This post is the first in a four part series exploring the message that fueled the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905. During this short period of time, revival swept through nearly every town on the Island of Wales and over 100,000 people came to faith in Christ.
A young preacher, Evan Roberts, stressed the following four tenets to his companions. As they began to personally do these, God used this group to help spread revival all over Wales. There is much to be learned from these tenets as we prepare for revival today.
Confess all known sin, receiving forgiveness through Jesus Christ
Remove anything in your life that you are in doubt or feel unsure about
Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly
Publicly confess the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today let’s focus on the first:
Confess all known sin, receiving forgiveness
through Jesus Christ.
To confess literally means to admit or agree. By confessing, you agree that you are guilty of sin and acknowledge that you must change. Before any change can be made, you have to see the need to change. Rather than confessing our need for change we often deny or make excuses for our behavior.
Common Responses to Being Confronted About Sin
Denial. This is refusing to admit that you are guilty. You either deny that you have committed the sin, or you deny that the behavior is actually a sin. A sin is a sin whether you believe it is or not. (We will explore how to identify sin later in this article.) You may believe that denial will let you off the hook, but the relief you feel through denial is temporary. Your sin will destroy you.
Another form of denial is admitting that you engage in the sin, but refusing to acknowledge the extent of your engagement, it is easy to fool yourself into believing that you have sin “under control.”
Dismiss Responsibility. It’s also easy to blame others for our sin. If you are guilty of a sin, you must accept your responsibility in engaging in it. Don’t blame others, your genes or your circumstances. Admit your part.
It is true that your past has contributed to who you are today. But who you become is up to you. In order to change, you must stop the blame game and take responsibility for your life.
For example, you do not have your dad’s temper—you have your temper. He may have taught you to act a certain way, however you are responsible if you keep acting it out.
Downplay it. We often downplay our sin. We use excuses such as, “Boys will be boys,” “It’s legal,” and, “At least I’m not as bad as...” When God calls something wrong and says it leads to death, you must see it for what it is: destructive. Stop minimizing it, downplaying it, making excuses for it and taking it lightly. If God says that something is sin and leads to death, you must become serious about changing it.
The wages of sin is death... Romans 6:23.
Remember that God loves you enough to warn you about things that are destructive. Even if you do not want to agree with Him, you must learn to submit to His Lordship and realize that He knows best.
Divert Attention. People often try to divert attention from their sins by pointing out the sins of others—particularly by pointing out the sins of the person who is confronting the sin in their life. By diverting attention to someone else’s problems, it temporarily gets the heat off of us.
It is common to divert attention by accusing the other person of judging you or not loving you if they suggest your behavior is sin. Although it is true that some people are critical and judgmental, you must realize that those who love you should talk to you if they believe that you are doing something destructive.
While the Bible tells us not to judge or condemn, there are direct orders for people in the church to teach believers right from wrong. This includes the command to restore (bring back) believers who are caught in sin.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1
How can someone restore you to the right path if they are never allowed to tell you that you are on the wrong path? A serious follower of Jesus will welcome the feedback and correction that comes from Godly leaders who care for them.
While it’s true that others also sin, and someone may actually be sinning by arrogantly pointing out your faults, it does not change the fact that if you are guilty, you are guilty. Diverting attention does not erase your sin. They will answer for their sin. You will answer for your sin. To God.
The Power of Confession
The only response that will break the hold of sin in your life is confession. Confession is taking personal responsibility for your actions and admitting that you need to change. You are as sick as your secrets. Your weaknesses fear discovery because they lose power once they are brought into the light. Confession brings darkness into the light.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21
Confession to yourself causes you to step out of denial. Confessing to yourself that you have a problem is the first step toward destroying its power over you.
But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 1 Corinthians 11:31
Confession to God brings forgiveness. Through confessing to God, we find forgiveness and cleansing from our sin. Our guilt is erased.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
After you confess your sin, it is now time to repent, which literally means to turn away from your sins. You must turn from sin to God.