Confession—uncovering sin to destroy it

Does confession still have a role in Christian Science? Issues of interest to both Christian Scientists and new readers.

The confession of sins is an important part of worship in the Old Testament. Moses the lawgiver tells his followers, for example, "When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass. ..." Num. 5:6, 7 . The laws given to Moses by God, the cornerstone of which were the Ten Commandments, permitted no deviation. These laws established the obligations that the children of Israel owed to their God and to their fellowman. When these rules were obeyed, they brought joy, peace, prosperity, and health both to individuals and to the nation as a whole. When they were disobeyed, individual and national suffering was the result until the sin was recognized as sin and stopped. Centuries later the wisdom of Proverbs assured the Israelites, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Prov. 28:13 .

With the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, mankind's need for uncovering sin and forsaking it did not diminish. Christ Jesus was the Exemplar of man's true immortal and sinless nature. His teachings and example demonstrated more clearly than ever before that sin is a mortal error and not a power. But Jesus' work never relieved his followers of their own individual responsibility to recognize sin as error and turn from it. As the Gospel of Mark points out, Jesus' disciples "preached that men should repent." Mark 6:12 . After the ascension the importance of confession continued to be emphasized. One of the last books of the Bible to be written says: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:8, 9 .

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