The Power of Humility and Confession: Characteristics of Freedom Realized
Freedom realized is not merely the title of my book;(1) freedom realized is a concept of sincere Christianity found in realizing God’s grace to walk in lasting freedom from all forms of sexual sin and relational idolatry. Humility and confession are two of several characteristics necessary in knowing consistent freedom and growth in Christ as His disciple – a sincere believer, which is a real Christian.
A Required Prerequisite to Knowing and Experiencing God – Humility
There is a prerequisite to experiencing the power of God in our lives. The power of God is made manifest by the Holy Spirit of Grace Who comes to enthrone Himself in the heart of a sincere, surrendered believer. The scripture is very clear; one receives this Holy Spirit power by humbling oneself. God gives His grace, which is His power in the Holy Spirit, to the humble. (James 4:6-10 & 1 Peter 5:5- 6) Cultivating humility is an absolute necessity in growing in the grace/power of God and in knowing and experiencing the Holy Spirit. I want everyone I know to read Andrew Murray’s book, “Humility,” and for a wonderful free introduction, I want to encourage everyone to read Laura Leigh Stanlake’s compilation of thoughts about humility.(2)
Contrition / Brokenness / A Sorrow that Leads to Repentance
We are living in a ‘post-Christian’ culture in the United States, where we find many who have little understanding of the beauty of contrition and brokenness over sin. There are many false converts abiding in the evangelical church today. How do I know that they are false converts? They have not embraced repentance and a sorrow over sin that causes souls to draw closer to Jesus as Lord and to community producing a confessing life. Confession is the beginning, but it is also the continuation of the life of the humble, surrendered, sincere Christian believer.
The Benefits of Confession Are Eternal
The devoted follower of Jesus keeps an eternal perspective by having a watchful eye and a soul waiting for the return of Jesus Christ—the longing for intimate connection finally realized in the coming of our Savior. First-century Christians lived with an eternal perspective and were ready to die at any moment and to face the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. We should be ready as well. Keeping ourselves in a humble attitude of confession, living the confessing life, and walking out genuine repentance are the marks of a true believer. We must have community to walk out a sincere lifestyle of Christianity.
“He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy. Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Proverbs 28:13-14 AMPC [emphasis mine]
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” James 5:16 AMPC
Confessing Jesus as Lord
The Bible is clear on experiencing real deliverance. Freedom or deliverance comes with the confession of Jesus as Lord. The promise is that you will be saved, you will be delivered, and ultimately, it does mean that you will receive eternal life. This promise is for those who believe until the end. What does it really mean to have a “confession” or a “confessing life,” leading to saving faith? A Christian that is sincere and real is a human being surrendered to the will of God with a consistency of devotion. This sincere devotion is having a heart that is motivated to find what is pleasing to God, to the Holy Spirit of God, in putting self-will under the Lordship of Jesus Christ—that is, under the authority and mastering of Jesus over the soul of man. A human soul that has saving faith, secure for an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, is a soul that is living a life of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord without shame. This confessing life is a manifestation of the character of freedom realized, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord in word, thought and deed each day.
“… If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11 [emphasis mine]
Believing in Jesus or believing on Him is not merely a mental assent to the historical facts of Jesus’ existence and His amazing sacrifice for the sins of the world. A saving faith with a confessing life is one that brings about a changed, “repentant” life. Those who live this life of humility, in confession and repentance, are conforming into the image of Jesus Christ.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 [emphasis mine]
And in 2 Peter 1:2-11 he makes the confessing of Jesus Christ as Lord very clear:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (knowing Jesus as Lord) as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge selfcontrol, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For IF these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for IF you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:2-11 [emphasis mine]
Sincere Commitment to Community is necessary for the growth of humility in keeping confession consistent, so the soul has a clear conscience to find freedom realized. When a true believer is in subjection to others on a weekly basis, freedom iscultivated by living in the light of transparency and in Biblical authenticity. A Biblical authenticity can only be achieved by living honestly in community!
Authenticity is not a call to be true to the sinful nature.
Confession with other believers dispells sinful lust. Biblical authenticity calls for a life lived in the light. True authenticity in God’s economy produces humility, which in turn produces transformation. Authenticity does not leave a soul in bondage to a same-sex attraction as an identity or to same-sex lust, or any lust. True authenticity, born of faith in God, produces a new lifestyle of repentance and love.
