How is Confession Relevant to Repentance?
With his unusual meeting of Zacchaeus Christ continues his teaching of one of his central themes, repentance. This teaching session is different from the others and its not because of the settings but it introduces a new element. We examined confession before as it relates to repentance. However, this new component (restitution) that Christ introduced into this lesson is fundamental to the entire repentance message. This lesson is found in Luke 19: 1-10.
Marvelous things happen when one comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ. When Zacchaeus had an encounter with Jesus Christ he repented and made confession of his sins. He said: “…unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold,” Luke 19:8. Why should Zacchaeus say this, Jesus never said anything about how he got his wealth?
This is a must. One cannot come to God and not make confession for his sins to Jesus Christ like Zacchaeus did. Zacchaeus confessed the sins he had knowledge of as well as those he knew nothing about. It’s for this reason he said “if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation,” Luke 19:8. The operative word being “if”. Let us follow his example and pray like that. Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ?
Another marvelous thing which happens when one comes in contact with Jesus Christ is a deep genuine desire to make restitution for all past sins. Zacchaeus was at that place for he said, to Jesus, he would “restore” four times as much to any one he may have taken anything from under false pretense, Luke 19:8.
Have you made restitution to persons you have wronged? Sometimes a simple apology (I’m sorry) is good enough. This recourse maybe especially appropriate if you used harsh and unkind words to hurt others. But if by your behaviour, your words and your actions, you inflict harm, loss and or hurt , words alone are not enough. You may need to physically restore – if it is possible – what you deprived, damaged, hurt or destroyed someone of. Did you apologize for those hurtful words you speak today? Did you replace that piece of furniture you break in a fit of rage? Make restitution, today, to the people affected. John calls this bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance. Fruts or actions appropriate of repentance, are conducts which will demonstrate you are truly sorry for your past actions and have turned from them to God.
Does Confession Demonstrate Repentance?
The other marvelous thing which happens when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord of our life is salvation. Zacchaeus by his repentance, confession and his intention to restore demonstrated he had repented from his sins and received salvation. This is a perfect place to be in to receive Salvation from Jesus Christ because he will not deny you. Without salvation we are all lost.
“9And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” Luke 19:9,10.
Finally, salvation did not “come to” Zacchaeus only because Jesus passed by but he got it because of his attitude to God’s Words. According to Luke 19:6 Zacchaeus “made haste, and came down, and received him (Jesus Christ) joyfully.” By receiving the preaching of God’s Word you are receiving Christ for Christ is the Word and the Word is Christ, John 1:1-3. Zaccheus’ attitude to Christ at their initial meeting determines what happened after. Seeing he accepted Jesus with joy, means he accepted his words with joy too.
In others words, the “Seed” which is the Word of God fell on “good ground,” and because of this he was able to repent, to make confession, to make restoration and received salvation.
Salvation went to Zacchaeus’ house because he repented of his sins when he met Jesus Christ.
Do you recall how the Bereans received the Word of God taught by the Apostle Paul as compared to the Thessalonicans, Acts 17:11?
“11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
If our attitude to receiving the Word of God is anything other than “joyful” then our heart is anything but “good ground.” If it is not good ground we have lost the Word to the Enemy and are unfruitful. When we should have beenrepentant and have our sins forgiven they remain.