Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Corporate Confession

Confessing our Sins Together

There is a tendency for us to think of confession as a personal act we do before God. Certainly much confession is of this personal, private nature that is only between ourselves and God. But God’s Word gives us another picture of confession that is corporate in its practice. It is confession from a group of people who are aware of the corporate aspect of their sin and aware that private confession is inadequate to deal with this problem.

I believe that the call of God to the Church today is for confession of this type. If we are to see revival in our day, it will come to a people who have humbled themselves together before their God and sought His face. This humility comes as we recognize that much of what has passed for Christianity in our day has been self-centered, worldly and an affront to the Lord. The only way to deal with the sin of the Church is for the Church to confess its sins and repent.

The biblical example that comes to mind is the story of Israel during the time of Ezra, when the people of God were dealing with the sin of intermarriage with the pagan tribes around them. The seventy years of exile in Babylon had ended. The exiles returned to Jerusalem over a number of years in different groups. One of these groups was lead by the great biblical scholar and man of God, Ezra.

Ezra’s godly presence prompted the people to confess that they had once again damaged Israel’s standing with God by disobeying His clear command not to intermarry with the non-Jewish peoples around them. The sorrow and prayer of Ezra following this revelation is powerful.

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