In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
The modern church places much emphasis on confession—often at the expense of a proper understanding of repentance. While confession of sin is mentioned twice in the New Testament (James 5:16; 1 John 1:9), repentance is talked about much more. We should be careful not to confuse the two, because a believer can confess without repentance but can’t repent without confession.
It is possible to feel sorry and confess sin but change nothing. Repentance (also known as contrition) means taking responsibility for sin and committing to change a wrong action or attitude; this is essential for spiritual growth. True confession—agreeing with God’s perspective about our transgression—goes hand in hand with repentance, because if we know God hates what we’re doing, then we will stop.
By means of confession and contrition, the believer accepts responsibility for ridding his life of a sin through the Holy Spirit’s power. Jesus’ ready forgiveness shouldn’t be treated like the “get out of jail free” card from a board game. We must do more than casually say, “Lord, I’ve messed up again—I’m sorry.” To triumph over habitual sin, we must choose to resist temptation and obey God. Satan will keep harassing us, and we may fail again. But we are to keep up sincere confession and repentance until the Father gives us victory.
Repentance isn’t feeling sorry or claiming weakness in the face of temptation. It’s a condition wherein our spirit understands the Lord’s grief over sin, grieves with Him, and commits to changing behavior to please Him.
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