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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why do you Repent and go to Confession?

Today I have an interesting (and little known to me) view of Christ's finished work and what some say is no need for repentance. I don't know if this view of never having to repent is widespread or not, but I am guessing it's a new theology among some proclaimed Christians today. I'd love to hear from my readers what they think and if they've come across this non repenting view before. Is this typical of nondenominational churches? Here's the question and my response:
Cassie writes: I belong to a Holy Spirit filled Evangelical Nondenominational Church and I totally do not understand the Catholic "Confession" doctrine. Why do you confess to a priest or anyone? There is nothing for anyone to repent of since Christ died and took all our sins to the cross. He died once and for all people taking the sins of us all Himself. We don't carry any sins now. There wasn't one sin that was left out. His work was was finished says Jesus Christ in scripture. Do you not believe that? Do you think you need to repent of things He already forgave you for...sins He already paid for? It's over and done. We (believers) are automatically forgiven all our sins just by believing in Christ. You don't have to confess or repent, Christ did it all for you.

My response: Wow... well that's a new theology to me! Thanks for sharing your views. Let me ask you something. If your spouse lies to you on Monday and you forgive him, then he repeats it on Friday is he "automatically" forgiven or do you wish him to confess the lie to you and ask to be forgiven for hurting you again? Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross to bring salvation. He is our Savior because of His sacrifice for us. Jesus never said people are now "automatically" forgiven. The "it is finished" is referring to Christ has completed all that was told of Him.
Luke 24:44 "He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
The bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament preaches repentance. Repentance is not just saying we are sorry, but also the action of being willing to change and not commit the offense again. This is often difficult and even those who try very hard to stay away from sin still fall into it. Each time we are called to repent and ask God forgiveness for sinning against Him. When we sin, we are hurting God. I can't imagine any Christian not wanting to say they are sorry to God for hurting Him. If you hurt a dear friend because you've said or done something against them, don't you feel guilt and sorrow that you've caused this dear one pain? Shouldn't it be more so when you hurt and bring sorrow to God for your actions or words? Christians must repent of every sin against God and each other!
Acts 17:30 "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent."
Now about Confession in the Catholic Church. Confession or Penance as it's called is completely scriptural. It comes from Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Jesus gifted His priests with the power and authority to forgive sins or retain them.
John 20:22-23 "And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
This was done ONLY to Christ's priests. This was not done with all believers, but specifically to the priests in the Catholic Church Jesus Christ had just founded on earth and placed Simon Peter the first pope of; Matt.16:18-19 "And I tell you that you are Peter [Rock], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Here is some of what the Catholic Catechism has to say on Penance (Confession):
#1455 "The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible."
I think that says it perfectly. I hope I have helped you understand this sacrament in the Catholic Church. God bless.

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