Monthly Archives: August 2013

Confession is Good for the Soul

There is an old Scottish proverb which says “Open confession is good for the soul.” For many, this saying probably means that confession acts as a catharsis, a simple clearing of the conscience. While confession undoubtedly acts in this way on a man psychologically, this old saying surely has it’s origins in the teaching of God’s word, for many times the exhortation is given in the scriptures to confess. While confession is psychologically important, it is even more soteriologically important.

Always, in God’s word, confession precedes forgiveness. Until man acknowledges his sin, God will not forgive. Under the Mosaic economy, the High Priest was to lay his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and to confess “over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel” (Lev. 16:21). Even though a trespass offering was to be made (Lev. 5:6), confession was necessary for the sin to be forgiven (Lev. 5:5-10).

When God foretold that the children of Israel would sin and be taken captive into the land of their enemies, one of the conditions of their return was that they were to confess, confess not only their own iniquities, but the iniquities of their fathers (Lev. 26:33-44). Furthermore, they were to confess that they had walked contrary to God’s will (v. 40). One very essential element to all of this was that their hearts be sincerely humbled before God (v. 41).

All throughout the Old Testament, confession was declared a necessity. Solomon, in dedicating the Temple, underscored the importance of confession in the forgiveness of sins (I Kings 8:31-36). David said “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Achan was urged by Joshua to give glory to the God of Israel and to “make confession” ( Josh. 7:19). There are other examples but it is clear even in the Old Testament that “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” ( Proverbs 28:13).

Furthermore, under the New Testament, confession is absolutely necessary to fellowship with God. Jesus said, whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven (Matt. 10:31,32). Paul stated by inspiration that with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9,10). While not the only requirement for salvation, it is absolutely essential. Whether or not we confess His name in this life, we will most assuredly confess it at judgement for the scriptures declare that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).

Then, as children of God, when we fall and do that which is contrary to God’s commands, we must also confess those sins we have committed. James said, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). John stated “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). It is only when we are able to admit and confess our faults, and repent of them, that we will be forgiven.

Confession is good for the soul in more ways than one.

Eric L. Padgett

He Knows

We often speak about the omniscience of God, that God knows everything. But just what does that mean? The Bible has some very interesting things to say about the subject.

First, God’s has perfect knowledge. “Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16). This word “perfect” means entire, complete, full, and whole (trs. “without blemish” Ex. 12:5; see also Lev. 23:15, 25:30, Josh. 10:30). Thus, God’s knowledge is flawless. He is never mistaken about anything.

Second, God’s knowledge is infinite. “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). This word for “infinite” literally means without number. God does not just know everything there is to know, God’s knowledge does not end. We are inclined to think in terms of things which have bounds, things which have an end. Our lives only last so long, we only grow so big, we can only see so far, we can only eat so much, our houses are only so big. Even the galaxy has its limits but God’s knowledge has no bounds. God is not bound by only what is knowable for that would mean God would be subordinate to an external condition but it is God who sets conditions! God’s knowledge is infinite, not bound by any limitations.

Third, God’s knowledge is timeless. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Is. 46:10). God is the creator of time. You and I live within a time-space continuum which was created by God. There was a beginning of time (Gen. 1:1). But God existed before the beginning of time, being from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2). You and I can only see the present moment, the past being lost to our vision (contained only vaguely in memory) and the future unseeable by us. But God looks down on this creation and sees the past, the present and the furture with equal infinite and unblemished clarity. So when God sees your tomorrow it is to Him the same as seeing your past. God has already seen the end of the world and where you will spend your eternity. Be mindful, He has not ordained it, but He has seen it.

Fourth, God’s knowledge is unsearchable. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33). While we may understand the things which He has purposely revealed to us through His inspired Word (I Cor. 2), God’s knowledge is not subject to examination. No finite mind, such as ours is, can ever hope to plumb the depths of the knowledge and wisdom of the Infinite Mind. No analogy can ever do justice to describing the distance between our mind and God’s (Is. 55:8,9).

Fifth, God’s knowledge is penetrating. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). We can keep no secrets from God. We cannot hide from God as Adam and Eve tried to hide in the garden (Gen. 3:8) or as those who felt His wrath in the destruction of Jerusalem tried to hide in the rocks (Luke 22:30; Rev. 6:16). He knows us in detail, the very hairs of our head being numbered (Matt. 10:29,30). He knows our heart, the unfiltered us (Acts 1:24). The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

To put it succinctly, God simply knows everything (I John 3:20). Some have argued that the exercise of God’s omniscience can be compared to the exercise of His omnipotence. They say, just as God has all power but does not always exercise that power, so God has all knowledge but does not always exercise that knowledge. I can see how one could have power without exercising it, but I cannot bring my mind to grasp how one can have knowledge without knowing it. It seems to me that apples are being compared to oranges here. Now, you may have knowledge and not speak it or reveal it, but you simply cannot have knowledge without knowing it (unless you have amnesia, I suppose). Of those who so affirm I would request one kindness: please, tell me (substantively) one thing you don’t know. Since God knows all things (and He doesn’t have amnesia), He knows He knows what He knows He knows. And that’s everything.

Eric L. Padgett

Yes, Sweet Joy!


Though we can try to explain to the best of our limited, human ability the suffering through which Christ went at the cross, I suspect we can never fully comprehend what it was like for our Saviour. This much we know: it was enough to prompt the Lord to cry out in that haunting, solitary gasp, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me” (Matt. 27:46). What pain, what loneliness, what emptiness the Lord must have experienced!

Yet, for all this, the Bible declares that He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2). Yes, sweet joy! Even in the face of a lonely, painful, shameful death the Lord proclaims “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). If only we could truly master our fears and simply know that His “anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11). Therefore, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). Like Paul and Silas, though we be cast into the deepest, darkest dungeon, yet we can sing praises to God (Acts 16:23-25). Even though we are hauled before a council and beaten and threatened, we can rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:40,41). We know that what we sow in tears, we reap in joy (Ps. 126:5).

The adversary of all that is holy and good will not leave the righteous untouched, at least not for long (I Pet. 5:8). It is when we endure these darts and arrows of outrageous fortune that our ability to rejoice in hope must be strongest (Matt. 5:11,12; Rom. 12:12). We obeyed the Lord rejoicing, sharing in the joys of heaven (Luke 15:9,10). We live each day of our life rejoicing that we have received the atonement (Rom. 5:11). We look forward each day to entering into the joy of our Lord (Matt. 25:21,23). And even though we partake of Christ’s sufferings, we should rejoice. Because when His glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Peter 4:13 ).

Eric L. Padgett