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The Bible instructs us to “confess” our sins (1Jn.1:9). While many think that means to say “I’m sorry” to God, the word actually precludes most forms of modern apologies. The word confess in the Greek New Testament is a compound word which is made up of the words “the same” and “to speak”. The idea is that when we confess our sins, we are saying the same thing about our sins that God says. God, of course, sees our sins as detestable (2Kgs.21:11), appalling (Jer.2:12-13), shameful (Job 31:11), grievous (Eph.4:30), wicked (Gen.39:9), offensive (Pr.17:9), and even nauseating (Rev.3:16). Popular sentiments like “I’m sorry if I offended you” or “I’m sorry you were hurt by my actions” is a long way from calling our own actions detestable or appalling. True biblical repentance always includes seeing our sins for what they are and agreeing with God about the sinfulness of sin. That is why passages that depict biblical repentance include phrases like “this godly sorrow has produced in you… indignation, alarm and readiness to see justice done” (2Cor.7:11). So let us be careful that we don’t mistake a half-hearted “I’m sorry” for biblical “confession” of our sins.


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