Several years ago a young lady of my church had pre-marital sex and her parents (supported by the pastor) had her confess her sin in front of the congregation of the church for forgiveness. Is this biblical?
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In the Bible, there are types. For example Joseph on the Old Testament is a type of Jesus. In the New Testament, I see Joseph, Mary's soon to be husband. I believe he could be a type of Jesus. Consider Matthew 1:18-21. He is betrothed to Mary. Mary, is pregnant! Joseph could have made her a public example! But, Joseph acted in love. Another example I think of is Jesus in John 8:1-11. The woman about to be stoned and Jesus says, "He who is without sin among you, let Him throw the first stone...Go, and sin no more." 1 John 1:8, "If we say that we have no sins we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Matthew 6:5,6 - "And when you pray, thou shall not be like the hypocrisy. For they love to pray standing in the synagogue and on the corners of streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." Confession to God, I believe is a private matter. We know as David said, "For your names sake, O Lord pardon my iniquity..." If we confess our sin to God, He is gracious and forgives us. He loves us. Any sin is against God. Humiliation in public is just not something that I believe God wants. Is any one of us perfect?Jesus Christ is the only one that can be declared that! He said, can you throw the first stone? So I would say it is not biblical to treat one of God's children in such a way!
❖ Just making a decision to repent is not enough. One must truly repent--being genuine in acts, words, and deeds--to be honored of God or man. There is no passage which requires public confession of a sin before a congregation or a pastor is necessary before that sin is considered forgiven. One must deal with the perceived problems directly to those with the problem and not to involve anyone else. ❖ How to deal with this? Let's take the classic example of the parable of Prodigal son. The prodigal son to his father, "I have sinned against "heaven", and "before thee". This is true repentance--confession of sin, genuine sorrow, and humility because of sin. ❖ Please note, twofold confessions here. ➊ First sin against God in Heaven. Since all sins are against God, the first and most important confession we need to make is to Him (Psalms 32:3-5). ➋ Second, our confession is made to the ones we harmed by our sins. (Congregation is not involved at this point) (Jam. 5:16). When our actions harm someone else, we should approach them directly and discreetly (privately) to admit our wrong and ask for their forgiveness. The goal always is to get a person to turn from their sins. Once the person repents, the matter is dropped to minimize the embarrassment caused by sin. When someone does this from the bottom of the heart, the repented sins are covered over, they are buried and left behind (Jam. 5:19-20). That is why you see in Matthew 18:15-17 that a problem between two Christians is not immediately brought before the church. Attempts are made to work out the problem with the minimal number of people involved as possible. It is only when the matter is not resolved that it is taken before the church congregation. Three steps in church discipline: ➊ Settle all personal differences by yourself (Mt. 18:15; 5:23-26 Lk. 17:3-4 Lev. 19:17) ➋ Confirm your personal efforts by two or three witnesses (Mt. 18:16; 2Cor. 13:1; Dt. 17:6; 19:15) ➌ Take a stubborn and unforgiving brother before the church and if he refuses all means of reconciliation, then let him be excommunicated (Mt. 18:17). If men will not forgive, neither will God forgive (Mt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35 Mk. 11:25-26 Rom. 16:17). If the probllem is sorted out, then it is encouraged to share the testimony to congregation after sins were confessed to God and the man involved for Church edification. Your sin won't cause others to stumble because people know you've repented of those sins. That is the important part. ❖ Thr outcome of confession in the parable of Prodigal son (Lk. 15:20-24): ➊ The father heard his confession and forgave him. ➋ He put the best robe on him. ➌ He put a ring on his hand. ➍ He put shoes on his feet. ➎ He made a great feast and began to be merry. ❖ The sins forgiven will be forgotten. The ring and sandals were marks of a free man and of honor and dignity (Gen. 41:42; 1Ki. 21:8; Esther 8:2; Dan. 6:17; Jas. 2:2). Formerly, captives had their shoes removed (Isa. 20:2), and when they were liberated their shoes were restored. ❖ Please note: The robe, rings and sandals are given for the resurrected SAINTS in the next life. Where as the people in the Hell will be perpetually nude without clothing, barefooted in the Hell for ever. (2 Cor. 5:3)
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