Have you ever wondered what the next steps are after praying to God for mercy and forgiveness? How about after you have just confessed your faults one to another. These are important questions to have answered as believers in Jesus. That is why we are covering these things today. One thing we know is that the Lord God hears our prayers and is ready and willing to forgive us as sinners. Even John said, 4“if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) This is the first step to being washed by the blood of Jesus, which He shed on the cross. This step is called confession. Often times people do confess, praise God for that. However, what is often missed afterward is repentance. And the sad thing about that is that it is not always the fault of the person going to church, but the fault of the priests, bishops, and pastors at their churches. Many so-called church leaders say they are leading their congregation to God, but are leaving out the fact that we need to repent after our sins are confessed. They may even lump repentance with a works salvation theory, and therefore, not teach on it at all. However, is this what the Bible teaches? Absolutely not. As Peter said, 3“repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.” (Acts 3:19,20) So we learn that first comes confession and then repentance, that our evil deeds may no longer be a part of who we are. Jesus is then able to come into our lives so that we can fight against sin and temptation.
As we’ve learned, confession and repentance are important, but what do they really mean? Confession is what a person does who is broken or humble before God while crying out to Him for mercy. They call upon His name and express their remorse for the different sins they have committed. This genuine act before God in prayer is why God forgives them. And the reason for this is that the person praying also doesn’t want to commit the same sins again. This is called repentance that is more than words but goes deep into our soul. These are those people who God forgives and cleanses of all unrighteousness. However, every person who isn’t sincere, but confesses their sins to their priest just to check a box off, these people God does not hear. As it is said in John 9, 1“now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” (John 9:31) The key thing here is that God only hears people’s prayers who also want to do His will after the fact. Not people who just confess and don’t desire that God would change them. Repentance is when we turn from our sins and start looking to God and doing His will instead of our own. As was just mentioned, true repentance is our desire to change our lives put then put into real action. We are to do this before baptism and afterward as well. And if you are not baptized yet, then listen to what Peter said. 2“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) Baptism is what jumpstarts our faith and desire to really follow Jesus. We then confess our sins and repent throughout our lives.
Oh Lord, I am so sorry for what I have done. I know that I have done terrible things, which are evil in Your sight, and I just ask for You to forgive me. I am ready to give these things up today. I confess these things to You because only You can forgive me. Hear my cries and have compassion for my soul. This I plead. I need Your mercy to get over what I have done. You are the Lord God of all and I freely accept You as Lord of my life also. Help lead me from here on out. May I begin to live the life that You have prepared for me. Take this old life and make me new. Cleanse me of all my sins. I offer You my heart and my soul to You, that I might do Your will instead of my own. I ask that You do a work in me now and for the rest of my life. I am ready and willing to go and do what You would ask of me. Lead me by the hand, God. What You desire, I will do. I fully surrender to You now. Change my life, that I might walk in Your light, and that darkness may scatter. I desire to be comformed to Your ways and not my own. Lead me from temptation, dear Lord. I need Your help all the rest of my days. From here on out will I seek You daily in Your Word and in prayer, that You build me up through the Holy Spirit. Give me the strength to resist the devil. I know that only through Your Name, Jesus, can we be saved. Therefore, I proclaim that You are my Savior, Lord, and God, whom I trust. From now on and until the end of my time will I follow You. I give You, Jesus, glory, and praise. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.