To whom ought confession of sin to be made?
I enter on this branch of the subject with sorrowful feelings. I approach it as a sailor would approach some rock on which many gallant ships have made shipwreck. I cannot forget that I have arrived at a point on which millions of so-called Christians have erred greatly, and millions are erring at the present day. But I dare not keep back anything that is Scriptural, for fear of giving offence. The errors of millions must not prevent a minister of the Gospel speaking the truth. If multitudes are hewing out broken cisterns that can hold no water, it becomes the more needful to point out the true fountain. If countless souls are turning aside from the right way, it becomes the more important to show clearly to whom confession ought to be made.
Sin, to speak generally, ought to be confessed to God. He it is whom we have chiefly offended. His are the laws which we have broken. To him all men and women will one day give account. His displeasure is that which sinners have principally to fear. This is what David felt: “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight” (Psalm 51:4). This is what David practiced: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord” (Psalm 32:5). This is what Joshua advised Achan to do: “My son, give glory to God, and make confession to Him” (Joshua 7:19). The Jews were right when they said, “Who can forgive sins but God only? ” (Mark 2:7).
But must we leave the matter here? Can vile sinners like us ever dare to confess our sins to a holy God? Will not the thought of his infinite purity shut our mouths and make us afraid? Must not the remembrance of His holiness make us afraid? Is it not written of God, that He is ” of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity?” (Hab 1:13). Is it not said, that He “hates all workers of iniquity?” (Psalm 5:5). Did He not say to Moses, “There shalt no man see My face and live?” (Exodus 33:20). Did not Israel say of old, “Let not God speak with us, lest we die?” (Exodus 20:19). Did not Daniel say, ” How can the servant of this my Lord talk with this my Lord?” (Dan. 10:17). Did not Job say, “When I consider, I am afraid of Him?” (Job 23:15). Did not Isaiah say, “Woe is me, for I am undone; . . . for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts?” (Isaiah 6:5). Does not Elihu say, “Shall it be told Him that I speak? If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up” (Job 37:20).
Ryle goes on to say
My last word of application shall be an exhortation. I address it to all who have been taught by the Holy Ghost to confess their sins, and know the subject of this tract by inward experience. I exhort them TO KEEP UP THE HABIT OF CONFESSION to the last day of their lives. My believing brethren, we shall never cease to be sinners as long as we are in the body. Every day we shall find something to deplore in our thoughts, or motives, or words, or deeds. Every day we shall find that we need the blood of sprinkling, and the intercession of Christ. Then let us keep up daily transactions with the throne of grace. Let us daily confess our infirmities at the feet of our merciful and faithful High Priest, and seek fresh absolution. Let us daily cast ourselves under the shadow of His wings, and cry, “Surely in me dwelleth no good thing: Thou art my hiding-place, O Lamb of God!”
May every year find us more humble and yet more hopeful,-more sensible of our own unworthiness, and yet more ready to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh! May our prayers become every year more fervent, and our confessions of sin more real;-our eye more single, and our walk with God more close;-our knowledge of Jesus more clear, and our love to Jesus more deep;-our citizenship in heaven more manifest, and our separation from the world more distinct!
So living, we shall cross the waves of this troublesome world with comfort, and have an abundant en trance into God’s kingdom. So living, we shall find that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Yet a few more years and our prayers and confessions shall cease for ever. We shall begin an endless life of praise. We shall exchange our daily confessions for eternal thanksgiving. J. C. Ryle DO YOU CONFESS? (1816-1900)
On a side note I would encourage any of you who are not a believer in Jesus Christ or who believe in confessing their sins to earthy priests in a confessional box and not the great High Priest Jesus Christ to read the entire sermon by J C Ryle just click on the link DO YOU CONFESS?
Tomorrow secret sins