The Collective Need to Repent and Confess

To be clear, I absolutely believe in our collective need to repent and confess our sins to one another (James 5:16).  I am only cautioning against doing so outside the context of the countervailing, scandalous nature of God’s unconditional love.  It is, after all, “God’s kindness [that] leads you toward repentance” (Romans 2:4), repentance being nearly synonymous with honesty.  The confidence that “there is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) is the engine that fuels honesty with one another, about both our ongoing sin and our ongoing suffering.  Fortunately, this is the good news that lies at the heart of the gospel.  But I disagree.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 71

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Let’s Not Gain Mere Knowledge

May we not merely gain knowledge.  Instead, as we learn, may we grow and confess and change more into the people we’ve been created to be by the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us (Romans 14:17).

– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 157

We, Too, Look for Others to Blame

Calvin notes that these sailors [in the book of Jonah] would not be so quick to single out one man “if each had well considered what he deserved before God.  When a calamity happens, it is the duty of everyone to examine himself and his whole life before God; then everyone, from the first to the last, must confess that he bears a just judgment.”  These men seek one person to blame for the storm, Calvin says, “because they did not think that their own sins deserved so heavy a punishment.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p.45

Sometimes God Will Change Us and Sometimes He Won’t

Second, when we go to God, sometimes he begins to change us and to make us different than we were before we went to him.  But you’ll get into trouble if you make this an absolute.  If you believe that every time you confess sin (pointed out by the law) to God, then he automatically gives you the power to obey, you’ll believe anything.  Sometimes God will change us and sometimes he won’t.

– Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, copyright 2004, Howard Books, page 232

What the Church Ought to Be

The church should be a place where we can say anything and know we won’t be kicked out, where we can confess our sins knowing others will help us, where we can disagree and still be friends.  It ought to be the one place in the world where we don’t have to wear masks.  And, should that happen, the world – where phoniness is the standard – will flock to our doors.  Why?

Because freedom, genuine freedom, is an attractive commodity.

– Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, copyright 2004, Howard Books, page 113