“Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.” (Ezra 10:1)
“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.” (Ezra 10:2)
“Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.” (Ezra 10:3)
In our first devotion, we looked at the first principle of genuine repentance: Sorrowfulness over Sin. We understand, according to the Word of God, that there are two kinds of sorrow: a worldly sorrow which worketh death; and a godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is only when we have a godly sorrow over sin, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, that we can have genuine repentance.
Let’s look at the second principle of repentance: Acknowledgement and Confession of the Sin. First, we acknowledge that we have trespassed against a holy God: “We have trespassed against our God” (Ezra 10:2b).
Secondly, a confession of sin, “…and have taken strange wives of the people of the land” (Ezra 10:2c). God had made it perfectly clear to the Children of Israel not to intermarry with the people of the land. (See Ezra 9:10-12.)
David, upon repentance for adultery and murder, uttered these words:
“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalms 51:3-4)
David and Ezra and the congregation acknowledged that they had trespassed against God; and they confessed before God their sin. Genuine repentance is having a sorrowfulness for sin; acknowledging that we have sinned against a holy God; and confessing our sins before Him.
We cannot hide our sins from God:
“Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24)
“For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.” (Jeremiah 16:17)
We cannot hide from God; He sees and He knows. Neither can we cover up sin.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
If we desire God’s mercy, we have to confess and forsake sin.
“…with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10b)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
True, genuine repentance is first having a godly sorrow over our sins. Secondly, we must acknowledge that we have sinned against a holy and righteous God, and confess our sins before Him.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8, 10)