What is confession? – Part 2

July 5, 2017

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.  

Welcome back my beloved to the second part of our series about Repentance and Confession and why the are so crucial in the life of the Christian believer. In our previous video we took the time to understand the Orthodox understanding of Repentance and how it brings about a change of direction or orientation in the life of the believer. And now we tackle the subject of confession and will attempt to dig deeper to understand why the Lord has given to his Church this mystery as one of the means to salvation.   

Let us first begin with the word confession – otherwise known in Greek as Homologeia. Now this word Homologeia is comprised of two words – Homo meaning the “same” and logeia meaning “word” or “account”. What this translates into is that confession is rooted in this deep understanding that we ought to have the same words, thoughts, and convictions as Christ! What he has declared we declare, what he has preached we preach. And it is this then leads us to further understand, that my confession, my declaration of the truth – that same word – can take on one of tow types of confession. A confession of faith, and a confession of sin.  

 We have said that confession has two types: confession of faith, and a confession of sin. The first is an affirmative stance on declaring – in the same words – the faith of the church. And this is clearly identified in the liturgical life of the church. For instance, our creed is a great example of the confession of our faith! “Truly we believe in one God”! We use the same words – setup by the church – to declare our beliefs. Again we see this in the at the end of the liturgy where the priest and the deacon before the distribution of the mysteries,  pray what is called “the confession”. The priest says “Amen, Amen, Amen, I believe, I believe, I believe, AND CONFESS to the last breath, that this is the life giving flesh…” And again the deacon replies by saying “Amen, Amen, Amen, I believe, I believe, I believe that this is true Amen!”  

It is these types of affirmative confessions of faith that the lord speaks to his disciples about in Luke chapter 12where he says:  

8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8 NKJV)  

Furthermore, we see in Romans chapter 10 St Paul explaining:  

9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)  

Here therefore, we have two great scriptural references of how an affirmative statement of one’s faith, is very much a confession in that it speaks of God in the SAME WORDS as were handed down to us by Christ.  

Now the second type of confession is that confession of sin. To understand this, let us take a step back and remove ourselves from the role of the sinner who will expose his or her personal sin. In doing so let us ask the question: “do we have the same definition of sins as Christ and His Church”? When we see a person bending the truth for personal gain, do we use the SAME WORD – Homologeia – as Christ – do we call it a lie?! When we see a person taking something that is not his without consent – do we use the SAME WORD – Homologeia – as Christ – do we call that theft? Confession of sin therefore is calling it as it is! Its when I can truly confess my sin –  without excuse, justification or embellishment – and call it what it is! I have lied, I have stolen, I have lusted, I have gossiped, etc.  

We must be careful because the devil tempts all of us to use different words when speaking of our actions, thoughts and lives. Rather than calling sins what they truly are, he temps us to use different words. He masks lust and calls it love. He disguises greed and calls it ambition. He covers pride and arrogance and calls it assertiveness. However we as Christians must be bold enough to proclaim the truth, and call out sin for what it truly is.  

Confession therefore, as we seen and explained it, is the revelation of what dwells in a persons heart in matters of both faith and sin. And the benchmark we use, as Orthodox Christians to pronounce both our faith and our sins, are the Homologeia – the SAME WORDS as the Church.  

All this can be summed up beautifully by quoting the 5th litany of the 9th hour prayer of the Coptic Orthodox Church:  

“O You who accepted unto Him the confession of the thief on the cross, accept us unto you, O Good One, we who deserve the sentence of death because of our sins. We all confess our sins with him, acknowledging Your divinity, and cry out with him, saying, “Remember us, O Lord, when you come into Your Kingdom.” 

Now that we know in these past 2 videos have discussed what Repentance and Confession are in the eyes of the Orthodox Church, we will conclude our series in the next video by speaking to why confess to a priest, and how we ought to confess. The Lord guide you and keep you always my beloved.  

Until next time, remember to Know your faith, live your faith, and Teach your faith.  

To God be the Glory, now and forever Amen.   

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