Bible Study Guides – Repentance and Confession

June 17, 2007 – June 23, 2007

Key Text

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 629-635; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 517.


“The Lord has plainly revealed His will concerning the salvation of the sinner. And the attitude which many assume in expressing doubts and unbelief as to whether the Lord will save them is a reflection upon the character of God. Those who complain of His severity are virtually saying: ‘The way of the Lord is not equal.’ But He distinctly throws back the imputation upon the sinner: ‘ “Are not your ways unequal?” Can I pardon your transgressions when you do not repent and turn from your sins?’ The character of God is fully vindicated in the words of Scripture I have placed before you. The Lord will receive the sinner when he repents and forsakes his sins so that God can work with his efforts in seeking perfection of character. The promises are not yea and nay, but if man complies with the conditions, they are, in Christ, ‘yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.’ [11 Corinthians 1:20.] The whole purpose in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man may be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. He proposes to remove from man the offensive thing that He hates, but man must co-operate with God in the work. Sin must be given up, hated, and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith. Thus will the divine co-operate with the human.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 631, 632.

1 What was the mission of Jesus to this world? Luke 5:32; Matthew 9:13.

note: “He [Christ] might have gone to the pleasant homes of the unfallen worlds, to the pure atmosphere where disloyalty and rebellion had never intruded; and there He would have been received with acclamations of praise and love. But it was a fallen world that needed the Redeemer. ‘I came not to call the righteous,’ said He, ‘but sinners to repentance.’ [Matthew 9:13.]” Review and Herald, February 15, 1898.

2 What did Jesus say should be preached among all nations? Luke 24:45–47.

note: “No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 555, 556.

3 What exhortation to repent is given through an ancient prophet? Ezekiel 18:30. How is this exhortation repeated by another prophet of olden times? Jeremiah 3:12–14.

Note: “True repentance is more than sorrow for sin. It is a resolute turning away from evil.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 557.

“There must be a new birth, a new mind through the operation of the Spirit of God, which purifies the life and ennobles the character. This connection with God fits man for the glorious kingdom of Heaven. No human invention can ever find a remedy for the sinning soul. Only by repentance and humiliation, a submission to the divine requirements, can the work of grace be performed. Iniquity is so offensive in the sight of God, whom the sinner has so long insulted and wronged, that a repentance commensurate with the character of the sins committed often produces an agony of spirit hard to bear.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 132, 133.

4 What warning concerning repentance is given by John on Patmos? Revelation 2:5; 3:3.

note: “ ‘Hold fast.’ [Revelation 3:3.] This does not mean, Hold fast to your sins; but, hold fast to the comfort, the faith, the hope, that God has given you in His Word. Never be discouraged. A discouraged man can do nothing. Satan is seeking to discourage you, telling you it is of no use to serve God, that it does not pay, and that it is just as well to have pleasure and enjoyment in this world. But ‘what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul’? [Mark 8:36.] You may have worldly pleasure at the expense of the future world; but can you afford to pay such a price? We are to ‘hold fast’ and live up to all the light we receive from heaven. Why?¾Because God wants us to grasp the eternal truth, and act as His helping hand by communicating the light to those who are not acquainted with His love for them. When you gave yourself to Christ, you made a pledge in the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,¾the three great personal Dignitaries of heaven. ‘Hold fast’ to this pledge. . . .

“The enemy can never take out of the hand of Christ the one who is simply trusting in His promises. If the soul is trusting and working obediently, the mind is susceptible to divine impressions, and the light of God shines in, enlightening the understanding. What privileges we have in Christ Jesus!” Sons and Daughters of God, 351.

5 What message did John the Baptist bear? Matthew 3:1, 2, 7, 8.

note: “We are living in the close of this earth’s history. . . . Prophecy is fulfilling. Soon Christ will come with power and great glory. We have no time to lose. Let the message sound forth in earnest words of warning.

“We must persuade men everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come. They have souls to save or to lose. Let there be no indifference in this matter. The Lord calls for workers who are filled with an earnest, decided purpose. Tell the people to be instant in season and out of season. With the words of life upon your lips go forth to tell men and women that the end of all things is at hand.

“Let us keep our souls in the love of God. The note of warning must be given. The truth must not languish upon our lips. We must rouse people to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us. My [Ellen White] faith is as strong as ever that we are living in the last remnant of time. Let every teacher present an open door before all who will come to Jesus, repenting of their sins.” Evangelism, 217.

