Confession, Repentance and Perseverance in Faith!
Friday May 13, 2022
Scripture James 5: 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Life Lesson: Just as genuine repentance is essential to our healing, whether it be spiritual, mental/psychological, physical, or spiritual, so too is perseverance in faith essential to a powerful and effective prayer life.
– The issue of confession and repentance is not about blaming the afflicted, it is instead the counsel of God that releases the sinner to salvation and healing. Why is it that confession and repentance have become so objectionable to our modern sensibilities? Some false prophets even dare to preach against the necessity of repentance claiming it is irrelevant in our “age of grace”.
– Sin is still sin regardless of the fact that we now live this side of the Incarnation and Atonement of Christ! The wages of sin is still death according to New Testament teaching. The ravages of sin take many forms in this world and yes the same God who can forgive all our sins, is able to also heal all of our diseases, Psalm 103:3. Confession and repentance can be a means by which the afflicted acknowledges their sin before God, defeats the leverage the enemy has over their life, and invites the healing power of Christ to set them free!
– The counsel in our above text is to not only confess our sins to each other but to also invite others to pray over us. We are then told, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This begs the question, who then is a righteous person? Is such a person superhuman? No! We are then pointed to Elijah. Well Elijah seems pretty superhuman to all of us, doesn’t he? But then we are reminded, 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are.” Elijah was human just like us, but Elijah was righteous in God’s sight. Why? Elijah lived by faith and that faith was clearly demonstrated daily by what he did. Elijah demonstrated the tenacity of his faith by his perseverance in prayer, 1 Kings 17:1-16, 19-22, 18:30-38, 18: 41-46, 19:8-19, 21:1-29, 2 Kings 1:3-17, 2:1-11! Elijah heard, listened to, and obeyed the directives of God regardless of the personal cost. That is faith! And righteousness is by faith from first to last, Romans 1:17!
– Again in verse 19 James exhorts us to help those who have wandered from the truth saying, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Whereas the wages of sin is death, helping a sinner turn from sin will save that person from death and deliver them from the condemnation of sin. Just as there was judgement from God against Israel for their sin in the form of drought, so too there can be judgment against the wayward who turn from the truth; however the righteous who live by faith can, like Elijah restore the wayward and bring about showers of blessing once again!