This is the third Counseling Corner written on repentance. I want to speak of the importance of the need for a full examination of one’s sin after he has made a profession of faith. Asking forgiveness for one’s sins against God and entering into the new birth (II Corinthians 5:17) is a wonderful experience. But, we must not stop there. Our lives of sin before coming to God have left a track record of defilement and there needs to be a cleansing on our part by confessing sins that we have participated in. “Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring our consecration to completeness in the reverential fear of God.” (II Corinthians 7:1, The Amplified Bible).
It is my experience that many who have repented unto salvation and have indeed been washed; “you were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 6:11) are not experiencing victory in their walk. They are living with a multitude of sins that have never been confessed. These must be dealt with in order to experience the grace and peace of God fully. Some believers still have resentment, bitterness, rage, immorality, anxiety, fear, bondages, infidelity, deception, addictions, jealousy, depression, etc. Their “sin-trained” flesh has been active in the former lifestyle. Guilt and shame still haunt them in many cases. While reading from various sources I ran across this work from the evangelist, Charles Finney; “General confessions of sin will never do. Your sins were committed one by one, and as best you can they should be reviewed and repented one at a time.”
And that may be what you have neglected. Have you failed the admonition to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”? I suggest you start by confessing your sins that have not been addressed and you will experience a heavy load lifted off of your shoulders.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
I have heard over and over again from my counselees that when they go through the process of repentance through confession of their sins, they feel so much relief. Here are some suggestions for this repentance exercise:
1) Get alone with your Bible, pen and paper.
2) Read the first chapter of I John, especially focusing on verse 9.
3) Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal all those things that break or hinder your fellowship with Him.
4) Write them down – make a list. Things may come to you over the next several days.
5) One by one, confess each sin separately outloud. Agree with God that it is sin.
6) Ask forgiveness based on I John 1:9.
7) Thank God for forgiveness and cleansing.
8) Renounce each sin in turn – declare that Satan no longer has a part in your life in that area of your life.
9) Ask the Holy Spirit to fill that area of your life and put a guard over it.
10) Announce that this area now belongs to God.
You should feel a great relief after you have done this. Your intimacy with God will be enhanced since sin in your life will no longer be grieving the Holy Spirit.
Enjoy the blessing and keep short accounts of your sins from now on.