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Old 2nd October 2010, 12:03 AM
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Do You Need to Confess Sins to people, or just to God?

To claim Jesus' forgiveness, all the Bible says you have to do is repent and sin no more.

So does repentance require telling others, especially the victims of your sin, about them, or is that something that can be dealt with just between you and God?

Bible references please!

.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 12:47 AM
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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 man is powerful and effective
it is good to confess your sins
it can be delt with just between you and God, so to speak, but why seak a faith that is the bare minimum? live a heroic life for the Lord in whatever station you are called for
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St. Raphael, Pray for us
O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, and set me on the path of salvation. Amen.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 01:11 AM
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I believe in a confession of faith.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jn 20:21-23
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
Originally Posted by Jas 5:14-16
Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.
He does not confess your sins to any random person but to "the priests [πρεσβυτέρους] of the church". As a general rule, and even more strictly in the early Church, public sins should be confessed publicly (we see that with politicians and other public figures in a non-religious context, apologizing to the public for what they have done). But, even in those situations, it is the priest who absolves the person, as per Jesus' words to the Apostles.

I have a cabinet of Band-Aids, Neosporin, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, NyQuil, and all sorts of other things. But if I cut my hand off with a band saw, a Band-Aid is not going to do it, I need a doctor. Mortal sins are like moral wounds, we have offended God so much that we need someone else to pray for us to restore our relationship with God. Perfect contrition, feeling sorry for our sins purely because we have offended God and not for any selfish reason (including desire for Heaven and fear of Hell), will also get us right with God but it is difficult to have that. It is much simpler and more sure to know we are sorry for our sins and to admit that we need help from those God has ordained to help us -- from those spiritual doctors we call priests.

Originally Posted by Job 42:7a-10a
My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends, because you have not spoken the thing that is right before me, as my servant Job hath. Take unto you therefore seven oxen, and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer for yourselves a holocaust: and my servant Job shall pray for you: his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you: for you have not spoken right things before me, as my servant Job hath. So Eliphaz the Themanite, and Baldad the Suhite, and Sophar the Naamathite went, and did as the Lord had spoken to them, and the Lord accepted the face of Job. The Lord also was turned at the penance of Job, when he prayed for his friends.
The idea that "I don't confess my sins to any man but to God alone" stems from that primeval sin, Pride. Shame and embarrassment should never stop us from turning to God's ministers for help. Emergency room doctors (so I hear) have to deal on a regular basis with people who have tried something bizarre for sexual stimulation and gotten themselves in a real bind. That's obviously an embarrassing problem and, sexual or not, no one wants to call an ambulance because they did something really stupid but it's a lot better than dying. We try to be self-reliant and fix our own problems but sometimes we need to call in the professionals.

At the Judgment, the devil assigned to us (counterpart to our guardian angel) will read out the list of our crimes -- everything we thought nobody knew about, the smallest infraction and our biggest secrets. But, St. Paul tells us, if we judge ourselves, we will not be judged. We must admit to our sins and make peace with God before the devils charge us and God judges us guilty and sentences us to the eternal fire.

Originally Posted by 1Cor 11:31-32
But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:20 AM
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Also, making peace with God also implies making peace with those who have been hurt by your sins. Certainly, you should apologize to those who you have victimized. If you got angry and yelled at or even hit a person, you need to go and apologize to them if you can. If you have spread gossip about a person, tell them and try to make it better. If you robbed someone, you can't just go and confess the sin without also making recompense and paying back what you have stolen. Sometimes it is also necessary to face the legal consequences of your actions if you have broken the civil law.

So yes, you have to deal with the human consequences of your sins and make things right with those who you have hurt. That's part of the whole process.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Servant of Jesus View Post
To claim Jesus' forgiveness, all the Bible says you have to do is repent and sin no more.

So does repentance require telling others, especially the victims of your sin, about them, or is that something that can be dealt with just between you and God?

Bible references please!

.
"Repent" is a change of heart, a change of direction, a switching from my agenda to Jesus' agenda. The word repent doesn't inherently imply confessing to anybody - God or otherwise. While there are are good examples of people confessing in scripture, it is virtually always either to the community, or publically to God in the presence of the community. Not a private thing between you and God (or, for that matter, a private thing between you, God and your pastor).
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Old 2nd October 2010, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PilgrimToChrist View Post
He does not confess your sins to any random person but to "the priests [πρεσβυτέρους] of the church".
No it doesn't - it says to bring in the elders/presbyters for anointing, but the bit about confession says "to one another".

What James has in mind is clearly confession in the context of the assembled community - private confession to a priest is at least as far from what James is saying as private confession to a fellow christian.

If we are honest, all our traditions are way off-track, and have been for about a millennium and a half since public confesssion gave way to private. Right through the OT, the NT, and the early church, confession was a public act involving penitent, whole community, priest and God.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ebia View Post
No it doesn't - it says to bring in the elders/presbyters for anointing, but the bit about confession says "to one another".
But as Pilgrim pointed out, Jesus breathed on the Apostles right before He told them about forgiving and retaining sins. To demonstrate the consistency of Jesus giving His gifts to His apostles, I present the following.

The apostles were given Christ's same authority (Jn 20:21 + Mt 28:18).

They miraculously healed like Jesus (Act 3:7).
They exorcised demons like Jesus (Mk 6:13).
They performed miracles, like raising the dead like Jesus (Act 9:40).

And Jesus forgave sins (Lk 7:48, et al)

Therefore, it is of natural fit to interpret Jn 20:23 that the Apostolic gifts also included forgiving sins, which of course is something only God can do----but does through the minister, just as He did all these other healings, exorcisms, and miracles.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 03:03 AM
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I also think the following Scripture supports confession to a priest.

Acts 19:9-18 ....here's how it goes:

Paul and 12 disciples (on whom he gave the Spirit by laying his hands on them (v. 6)) were preaching in a certain building called the "hall of Tyrannus" (v. 9). That's where they preached for 2 years (v. 10). (incidentally, v. 11-12 is an example of relics in Scripture ) Signs were performed (v. 11-17) that revealed Christ. This became known to "residents of Ephesus" (v. 17). Then it says many of these new believers "now came" to confess their sins (v. 18). Presumably they "came" to the "hall of Tyrannus" were Paul and his ordained disciples were. But what is important is that these new believers didn't just confess their sins where they were, straight to God.

Coupled with the authority Christ gave to the apostles (see previous post), this may well indicate that the sinners came to confess to ordained ministers.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MrPolo View Post
But as Pilgrim pointed out, Jesus breathed on the Apostles right before He told them about forgiving and retaining sins. To demonstrate the consistency of Jesus giving His gifts to His apostles, I present the following.

The apostles were given Christ's same authority (Jn 20:21 + Mt 28:18).

They miraculously healed like Jesus (Act 3:7).
They exorcised demons like Jesus (Mk 6:13).
They performed miracles, like raising the dead like Jesus (Act 9:40).

And Jesus forgave sins (Lk 7:48, et al)

Therefore, it is of natural fit to interpret Jn 20:23 that the Apostolic gifts also included forgiving sins, which of course is something only God can do----but does through the minister, just as He did all these other healings, exorcisms, and miracles.
One might discuss that, including who exactly was gifted with each of those responsibilities and who their successors are, and so forth, but I was simply pointing out that James does not say what she had him say.
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love is stronger than hate,
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