In the New Testament, only two verses directly mention that we should confess our sins. James says that you must confess your sins to one another and then pray.
The other verse is found in 1 John 1:9 which tells us to confess our sins to God.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
It almost seems like the 5th chapter of James serves as a review of the first 4 chapters. Especially starting with verse 7, which says;
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. James 5:7
If we look back at chapter 1, James brought up the need for patience when dealing with testing and temptation.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
In Chapter 5, James told us how to have enduring patience. He used the example of farmers.
Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. James 5:7
Testing and Temptation
Earlier in the book when James spoke of a time of testing, this is what he was talking about. After the farmer plants the seeds what else can he do but wait patiently?
You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:8
The next verse points to a time of temptation. It comes when that certain person rubs you the wrong way. Then the temptation to offer your judgmental opinion stares right at you.
Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9
Then if we go back to chapter 1, James had already told us how we can keep from grumbling about one another.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19
Then he spent some time talking about how we should exhibit our faith. Then he talked about how the tongue is a flame of fire and needs to be controlled.
For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2
The Power of Prayer
This points us to the latter section of chapter 5 which deals with the words we speak with our tongues. In my Bible, this section is called “The power of prayer.”
It begins by saying if you are suffering hardships then pray. If you are happy then sing praises. But if you are sick and need healing, a little more is involved.
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14
Before we move on, I have to say, I believe that God heals. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus took His stripes for our healing. I can also tell you that no formula exists for healing.
I have prayed for people to be healed and they were. But I’ve prayed for others and nothing at all happened. In both instances, I felt I had faith and followed God’s Word.
What I do understand is this. We must put our faith in God by following His directive and believe for a healing. James followed that verse up with a promise.
Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. James 5:15
Confess Your Sins by Offering a Prayer of Faith
I know we haven’t gotten to, “confess your sins to one another” yet. But it’s coming. But first, let’s look at the phrase “offered in faith.”
Please understand, I’m not one to say if you have faith you get it. And if you don’t have faith you don’t get it. Our faith must go much deeper than that.
I believe faith is the foundation of everything we do in Christianity. Which means we must go back to chapter 2 where James talked about faith.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:18
In essence, faith is a lifestyle. It’s not just a sentence in a prayer. It’s not an event where you say “chalk one up for me.” Living a life of faith includes all of your actions and words.
What Confess Your Sins to Each Other Means
What did James mean when he said, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other? It had nothing to do with your forgiveness. That comes when you confess your sins to God.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.1 John 1:9
Our verse for today has everything to do with accountability. How does that work? Find someone that you can trust and make sure they can trust you.
Together you can each confess your shortcomings and your sins. The verse goes on to say, pray for one another, and then don’t be surprised by what happens.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
Lord, thank you that when we confess our sins to you, you faithfully forgive us our sins. Help us find a person who we can confess our sins to for accountability and for earnest prayer.
Check out these related posts about sin.
- What’s The Best Way To Seek Forgiveness Of Sin?
- When Someone Unintentionally Sins, What Happens?
- How Does My Sin Affect Other People?
- It’s Important To Know How Sinful We Are
- Will God Forgive Me If I Keep Sinning
- How To Be Free From The Slavery Of Sin
- Punishment from God Because of Sin
- The Consequence of Sin
- Is All Sin The Same?
To receive each new devotional post delivered to your inbox, subscribe below by giving us your first name and email address.