Hank Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast continues his Bible study series through Matthew 3, focusing on the believer’s confession of sin. The sacrament (“Mystery”) of confession of sin, however, has fallen on hard times within the broader Christian church. It is seen in some circles as tantamount to “cheapening God’s unmerited favor” or, worse, “mocking God.” Private interpretations in this regard are stunning. Some deem confession to be a “Gnostic” heresy; others demean it as “counterproductive to a healthy Christian life.” This in face of the apostle John’s urging of his “dear children” in the faith — those who have been forgiven on account of Christ — to continually confess their sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9–10). And the apostle James exhorts believers to confess their sins to one another and to God: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Hank exhorts disciples to pray Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me O God according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” The psalm reminds us that God does not desire sacrifice because if He did we could bring it. Rather the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a broken or contrite heart, “O God, Thou wilt not despise.”
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