If you asked what was the second most widely read Christian book after the Bible, most would not guess the correct response of “Confessions” by Saint Augustine. The book is an autobiographical, open, and vivid confession of a young man with a promiscuous lifestyle with a concubine, pursuing false religions, finally resulting in the conversion diligently prayed for by a mother. Saint Augustine was saved, baptized and used his classical training and great intellectual gifts to become a great Christian apologist and bishop in the Church. His life and written work illustrate the power and potency of confession. The scriptures declare that confession is good for the soul. That is in contrast with worldly emphasis on ego, self-esteem and rejection of any semblance of guilt. In fact since confession is not a friend of pride and ego, it is no wonder that the world’s culture conflicts with God’s way, and confession is no longer a common practice. Both the Old and New Biblical Testaments speak to the practice of confession to both God and man as integral to understanding salvation and discipleship.
I. The Agency of the Holy Spirit. What you do not confess, you fail to address; failure to practice confession is the evidence of the practice of self-deception. The Holy Spirit not only convicts our spirits of sin, but is there to assist our confession and return to close fellowship with God and fellow believers.
II. Absolution of the Apostles. After His resurrection, Christ met with the Apostles, delegating to them the power He had to pardon or not pardon sins. This extraordinary power was granted after He breathed the Holy Spirit upon them, so they could discern how to best pray for and counsel those confessing sin.
III. Absenteeism of Thomas. Since Thomas was absent from Christ’s initial appearance to the apostles, he missed out, struggling to believe and understand what the others were telling him. He didn’t accept Christ’s promised return from the dead until seeing Jesus himself, delaying his assumption of authority with his fellow apostles.