There must be weekly, if not daily, confession of sin. This includes confession of vulnerabilities to sin so as to keep the devil and his temptations eradicated from further attack in the mind as we realize our great need to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. This is true authenticity.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (We are not warring according to our own strength). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
The only way we can truly be free is to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness in our own souls.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:8- 11 [emphasis mine]
We can only accomplish living this passage out while living in community with other believers. The author of Hebrews makes this very clear:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25. [emphasis mine]
This is the promise we have in living in the light, in confession, in community, and in confession of our sins to Christ; He will forgive us and cleanse us of ALL sin.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light [true authenticity in community], we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9 [emphasis mine]
Coram Deo Allows for the Experience of Freedom Realized
I have found that the only way we can live the confessing life as a truly devoted follower of Jesus Christ as Lord is by living in Coram Deo. What is Coram Deo? Coram Deo is a Latin phrase translated as “in the presence of God.” In historic church theology, Coram Deo communicates the truth of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God at all times. Coram Deo is living in a cognizant state of being before the face of God. To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we do and wherever we do it, we are before the gaze of Almighty God. God is omnipresent; therefore, there is no place that we can escape His penetrating gaze. HE sees! Coram Deo is to live with a conscious state of awareness of His sovereignty. We enjoy His terrible awesomeness and fear God when we encounter this relationship as a fountain of life to us as we read in Proverbs 14:27:
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”
Coram Deo also means to be overwhelmed by God’s love, to be in awe of Him because He is so forgiving and merciful. Only those who are truly born of the Holy Spirit can understand this dual awesomeness! God is terrible, fearful, and full of awe! As C.S. Lewis revealed in his writing, God is NOT tame, and He is certainly NOT safe, but He is oh so very good!(3) Oh, so holy, oh, so merciful, and oh, so very loving. Without understanding the duality of holy severity and the unfathomable kindness of God, we cannot grow into true Christian maturity, nor will we realize the depths of freedom available to us in His presence. Coram Deo living is wrapped-up in the fear of God, and the fear of God is not mere reverential trust. One merely need ask those who have truly received a glimpse of God or peer into the Holy Scriptures and read about those who have encountered God in His glory (Rev. 1:12-17). They fall in awe, in terrible fear—trembling before the Almighty! God has transformed my life through Coram Deo. I pray that you will embrace Coram Deo yourself to experience that great freedom He has for those who love Him! Living in the full awareness and knowledge of Coram Deo ensures a victorious life that is free from sin’s bondage. You can see this in a study of the promises found in Scriptures in endnote (4) of this article. Holy prophets are rarely embraced or accepted during their office in this life. Real prophets live in Coram Deo. It is why they communicate very stark, specific, and distinctly bold pronouncements against sin as they warn of the soul’s destruction. Today, most of the church would not welcome such holy prophets of old, believing themselves smarter, more sophisticated, and more refined in the modern messages of civility and so-called kindness. Indeed, they are more refined—so refined most of the time as to passively empower sin to remain in the hearts of people through poor theological offerings and passionless preaching.
Living in the Light – A.B.S. in Community
Living in the light, in sincere Christianity, is living out this easy-to-remember acronym of A.B.S. A is for accountability; B is for boundaries; and S is for a spiritually devoted life, practicing spiritual warfare!
Accountability is a core strength, essential to lasting, and consistent freedom. Accountability is found as we live in community with other believers and enjoy life together. This provides the natural process to confess our sins to each other and receive healing prayer. If we confess and forsake our sin, we find great mercy. Godly accountability is more than a dreaded confession session; it is life in a community where accountability becomes natural in a safe environment of holy, healthy relating. Coram Deo actually provides a means of grace to be accountable. Healthy accountability becomes a haven of comfort and safety and not of condemnation. (Please refer to James 5:16 and Prov. 28:13). This is true accountability, and it must be demonstrated by leaders before their disciples.
We all need boundaries set in place to separate us from temptation. We must appropriately distance ourselves from people, places, things, and activities that draw us into sin. Anything that draws our hearts away into temptation must have boundaries. If we view boundaries as restrictions rather than protections, we already enter a state of defeat. When a boundary is considered a restriction, we enter into immature and unwise thinking. A wise person, who has embraced Coram Deo, understands one’s own areas of weakness. Weakness does not reflect a defect of character. Weakness merely reveals a place of vulnerability. If we truly want freedom, we must view boundaries as protection, as safety, and embrace them as comforting. We all need boundaries in the “nouns” of our lives. We must have boundaries in all persons, places, and things. We certainly need accountability on our computers and from all bad influences in order to walk in integrity. No one is immune in this day. We must protect our own souls and those of our loved ones. Truly, as a foundation for freedom, a person must establish boundaries in every area of life that is a place of potential temptation.
S—Spiritually-Devoted Life, Practicing Spiritual Warfare.
