I have had a poll open on my sidebar for several weeks asking whether we converts confessed our sins on a regular basis to Jesus before we were Catholic. The results are "in" and are as follows. 21% said "Yes , daily."
14% said "Yes, on an as needed basis."
64% said "No just when I thought about it."
So the majority of us converts (64%) did not
regularly confess our sins to the Lord before our conversion. Therefore, what was the mechanism or procedure for us to advance in holiness(sanctification) without confessing our sins?
The scriptures plainly tell us that we should confess our sins. Does confessing sins actually have anything to do with the process of sanctification? Why did Jesus talk about it if it was not necessary for believers to do this? What was I thinking as one who was in the 64% group above?
Did I think I was forgiven at the Cross and therefore it was "all under the Blood?" I am not sure why I felt like I had a "free pass" to not regularly confess my sins.
The Scriptural basis for confession can be found here: John Salza's Scripture Catholic
Some Lutherans and Anglicans still practice confession to their pastors though it is not widely done, but in my 30 year experience as an evangelical it was rare. Yes, there were "altar calls" and re-comittment services, but there was rarely a teaching on confessing your sins or examining your conscience. I had heard a teaching once that we should "keep short accounts with God" but there really was no imperative or perceived need to regularly confess our sins to God.
I now see this as a major loss to Protestantism when they removed the sacrament of reconciliation from their doctrines."The origin and establishment of private Confession lies in the fact that Christ Himself placed His Absolution into the hands of His Christian people with the command that they should absolve one another of their sins . So any heart that feels it sinfulness and desires consolation has here a sure refuge when he hears God's Word and makes the discovery that God through a human being looses and absolves him from his sins.Furthermore, we strongly urge people not to despise a blessing that in view of our great need is so priceless. So we teach what a splendid, precious, and comforting thing Confession is.However, if you want to despise it and proudly continue without Confession, then we must draw the conclusion that you are no Christian and should not enjoy the Sacrament either. For you despise what no Christian should despise. In that way you make it so that you cannot have forgiveness of your sins. This is a sure sign that you also despise the Gospel."(Dr. Martin Luther, Book of Concord)
So in 1529, even Luther was still admonishing Christians to participate in the sacrament of confession. By what authority did I decide 500 years later, that I can do just fine without this sacrament that had been given by Christ to his Church? How did I ignore these Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Church that even the first reformer to break from the Church insisted on ?