6 What message did the apostles give? Mark 6:12.

note: “Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God’s law, they were not His people. . . .

“All who became the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen. Otherwise they are like the chaff that is given to the fire.” The Desire of Ages, 107.

7 When Peter, on the day of Pentecost, was asked by the people what they must do to be saved, what did he answer? Acts 2:38. What precedes true conversion? Acts 3:18–20.

note: “Repent, repent, was the message rung out by John the Baptist in the wilderness. Christ’s message to the people was, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’ Luke 13:5. And the apostles were commanded to preach everywhere that men should repent.

“The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel. The sinner must be labored for, perseveringly, earnestly, wisely, until he shall see that he is a transgressor of God’s law, and shall exercise repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” Evangelism, 179, 180.

“The arguments of the apostles alone, though clear and convincing, would not have removed the prejudice that had withstood so much evidence. But the Holy Spirit sent the arguments home to hearts with divine power. The words of the apostles were as sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting men of their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 45.

8 To what example of repentance did the Saviour direct attention on a certain occasion? Matthew 12:40, 41. (Compare Jonah 3:4–10.)

note: “As Jonah entered the city, he began at once to ‘cry against’ it the message, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ [Jonah 3:4.] From street to street he went, sounding the note of warning.

“The message was not in vain. The cry that rang through the streets of the godless city was passed from lip to lip until all the inhabitants had heard the startling announcement. The Spirit of God pressed the message home to every heart and caused multitudes to tremble because of their sins and to repent in deep humiliation.” Prophets and Kings, 270.

9 What promise is given to those who confess their sins? Proverbs 28:13; Leviticus 26:39–44. To whom is salvation promised? Romans 10:9, 10.

note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.” Steps to Christ, 37.

“No man of himself can repent, and make himself worthy of the blessing of justification. The Lord Jesus is constantly seeking to impress the sinner’s mind and attract him to behold Himself, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. We cannot take a step toward spiritual life save as Jesus draws and strengthens the soul, and leads us to experience that repentance which needeth not to be repented of.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 390, 391.

10 What example of confession was seen in the life of Daniel? Daniel 9:4, 5.

note: “The gospel makes no compromise with evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required.” The Desire of Ages, 811.

11 How is pardon for sin received? 1 John 1:9. What leads the sinner to repentance? Romans 2:4, last part. From whom do we receive repentance? Acts 5:31; 11 Timothy 2:25.

note: “The love of God still yearns over the one who has chosen to separate from Him, and He sets in operation influences to bring him back to the Father’s house. The prodigal son in his wretchedness ‘came to himself.’ The deceptive power that Satan had exercised over him was broken. He saw that his suffering was the result of his own folly, and he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father.’ [Luke 15:17, 18, first part.] Miserable as he was, the prodigal found hope in the conviction of his father’s love. It was that love which was drawing him toward home. So it is the assurance of God’s love that constrains the sinner to return to God. ‘The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.’ Romans 2:4. A golden chain, the mercy and compassion of divine love, is passed around every imperiled soul. The Lord declares, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’ Jeremiah 31:3.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 202.

“We cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, ‘Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.” The Desire of Ages, 175.

12 How many are called upon to repent? Acts 17:30. What cheering promises are made to those who come to God by repentance and forsaking of sin? John 6:37; Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 3:22, 23.

note: “Arise and go to your Father. He will meet you a great way off. If you take even one step toward Him in repentance, He will hasten to enfold you in His arms of infinite love. His ear is open to the cry of the contrite soul. The very first reaching out of the heart after God is known to Him. Never a prayer is offered, however faltering, never a tear is shed, however secret, never a sincere desire after God is cherished, however feeble, but the Spirit of God goes forth to meet it. Even before the prayer is uttered or the yearning of the heart made known, grace from Christ goes forth to meet the grace that is working upon the human soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 206.

Adapted from “The Victorious Life,” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1924.

Editorial – Counsel from the True Witness, continued

In last month’s editorial, we saw the condescension of God in attempting to save the chief of sinners. However, we can only be saved if whatever problem we have with sin is completely dealt with on this earth. Therefore, God deals directly with sin. We continue the letter Ellen White wrote to a brother who was in deep trouble. God wanted to save him, as He wants to save you. There is no partiality of persons with Him.