We must practice spiritual warfare as a core principle of freedom, in the beginning of wisdom, in the fear of God. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but we are in a spiritual battle. God is in control. He will allow these demonic entities to bring chastisement. God is holy and wholly in control. We truly wrestle against Satan and his hordes of demonic hosts. Sometimes we are in the wrestle because of our own unconfessed sin or pride. Ephesians chapter 6, verse 12, is a passage that must be believed. One should review this verse in several translations. However, here is a look at it in The Living Bible, which is a paraphrased version:
“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.” Eph. 6:12 LB
The Preaching of the Cross and Confession to pave the road to a life of freedom realized – a life of sincere repentance.
“The Cross of Jesus Christ destroys all pride. We cannot find the Cross of Jesus if we shrink from going to the place where it is to be found, namely, the public death of the sinner. And we refuse to bear the cross when we are ashamed to take upon ourselves the shameful death of the sinner in confession.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I have never known anyone to find lasting freedom—a true “freedom realized”—without a pure and holy devotion to Jesus and embracing in great delight His sacrifice on the cross. Those who find lasting freedom always have a devoted love and respect for Jesus Christ as Lord and worship Him because of the meditation of the passion of his suffering. The preaching of the cross seems foolish as it is a symbol of death and of nothingness to the world; however, to those who are living in freedom and have experienced His presence for a “freedom realized,” it is the power of God for salvation, a true deliverance.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’” 1 Cor. 1:18-19 [emphasis mine]
I use Craig Lockwood’s book, Falling Forward: The Pursuit of Sexual Purity, (5) in our New Man Support Group each year. There are several points Lockwood makes in chapter 7, “Confession Discovering the Cross in Community. I have adapted these points from his book below.
• heals our isolation and loneliness.
• of sin crucifies the old man and the flesh.
• dismantles false images and fig leaves.
• makes us die to the “social saint” mentality.
• acknowledges God’s power over our sin.
• makes the truth of the Gospel concrete in our souls.
• gives us the pathway to live in peace, serenity, and humility.
• purifies our inner lives—our thoughts.
• brings about a healing in the body of Christ and true unity in the church.
• clears impaired thinking and restores clarity in the brain.(5)
“In confession, a man breaks through to certainty. Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother? God is holy and sinless; He is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience. But a brother is sinful as we are. He knows from his own experience the dark night of secret sin. Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God? …We must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution. Who can give us the certainty that, in the confession and forgiveness of our sins, we are not dealing with ourselves, but with the living God? God gives us this certainty through our brother. Our brother breaks the circle of self-deception. A man who confesses his sin in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (5)
The need to have lasting freedom, “freedom realized,” is to confess every slip-up and fall, especially when it comes to sexual lust or fantasy. But, is also true for all sins that easily beset us. Until the Cross of Christ causes you to be utterly humbled in the fascination of the extreme love of God to the point of taking your breath away, you have not yet experienced all HE has for you. There is only one way to enter into Heaven before Almighty God. There are no other ways, no other coverings, no other fig leaves of our works. It is wholly through the holy blood of Jesus Christ as a complete covering, the propitiation of God through faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus’ love and sacrifice is the only adequate substitution; the complete covering for our sins. This new life of “freedom realized” can only come through a new lifestyle of confession, of humility that produces turning from sin, and of turning to Him in a wholly devoted relationship that continues to the day you die.
“Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light." (Psalm 36:5)
I close with a few thoughts from Andrew Murray on Humility:
• “Humility is the beauty of holiness.”
• “Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue.”
• “…it is not sin that humbles us most, but grace.”
• “It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love, in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit, who cannot but be humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”
• “Our measure of humility is not how humble we are before God, but is actually measured by our humility before man…” (2)
Will you embrace humility and confession today, tomorrow, next week and the rest of your days? Freedom realized is for every soul who embraces humility and consistent confession as a new lifestyle. May God grace your life with humility, confession for freedom realized.
(1) Freedom Realized – Finding Freedom from Homosexuality & Living A Life Free from Labels ISBN 13: 9781683144939 (www.freedomrealized. org)
(2) Andrew Murray’s book on “Humility” ISBN13: 978-1514695418 and Laura Leigh Stanlake’s compilation on humility, “Meditations on Humility” see the First Stone website: https://www.firststone.org/articles/post/meditations-on-humility:-humility-and-confession
(3) C.S. Lewis answers this in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when Mr. Beaver tells Susan that Aslan (the ruler of Narnia) is a great lion. Susan is surprised since she assumed Aslan was a man. She then tells Mr. Beaver, “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” She asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, to which Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.”
(4) Read the “Terrors of Hell” by William C. Nichols (https://www.firststone.org/ articles/post/the-terrors-of-hell)
(5) Craig Lockwood book: Falling Forward: The Pursuit of Sexual Purity. ISBN 1-930159-05-6