Hyper grace teachers deny the need for confession and forgiveness in the life of a believer. What they fail to understand, though, is that confession and forgiveness for a believer are NOT about obtaining justification, but about obtaining wholeness.
Over hundreds of pastoral counseling sessions, I have seen these truths time and again:
By grace, God allows us through confession to finally take ownership of problems and attitudes (and yes, also sins) that plague us – even after the Cross.
If we are not willing to openly confess our sins and our struggles, then we are avoiding the reality of continuing issues in our lives. And if we refuse to expose and own them, how can we turn them over to the Lord?
By grace, He allows us take the things we own up to, through confession, and then give them to Him through forgiveness.
Forgiveness is telling the Lord we are sorry for having made those things more important than Him and letting them control us, and finally submitting them to Him and asking Him to take them.
And He always does.
When we are willing to let go of our pain, hurts and bondage through confession and forgiveness, He always gives us something in return – freedom, health and wholeness.
And that results in repentance – we allow Him to change what we think, feel and perceive so that we then can act and react differently.
As believers, we don’t need confession and forgiveness to be made right in God’s eyes, but rather He gives us those gifts to be made whole in Him.
Any doctrine of “grace” which denies the need for these ordinances in the life of a believer is not “grace”, but bondage.
- Hyper Grace – Part 1 (crossroadjunction.com)
- Hyper Grace – Part 2 (crossroadjunction.com)
- Hyper Grace – Part 3 (crossroadjunction.com)
Read this quote today:
“You are responsible for your actions. You will never receive healing for your damaged emotions until you stop blaming everyone else and accept your responsibility.”
Thought it was pertinent to this post.
It was from: Healing for Damaged Emotions [Kindle Edition] David A. Seamands
Often what we need to “accept responsibility” for is not any guilt over our hurts and damaged emotions, because often they arise from wrongs committed not by us, but to us.
Rather, we need to accept responsibility over continuing to hold onto our hurts and wounds, even past the time when the Lord says we need to deal with them and then let them go.
But how can we let them go unless we first “own” them – and the lies that have attached themselves to those hurts – by being willing to transparently expose them through confession?
I get so frustrated at those who say that “grace” means believers never need to confess or seek forgiveness. They distort what those ordinances are all about in the life of a believer, and thus do great harm.
Seamands’ book is a sort of classic in the area.
Still, I think healing from an abusive CHILDHOOD needs to acknowledge the fact that the individual was too young to know of any choices of action. There is a tension between confession and forgiveness.
Tom, my wife and I have become somewhat the “go to’s” in our area by the larger Body of Christ for ministry to sex abuse survivors. We have counseled hundreds of abuse survivors over the years, and seen amazing healing and wholeness come as we walk with them to the place of pain, lies and bondage in their lives and see them find healing and wholeness in the Lord.
I think we understand a thing or two about what’s needed to help those who have suffered childhood abuse.
You and I can tell them over and over that they were too young to be responsible for what happened. They even can intellectually think that is true. But it doesn’t FEEL true.
Only the Lord can change their “truth” and their reality. And for that to happen, they MUST be willing to expose to the Lord their pain, the lies they have come to believe (often about themselves) from the abuse, and the bondage of those lies. That’s called confession. There is no getting around that essential step.
When they are willing to fully and transparently open it all up to the Lord and expose it to Him, then they are able to finally hear from Him. And He has always been there at that place of pain, lies and bondage – waiting for them to come and hear from Him. The healing that then comes as they then are ready to hear what He has to say to them is profound – His loving truth as He personally speaks it to them instantly changes their reality, and they find freedom.
Tom, what you say is intellectually true, but by itself will seldom bring wholeness and freedom. Neglect confession – not of any wrong they did, but of the pain, lies and bondage they have internalized because of the wrong done to them – and they will NEVER find wholeness. You can tell them what you say above all you want, but it won’t suffice.
Often, healing also involves finding forgiveness by owning and turning over to the Lord all the things that an abuse survivor did to cope with their pain, lies and bondage. It is not unusual for abuse survivors to have turned to drugs, alcohol, self medication, emotionally numbing out, and all kinds of other things that have become idols in their lives. The way they have coped has become their idol by pushing God out as their Lord and healer.
Owning that reality and then turning it over to the Lord through forgiveness so that they then experientially and not just intellectually know His acceptance (which always existed, but sometimes we need to find it through forgiveness), also are key to their reality changing from bondage to freedom.
Tom, I stand resolute, from scripture and from the experience of walking with literally hundreds of abuse survivors, that confession – and often forgiveness – are essential to finding healing and wholeness in those areas were we are in bondage to hurts, lies and emotional wounds.
I thus stand resolute against the (i) false doctrines of “grace” which denies scripture and what God’s Word says about confession and forgiveness in the life of a believer, and (ii) the false intellectualization which has denied the power of confession and forgiveness to bring needed healing and wholeness in a believer’s life.
We have lost the art of ministering in those areas, but God seems to be slowly teaching His people once again how to come beside hurting people and bring healing His way – by confession, forgiveness and the resulting fruit of repentance.
Traditionally Lutherans have said that individual confession and forgiveness should be retained “for the sake of the absolution,” that is, a word outside of us that pronounces/announces the forgiveness of sins. The emphasis is not on the enumeration of sins, but rather on the grace of hearing forgiveness proclaimed, then trusting that what is proclaimed is true. The Lutheran confessional documents retain confession in this manner.It is not surprising, then, at least from an historical perspective, that Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Lutheran theologian would include a chapter on confession in his book Life Together. In this book, Bonhoeffer sets out to describe in some detail the structure and commitments of the community that he and his seminarians established at the Brothers’ House in Finkenwalde—Christian community as a reality created by God in Christ, existing as a dialectic between a Christian’s need for togetherness and “alone time,” shaped by prayer, service, and the practice of confession and the Lord’s Supper. The practice of confession was foundational for community in his context, and may also be foundational in our own.A commitment to some form of confession like Bonhoeffer’s can be grounded in at least a few biblical sources. Bonhoeffer provides one: “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16).
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