Have you ever considered confession as a grace of God? Most Christians haven’t considered confession in this way and probably move away from confession all together as confession means owning and acknowledging sin. However, haven’t you (read all of us) experienced a time or two (or many more!) where a real burden was removed as you confessed a particular sin? Yep! Me too! In that way, confession is a grace.
In preparation for a premarital counseling session I’m leading tonight I’m reviewing Paul David Tripp’s book What Did You Expect?? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. Tripp has an uncanny ability to assess a situation and point out gospel truths that are either being neglected or misunderstood. His book is broken down into six commitments.
- We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.
- We will make growth and change our daily agenda.
- We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.
- We will commit to building a relationship of love.
- We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.
- We will work to protect our marriage.
Regarding Commitment One (confession/forgiveness) Tripp discusses that confession is actually a grace that many couples fail to take advantage of. He states…
- It is a grace to know right from wrong. You only know the temperature in your house is too hot because you have a measuring instrument in your house. The Bible is God’s ultimate measuring instrument.
- It is a grace to understand the concept of indwelling sin. The Bible calls us to humbly confess that the greatest, deepest, most abiding problem each of us faces is inside, not outside, of us.
- It is a grace to have a properly functioning conscience. It is a sign of God’s grace when we our consciences are sensitive and our hearts are grieved, not at what the other person is doing, but at what we have become.
- It is only grace that protects us from self-righteousness. When a husband and wife quit arguing about who is the more righteous and begin to be grieved over their respective sin, you can know for sure that grace has visited their marriage.
- It is a grace to see ourselves with accuracy. Many married people are like the Pharisee in the temple who thanked God that he was not like the other sinners around him. They need the grace of an accurate self-assessment.
- It is a grace to be willing to listen and consider criticism and rebuke. Only when our confidence is in the Lord, that is, in his constant help and forgiveness, are we able to step out into the light, unafraid of what we may be asked to face.
- It is a grace not to be paralyzed by regret. As we face regret, we bask in forgiveness and then turn to live in a new way, embracing the power that is ours as children of God.
- It is a grace to know that we can face our wrongs because Christ has carried our guilt and shame. Because Christ has made real, lasting, personal, and relational change possible we can stare problems in the face with hope and courage.