest and says, “I have done the commandment of the Lord!” But he hadn’t and Samuel knew that he hadn’t. And about the time, the oxen started their lowing and some sheep off in the distance started bleating and they told on Saul. He didn’t have much choice now. He’s in trouble and he knows it. So, much like Balaam, he backs up and tries another approach with Samuel. He says in verse 24: “I have sinned…”
Well, again, you would think, “Great! He’s seen the light. He’s coming around and he’s going to get right with God. But read on. He said, “I have sinned…because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” He’s not repentant. He’s not accepting responsibility. He’s making excuses and pointing fingers. Listen, when a confession of sin is laced with alibis and excuses and rationalizations and justifications, it’s not a true confession. There’s no repentance there. Had Saul truly confessed his sin and repented, he would have remorsefully said, “You’re right. I sinned, no if’s and’s or but’s, and I’m going right now to finish the job God sent me to do.” But that’s not what he did. Read the story and you’ll see that Samuel had to finish the job for him. He eventually lost his crown and ultimately his life because of all of that.
And then, let’s consider the HEMMED-UP confession. This was what we hear from another man in the Old Testament named Achan. He also said “I have sinned” but it didn’t amount to much. When the Israelites surrounded and toppled the walls of Jericho in Joshua 6, God told them not to take the spoils of the city. Those belonged to Him, and the people weren’t to take them for themselves. Achan didn’t listen to Joshua though and he snuck into the ruins and stole the fine apparel and the silver and gold and snuck back and buried them beneath his tent. He thought he had gotten away with a great crime, and no one was any the wiser, but He forgot about the all-seeing eye of God. His secret sin led to a very public and humiliating defeat for his people when they tried to take the little city of Ai. God told Joshua they failed because of sin in their midst and so Joshua launched an investigation and on a divine hunch, zeroed in on Achan. He brought Achan out and put him on trial. With nowhere to run and no excuse to offer, Achan said in Joshua 7:20, “indeed I have sinned…” Apparently, though, like many people, he wasn’t as sorry for his sin as much as he was for getting caught. That’s how so many people are. There are no tears of remorse until their sins are exposed or until they are backed into a corner and the axe of judgment is about to fall. His pseudo-confession was no substitute for genuine repentance for God told Joshua to kill him, his family, his livestock, and to burn it all into a heap of ash. How many will cry out to God in the Day of Judgment because judgment has finally come but not because they are truly remorseful for disobeying God.
You see, none of these are true confessions. I told you in the beginning that the word confess means to ‘say the same thing’. That has to do with more than just words, though. It means we not only say what God says about our sin; it means in our mind and our heart we agree with Him and see our sin like He sees it. Friend, when we see our sin through the eyes of God, we’ll find ourselves humbled, broken, and repentant. That’s what true confession is. That’s why true confession has no excuses, alibis, or self-justification. True confession is looking at our sin through the eyes of a holy and offended God. That’s what leads to repentance. “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” said Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:10. That’s the kind of confession that the prodigal son made when he was finally ruined, broken, humiliated, and alienated by his sin and yearning for fellowship with his loving father. He said “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to my father, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against thee. Make me as one of your hired servants…’ And he arose and went!” No excuses. No negotiating. No saying “If you hadn’t been so strict, I wouldn’t have left.” He was not only sorry for breaking his father’s heart and wasting his father’s living, but he was also ready to do whatever he had to do to be right with his father. And that’s the kind of realization and attitude we must have about our own sin if God is to forgive us. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Are you ready to come to grips with the sin in your life? And without reservation, without condition, without excuse, without holding back anything from God, give in and give it up and humbly submit to the will of your Heavenly Father.
©2022 BibleWay Media. All rights reserved. BibleWay Media grants permission to copy this material for personal use. Permission is also granted to distribute this transcript as long as it is reproduced in its entirety, used solely for its original purpose of spreading the gospel, and attribution is given to the author and Let the Bible Speak.
What does it mean to confess sin? The Bible provides several examples of people who uttered the words “I have sinned” but not all were true confessions. God withholds forgiveness from any person who refuses to confess their transgressions. In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak, we learn when an admission falls short of a true confession of sin.