“Name a place where there are a lot of sinners” was one of the questions presented on Family Feud the other night. Can you think of a few places?
One of the more obvious answers was Hell, but guess what the number one answer was – church!
And you know what? They’re right. Not because church is filled with hypocrites as so many think, but because we’re all sinners.* We’re either sinners saved by grace or sinners in need of grace. So, then, churches arefilled with sinners.
Anything that breaks God’s laws.
We’ve been discussing an acrostic for prayer to help us include in our prayers the elements Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer. (See P and R in my last two blogs.)
This week’s letter is A – for Acknowledge Sins. This represents the “Forgive us our debts…” piece. But we must first acknowledge sin before we can confess it. We can’t fix something we don’t admit.
People don’t like to talk about sin these days, and many are being called hateful for doing so. But Jesus was never afraid to tell it like it is. Too much was at stake, and He loved us too much not to tell the bold, hard truths about our sin and eternity.
Whenever we recite the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught, we’re asking forgiveness for sins – AND – we’re saying we’ll forgive others’ sins against us.
So many people recite the Lord’s Prayer, but how can we not talk about sin and pray this prayer? Are they rote words, or prayed from the heart?
Held any grudges lately?
Broken any of the Ten Commandments?
(I volunteer to go to the front of the line.)
Maybe Jesus didn’t teach it to be a recited prayer, but to teach the important elements of prayer we should include when we pray. Asking forgiveness for sin is one of them.
So, in order to ask forgiveness we must first acknowledgethat something is sinful, admitwe’ve done wrong, and then adjust our lives = repent.
This is difficult for many people because of our pride. We don’t like admitting we’ve messed up. But it’s not only crucial, it’s advantageous.
To help us grasp this concept, I’ve made a list of ten ways acknowledging sin is beneficial to us.
1. Acknowledging our sinful nature is necessary for salvation.
Acts 2:38 ESV – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.**
2. Acknowledging our sins keeps us obedient to God.
Matthew 6:12a – Forgive us our debts…
Acts 3:19 ESV– Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.
3. Acknowledging our sins restores our relationship with God.
Isaiah 59:2 – Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
Psalm 51:12 NIV– Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
4. Acknowledging our sins restores our relationship with others.
Matthew 6:12b NIV – …as we forgive our debtors
5. Acknowledging sins results in God hearing our prayers, as well as forgiving us.
Psalm 66:18 NLT – If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Matthew 6:16 NIV – But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
6. Acknowledging sins eases our conscience and gives us peace of mind.
Psalm 32:3 NLT – When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Acts 3:19 NIV – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
7. Acknowledging sins establishes Christ’s Lordship over our lives.
Romans 6:17-18 NIV But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
8. Acknowledging sins keeps us humble.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
James 4:6 ESV – But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)
Psalm 51:17 AMP – My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
9. Acknowledging sins helps our witness.
2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV – We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
10. Acknowledging sins enables us to experience God’s Grace
Ephesians 1:7 NIV – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Consider number five above. Could any unconfessed sin or unforgiveness be hindering your prayers?
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 John 1:9 AMP
Consider the following additional verses…
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:8-12 ESV
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 ESV
I look forward to sharing the Y of the prayer acrostic with you next week.
Have a blessed week!
This blog is a sample of a six-week Bible study I have been writing called Pursuing God in P.R.A.Y.E.R. – Six Steps to Prevailing Prayer. I would love to share the first week with you free and keep you posted of publication. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the code FREE1st.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog. I appreciate very much your likes, comments and shares here and on social media.
*all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 ESV
** Have you ever asked Jesus to forgive your sins and for His Holy Spirit to come into your heart? Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV.) You can know you have forgiveness and salvation by praying a simple prayer from your heart, such as, “Heavenly Father, I realize I am a sinner. I believe You sent Your Son Jesus to take the punishment for my sins. Please forgive me and give me your Holy Spirit to live in me and help me. Thank you for this new life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
If you don’t already, it is important to find a good Bible-believing church and a good study Bible and read and pray every day so you can grow as a Believer. It’s also important to continue to confess sins to God to keep a healthy ongoing relationship with your Heavenly Father as stated in number three above.
If you prayed that prayer, I would love to hear about it, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have at email@example.com