DL Moody’s Example of Humble Apology

“If we have sinned against our neighbour, we must confess our sin to him and ask for his forgiveness. It sounds easy. yet we all know from common experience how costly it is
simply to apologize to somebody and to say that we are sorry. It is a rare Christian grace. D. L. Moody, the famous American evangelist of the last century, exhibited it, and I think I was more struck by this than by anything else about him when reading a recent biography. Let me give you two examples which impressed me. In the early days at their home in Northfield, Massachusetts, Moody was anxious to
have a lawn like those he had greatly admired in England. But one day his two sons, Paul and Will, let the horses loose from the barn. They galloped over his precious lawn and ruined it. And Moody lost his temper with them. But the boys never forgot how, after they had gone to bed that night, they heard his heavy footsteps as he approached and entered their room, and, laying a heavy hand on their head, said to them: ‘I want you to forgive me; that wasn’t the way Christ taught.’ On another occasion a theological student interrupted him during an address and Moody snapped an irritated retort. Let J. C. Pollock describe what happened at the end of the sermon: ‘He reached his close. He paused. Then he said: “Friends, I want to confess before you all that I made a great mistake at the beginning of this
meeting. I answered my young brother down there foolishly. I ask God to forgive me. I ask him to forgive me.” And before anyone realized what was happening the world’s most famous evangelist had stepped off the platform, dashed across to the insignificant anonymous youth and taken him by the hand. As another present said, “The man of iron will proved that he had mastered the hardest of all earth’s languages, ‘I am sorry’.” Someone else called it the
greatest thing I ever saw D. L. Moody do’.” -John Stott, Confess Your Sins

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The Importance of Daily Confession

“Such confessing and forsaking, immediate and detailed, are required of every Christian. It is a question of honesty versus hypocrisy. The uncovering of sins is painful and
humiliating. It brings us to our knees in lowliness before God. But if we want to receive mercy, both forgiveness for the past and power for the future, there is no other way. Let it never be said of us that we take sin lightly or presume on the mercy of God.” -John Stott, Confess Your Sins

Confess Early, Confess Often

The apostle Paul affirmed before Felix: ‘I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men’ (Acts 24: 16). We should have the same ambition. As soon as any sin is on our conscience, whether committed against God or men we must confess it. This is what it means to walk in the light’ (I Jn. 1: 7). It has been described as living in house without ceiling or walls permitting no barrier to arise between us and either God or our fellows. It is a very serious thing to tamper with our conscience or to let it remain burdened and unrelieved. As soon as we have sinned against our neighbour we should apologize. As soon as we
are conscious of God’s face having become clouded, so that we are estranged from Him, we need to get away quietly, to uncover our sin, to confess and forsake it. As Thomas
Becon, Archbishop Cranmer’s chaplain, put it: “This kind of confession ought every Christian man daily and hourly to make unto God, so oft as he is brought unto the know
ledge of his sin.” It is an indispensable condition of abiding continuously in Christ.” -John Stott, Confess Your Sins

Uncovering Sin

“The uncovering of sin is in itself of
little value; it must lead us to an attitude both of humility towards God and of hostility towards sin. ‘Ye that love the Lord hate evil’, or ‘the Lord loves those who hate evil! (Ps. 97: 10, A.V. and R.S.V.); and it is this holy hatred of evil which is promoted by the faithful, systematic uncovering and confession of our sins.” -John Stott, Confess Your Sins

The Cross Makes It Possible To Confess Our Sins

“On the cross Christ paid the debt for every selfish desire, thought, word, or deed to which you will ever give yourself. You no longer have to be afraid to own up to your selfishness. You do not have to whitewash your thoughts and motives. You do not have to cover your sin by blaming others or by self-atoning logic. You do not have to give yourself to acts of penance (self-atonement) that make you feel better about yourself. You do not have to search for biblical passages that will give ease to your conscience. No, your debt has been fully paid. Your punishment has been borne by Another. There is One who has taken your place and been condemned instead of you. Paul says, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2: 13b— 14). As God’s child, you have been forgiven for every act of self-focused independence and rebellion. You have been freed from the debt of your every failure to love God above all else and your neighbor as yourself. You no longer need to live in hiding. Forgiving grace welcomes you out of the darkness to lift the burden of refusal, guilt, fear, and shame off of your shoulders. You have been invited to confess and receive the forgiveness that is yours.” -Paul Tripp

The Difference between Attrition and Contrition

“We can distinguish between two kinds of repentance: attrition and contrition. Attrition is counterfeit repentance, which never qualifies us for forgiveness. It is like the repentance of a child who is caught in the act of disobeying his mother and cries out, ‘Mommy, Mommy, I’m sorry, please don’t spank me.’ Attrition is repentance motivated strictly by a fear of punishment. The sinner confesses his sin to God, not out of genuine remorse but out of a desire to secure a ticket out of hell. True repentance reflects contrition, a godly remorse for offending God. Here the sinner mourns his sin, not for the loss of reward or for the threat of judgment, but because he has done injury to the honor of God.” -R.C. Sproul