This letter shows us several common problems that we human beings have: (1) the difficulty of making confession; (2) trying to cover up the evil; (3) trying to get sympathy for oneself and against whoever has reproved the evil; and (4) the great difficulty God has getting sinners to acknowledge their problem, confess it, and forsake it.

“When I tried to show you the aggravated character of sin in the sight of God of a watchman upon the walls of Zion, you did not seem to feel or to sense the sin, but you seemed as unimpressionable as a stone. I know you are seeking to cover your ways from the Lord. I did not then open them to you, as I have done now, with my pen. And I do not wish to have this opened to others, for I do hope that you will see and sense the evil and confess your sin to God and to your brethren and make clean work, that you may have this foul blot removed from you by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. You have not confessed your wrongs. You have done great wickedness; you have committed adultery, broken the seventh commandment.

“I have carried this heavy load upon my soul all this time. When we had the meetings in you knew just what you ought to confess. You knew the warnings were sent of God; you knew the communications I sent to you from Europe were truth. And when I carried the burdens until my soul seemed crushed, you obtained [the] sympathy of your friends by leaving the impression upon their minds that I was not just, but partial, and very severe; that you were suffering under accusations which were very difficult to bear; that the testimonies I had given were my own judgment, my own words; that I had wronged you; and that false reports had been brought to me. But my brother, nothing could be more deceptive than this.

“You stated at the camp meeting and since then, that you had not been guilty of any moral wrong, and that was the reason why you persisted in your course, notwithstanding counsel and warnings had been given you. You will remember I met your remarks promptly.

“I showed you that your position as a minister of the gospel would make any such course as you had pursued a reproach to the cause of God, a matter of scandal, and your actions a savor of death rather than of life. . . .

“What can be more dreadful than a minister of Jesus Christ a commandment breaker? I see only one way for your escape—break with the temptations of Satan at once, and rush for the light! Even ministers who claim to believe the truth are only blind guides if the truth is not enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition from darkness to light has [not] taken place. . . .” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 160, 161.

Keys to the Storehouse – Red Flags

Every repentant sinner appears at the door of the Most Holy Place. Have you been to that door this morning—where Jesus is? Were you there last night?

“Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice.” The Great Controversy, 418.

Are you a sinner? It may be that you don’t recognize yourself as a sinner or have anything for which to be sorry. Or maybe you don’t think you have denied Him in any of your actions or words.

We are told in Romans 3:23 that, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”—come short of God’s character.

Do you suppose that you may have overlooked something? Or are sins, because of repetition, no longer sins in your mind, and you are thinking all is well? God does not want us to be deceived. Several red flags are brought to our attention in the following paragraph so that we may ponder the path of our life before it is too late.

“A spirit contrary to the spirit of Christ would deny Him, whatever the profession. Men may deny Christ by evilspeaking, by foolish talking, by words that are untruthful or unkind. They may deny Him by shunning life’s burdens, by the pursuit of sinful pleasure. They may deny Him by conforming to the world, by uncourteous behavior, by the love of their own opinions, by justifying self, by cherishing doubt, borrowing trouble, and dwelling in darkness. In all these ways they declare that Christ is not in them.” The Desire of Ages, 357. (Emphasis supplied.)

Have you overlooked anything in your life that has not been brought to the door of the Most Holy Place where Jesus is waiting to hear from you?

Sinners do not have eternal life. Each time the law of God is broken, whether it be physical, mental or spiritual laws, that guilty person is living on “death row” waiting for execution, unless or until those sins have been confessed and repented of.

Have you been to the Most Holy Place today to confess, repent of and transfer that sin and guilt to the Most Holy Place and to receive the Holy Spirit, the life of Jesus, in your soul? Go to Him in sincerity, confess, repent, remove the clutter and invite Him into your heart and plead for His Holy Spirit. Why? Because, “The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul.” God’s Amazing Grace, 195.

“Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices, they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.” The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892. (Emphasis supplied.)

Have you been to the Most Holy Place today?

My precious Jesus, I come humbly to the door of the Most Holy Place to repent of my behavior that has denied entrance of Thy life, through the Holy Spirit, into my soul. You have opened my eyes to see that I have sinned and fallen short of Thy character. Forgive me. As I lift my soul heavenward I sincerely desire to be filled with Your life through the influence of Thy Holy Spirit. I choose Your life and not death. Amen.