September 24

James 5:16-20

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” vs. 16

It has become common for believers to speak of the personal relationship that they have with Jesus. We have learned to talk in this fashion because some religious leaders have had a fixation on what might be called individual salvation. They teach that “going to heaven” requires each person to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. The fact that this leaves out billions of God’s beloved children and is not a biblical emphasis doesn’t seem to bother them. In reality the scriptures consistently put the focus on community and not the individual. It’s not that individuals are inconsequential or important–of course God loves every single one of us. But we tap into the presence of God primarily in community, being “in Christ” means being a part of a Body! And it’s in community that we experience healing and forgiveness–it’s in community that our mutual prayers for one another become powerful and effective. It’s one thing to go off to our private place and confess our sins to God–and there’s nothing wrong with that. But healing comes quickly when we learn to confess to one another, and in that context, hear precious words of absolution. For some that’s a scary proposition–it requires a high level of trust–but when it can happen the relief is enormous. And in the end it’s good to know that salvation is a community effort centered in Christ–and doesn’t depend on us!

Thought for the Day: How do I practice confession?

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