Only when we connect confession with repentance do we complete the process.
You see, confession is making our sins known—to God, to spouses, to trusted friends. Repentance, though—repentance involves turning from those sins; turning our backs on our old selves, on the people who committed those sins—so we can change. Repentance is saying, we don’t want to be those people anymore. Repentance is turning toward God, and His way. It’s a declaration of a renewed willingness to continue becoming more and more like Jesus.
Confession is critical, but it’s only the first step. Repentance is the ultimate step.
Now, ironically, while confession requires lots of courage, repentance just requires a soft, willing heart. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus taught us that it’s not sin itself that imperils us, but rather a hard, stubborn heart—an unwillingness to turn, an unwillingness to repent. The younger son in the story lived a life with ostensibly more and greater sin—if there is such a thing. The older brother simply harbored resentment and jealousy. The younger repented of his sins, though—and the older did not.
The father welcomed his youngest son and celebrated his return, despite his sin. He said “This brother of yours was once dead and gone, but now he is alive and back with us again. He was lost but now he is found!” That is from Luke chapter fifteen. And the father tried to do the same with his older son. He pleaded with him to join in celebration also. He pleaded with him to soften his heart. But the older brother would not. Without repentance, we continue in our sin. Without repentance, we continue on our own path . . . toward death. Jesus says, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” That’s from Luke chapter thirteen.
So, let’s do some repentance right now. . . .