One component that will be conspicuously absent from most church gatherings tomorrow will be the confession of sin – in public worship and in the private interactions amongst church members. Yet, how much does this aid the spread of sin within our churches!
Dever and Alexander in The Deliberate Church (pp. 68-69) give an excellent description and metaphor of how confession works for our good:
Confessing our sins to one another makes us bring our sins out into the light, where they can be dealt with in the context of mutually sanctifying friendships in which people are strengthening each other through prayer, encouragement, and application of the Word.
Sin needs darkness to grow – it needs isolation disguised as “privacy,” and prideful self-sufficiency disguised as “strength.” Once these conditions prevail, sin is watered with the acid of shame, which then makes darkness appear more attractive to the sinner than light. But when we walk in the light by confessing our sins, we realize that we are not alone in our struggles, and we open ourselves to the protective rebukes and loving corrections that function as pesticides to curb the destructive and enslaving potential of habitual sin.
A well said application of 1 John 1:5-10! (Really, this book is full of such gems – put The Deliberate Church on your short list of “must read”).
Our sin thrives in the darkness (see Eph 5:6-14), but we have the light of God in the Son, through His Word, and amongst one another as a church. When Christians realize that darkness is destructive to their souls by allowing the spread of sin, we can again embrace rebukes as protective.
Confess your sin and find that the publicity is designed by God to work like a great fertilizer – it gives growth to your soul, while killing the weeds of sin.