Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Power of Confession!

James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 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.

This is the second part to the passage yesterday, where James urges the early church to pray in all circumstances. And the last situation he mentions is that of being sick. Remember from yesterday this is not necessarily physically sick, but also mean "weakness". This is important when he says therefore confess your sins to each other and pray so that you may be healed. Some mistakenly make the connection that sickness is always related to sinning. Of course sin and it's destructive nature can lead to sickness, but it would be a mistake and potentially harmful to say if someone is sick they have sinned.

This is why understanding the bible and how to interpret it properly is so important. So much damage has been done in the name of the bible and in the name of God. That is why it is critical for each for each believer to learn how to read the bible and interpret according to sound principles. It is important to know what the word sickness may mean in this situation. There are many Greek words for what one word may be translated into English.

Finally, James says to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other". In the early church there was no hierarchy. Different people with different gifts carried out different roles, but there was a flat organizational structure. Notice it does not say to find a pastor or priest to confess your sins to. This reminds me of Luther's "priesthood of all believers". In this doctrine developed from scripture, Luther says we are all "little priests". A priest is a mediator between God and man. As we hear each other's confession and announce forgiveness in Jesus' name, we are in a sense acting in a priestly role. This does not diminish the role and call that pastors and priests have, but reminds us that we all can pray in Jesus' name for healing and forgiveness. In fact, some of the greatest healing we can experience is through forgiveness. Some people literally get sick from unconfesed sin. It literally eats us up inside if we do not confess and find inner and spiritual healing.

Do you have a community like this for you to live out your faith life? Do you have unconfessed sin in your life? This is the antidote to Christians who try to live out their faith on their own. You can't do it. Why? Because we need each other for prayer, confession and healing in Jesus' name. After all Jesus says, "whenever two or three are gathered in my name I am with you."

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