Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Last time we looked at what it’s like to live and walk in the Holy Spirit. We can go before the throne of God without fear and receive grace and mercy. We can trust in God’s love and salvation, which frees us to recognize our sins, accept them, and let them go.
So why do we ask God for forgiveness? That’s not for God. We don’t need to ask for forgiveness to be right with God because we are already righteous and holy. When we go to God to ask for forgiveness, we are recognizing and accepting what we have done. It’s a way of admitting, “Okay, that was not the best way to behave.” And it’s a way to tell God, “You know what? That was stupid. I get that.”
Going to God with confession in our hearts is not a way of telling God, “I need forgiveness.” The people who say “I need forgiveness” are the ones who are living in the room of good intentions. As we’ve discussed, good intentions, while obviously good, are bound to be thwarted. When our good intentions are thwarted, we go to God and we say, “I need forgiveness because I did not intend to do that, God. I totally had good intentions, and I fell short. So I need forgiveness.”
When we are living in the room of grace, however, we go to God and we say, “Thank you for forgiving me for that.” For example, we might say, “Hey God, you know what? I lived in the flesh right there when that guy cut me off. I yelled at him and I cussed him out. Thank you for forgiving me! And thank you for giving me the grace to move on. Help me to use more wisdom next time so that I won’t act like that. I acted from my flesh, and I would rather act in your Spirit, because that’s what I’m destined to do.”
That’s what we say to God, but the Bible also tells us to confess our sins to one another. Why does God want us to do that? He wants us to confess to one another because it is a liberating thing to do. What if you could sit among fellow believers in the room of grace? Try to imagine it. You would sit with people and say, “I’m going to confess my sin to you. I can do this because none of you will look at me with shame. And this will free me.”
The Bible says that this is what believers do. We confess our sins to one another because it’s the confession that lets the sin out. But we have to do this in the room of grace. Our job, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to look at the person making his confession and say, “I just want to let you know that I love you. I’ve been in your situation. I’ve messed up like that. Or maybe I haven’t messed up like that, but here’s how I messed up the other day. Here’s my confession.”
This is how we know and love each other as human beings. In an encounter like this one, you are looking at each other and accepting that you both live in the flesh, yet understanding that you live in the Spirit as well. You chose to live in the flesh at one point, but that is not who you are. So hang in the room of grace. You are holy, and you are free.