If you feel distant from God, or others. If you’re burdened with guilt. If you’re struggling with shame. If your soul is in any way dry – these studies are for you. By following the unpacking of 1 John 1:9 in the book, Spiritual Detox, over the next four sessions we’ll be recovering the neglected practice of confessing our sin to glorify God and increase our enjoyment of his great forgiveness.
The overarching verse for this series is 1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)
We are focussing in this session from the words IF and WE from this verse. This is explored in chapters one and two in the book, Spiritual Detox.
IF – this is both and choice and a promise. In terms of choice; we ultimately can decide if we want to confess our sins or not and from that we decide if we want the outcome of forgiveness. Owning our sin can be tough and painful (for us and others around us) but it is worth it! When we are forgiven we can live in freedom and experience joy rather than guilt or shame.
In terms of a promise we have assurance of forgiveness from God. God cannot, NOT forgive us because of the blood of Jesus on the cross.
WE – this is an inclusive and a humble word. We all fall short of the glory of God and we all need forgiveness.
Guilt is real, and it’s a real joy killer, along with its best friend shame. No other world view or belief system satisfactorily addresses the problems of guilt and shame. Only Jesus can help us. And one of the most powerful ways he offers help is through confession.
2 Samuel 11 and Psalm 32:1-5
What do guilt and shame feel like, according to David, and you?
What does David say forgiveness feels like? What’s your experience of God’s forgiveness?
1 John 1:1-10; 5:21
What is the relationship between walking in the light and keeping yourself from idols? What can it teach us about confession?
Sometimes it can be hard to confess. On those days Scriptural confessions can especially help us because the Bible isn’t just words on a page. It’s living and active (Heb 4:12). A valuable exercise is to read Psalm 51 slowly as a group, and then individually work through these questions, journaling your answers, and turning them into your own prayer of confession based on the Psalm.
Take time to do that as a group now – and may it draw you all closer to God.