how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrew 2.3)
The quoted Scripture is primarily addressed to the so-called Christians. There are people familiar with the Church program and the biblical doctrine yet they are not serious with God’s standard. There is danger in neglecting the standard of God. Have you forgotten the statement of Jesus in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Yes, the foundation of God stands sure and it is eternally established, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord (Hebrew 12.14).
Thus refusing or neglecting to confess your sins places you in danger of eternal destruction. It is written, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.” And Christ has said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” and again, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, first go and be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift.” As a matter of fact, there can be no forsaking sin without confessing it. And as there can be no repentance without forsaking and no forsaking without confessing, it follows that without confession there is no salvation.
Surely we confess secret sins or sins committed only against God and known to him only to God. But sins against our fellow men must be confessed to them. And refusing or neglecting to do so is to cover sin, in which case we are expressly informed that we shall not prosper. Many people seem to be afraid to confess their sin or to have others confess, lest their institution is injured thereby. But on the other hand, The Lord knows them that are his and who have departed from evil.
No matter how aggravated circumstances and deeper the shame of him who confesses, this cannot be compared to the danger of eternal damnation awaiting the neglect of salvation. Do you think it is inexpediency to confess sins against our fellow men because you want to cover up the fact? What about the express declarations of the Bible on this subject? Does anyone have the right to talk about expediency or inexpediency, as if we were wiser than God in regard to the results of doing what he requires?
Human expediency would no doubt have concealed the crimes of Moses and David, the Patriarchs, and the disciples, and the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. But God has recorded them to be read and known of all men. And who does not see and has not felt that this very fact of the inspired writers’ recording their own and each other’s faults, is a most unequivocal demonstration of their honest humility and Christ-like spirit?
However, refusing to forsake your sins places you on the ground of damnation. Though there is no forsaking sin without confession, yet there is no forsaking without restitution, where restitution is in your power. Certainly, the man who steals your money does not forsake that sin while he keeps it in his pocket and refuses to return it. There is and can be no forsaking sin until all has been done, that the nature of the case admits repairing whatever injury has been done by it to God or man. It is not enough to resolve to do it no more. And although confession is indispensable, yet confession is not the whole of your duty. You are bound to make restitution as well as confession, so as to have a mind void of offense towards God and man.
Many individuals abound much in confession, while they live on in their abominable course of conduct. Now, remember that God has nowhere said, that he who merely confesseth his sins shall find mercy, but he who “confesseth and forsaketh, shall find mercy.” And now be sure this is demanded and expected of you. If you only do your confessions, and will not forsake, this is an utter abomination to the Lord. For the Lord surely wants, that you would really forsake your sins and sin no more.
Hmmm, what about you dear Christian, are you just confessing over and over your lukewarmness, unbelief, and worldly-mindedness without the shadow of a reformation? What do you mean? Are you insulting God and trying to palm off your confessions upon your Maker? What shallow hypocritical confessions are those that are not followed by reformation! Suppose your neighbors and those indebted to you should attempt to satisfy you with confessing often to you, instead of walking right up to the discharge of their duty. How do you think, would you like to be imposed or suffer yourself to be insulted by such confessions as these?
Now think very well, is your confession an honest truth or just a mere lip saying? Do you tell God “O God, please accept these confessions instead of reformation, for I do protest to you, I do not seriously intend to reform?” You are probably shocked at such language as this and so would those that heard you. But who does not know that this is exactly the truth, and nothing but hypocrisy prevents your seeing and saying it right out! Are we are just busied in many prayer meetings and closets by abundant confessions, when there is no forsaking sin. Surely there is no way of escape to neglect the salvation of God.