There are differences in perception across the Christian divide on the topics of confession, repentance of our sins and the validity of the judgement day. Those who believe in the need for the confession of our sins for forgiveness tend to believe that there is a judgement day at the end of it all. On the other hand, while there is general consensus that Jesus Christ died for our sins, a section of the Christian community then assumes that in that sense there is therefore no longer any need to seek repentance over those sins. This group would then want to advance the notion that the judgement day has already been nullified since the sins have been forgiven in advance, through the death of Christ.
Sunday word BY PROSPER TINGINI
Let’s first look at confession and repentance and consult our scriptures to figure out what it entails. If we start from the very beginning, we can revisit the teachings of God the Father, then cascade into the teachings of the Son and those of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. In Leviticus 26: 40-43, the Lord our God speaks to the people through Moses: “But if they confess their iniquity (sins) and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery which they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walk contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if the uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their sins; then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.” In essence, God is saying that there is a need to confess and repent of our sins in order to obtain His forgiveness.
Some of those who advance the doctrine of the forgiveness of our sins through the death of Christ would say that the requirement for the forgiveness of our sins was blotted out by the coming of Christ, hence that has fallen away. It would be imperative to again search from the scripture to find out what Christ and the Apostles say on the subject.
Christ teaches us that forgiveness of sin has to have some accompanied action to earn it. In Matthew 7: 14-15, he speaks: “For if you forgive men of their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men of their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Clearly this implies that forgiveness of sins is conditional and not always automatically gained through his death, as some “quarters” would want to make us believe.
In Acts 3:19, Simon Peter addressed a multitude: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Repentance seems to be an important element in the forgiveness of sins. In 1 John 1:8-9, Apostle John writes: “If we say 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 and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession is an acknowledgement of sin. Should the repentance of sin then just be an interaction between you and God or is there a possible need for an intermediary? Some confess their sins direct to the Lord, some do it through the priests or pastors, and others do it publicly in front of congregations. It would seem it varies according to the verses of the scriptures used. Apostle James writes to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion (James 5:16), “Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Jesus Christ encourages a direct approach between the offender and the offended. In Matthew 5: 23-25, he speaks: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be put in prison.” If our sins are a result of acts committed against another, then Jesus Christ advises that before we can ask for forgiveness from the Lord, we should first seek the forgiveness directly from the person whom we have wronged. That would save us from judgement.
The judgement day is reckoned to be the day when the heavenly Father will bring both the dead and living to judge them together, of their deeds, whether of good or evil. Others are of the view that the judgement day comes at death, when the gates of Heaven will either be closed or opened for the spirit depending on the sins committed during the lifetime. There are also some Christian sects that do not subscribe to the view that there is life after death and as such they may dismiss the idea of the judgement day as a fallacy, an illusion. In the scriptures the Pharisees believed there is life after death, yet the Sadducees believed there is no life after death. There is no uniformity on this topic although all the sects believe and pray to the same God.
Jesus Christ spoke about the judgement day. In Mark 13: 32-37, he taught at length on the subject: “Of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the door keeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”
I believe there is life after death. What dies is just the body, but the spirit lives on and I can attest to that from a personal experience. The spiritual world is God’s domain. What really happens to the “life” the spirit after it separates from the body is a mystery that can best be unmasked by God for us. The spirit lives in communion with the Lord. How and when the judgement happens is His prerogative. For now that remains His closely-guarded secret.
Apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.” To the Hebrews he wrote: “For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26-27)
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote to the Christian: “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether (lower) gloom to be kept until the judgement; . . . and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.” (II Peter 2:4-10) Apostle Peter supports the notion that for the dead, the judgement day is deferred to a common day where all will be judgement. In II Peter 3:7, he goes on to write: “By the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.” Amen.
Prosper Tingini is the President of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible Studies or train as Ministers of Religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org