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Jesus and the Act of Confession

            Piety is a virtue that is often misunderstood in the present day. While it can result in a legalistic view of God and His Kingdom, it is an invaluable tool for cultivating faith. Confession in particular plays a significant role in many aspects of the Kingdom of God. In looking at the Jewish historical understanding of confession and Jesus' teachings on the matter, it can be seen that this discipline is emphasized because of its relationship to repentance, its overarching connection to being in fellowship with God, and its ability to foster community in the Kingdom.
             When studying the discipline of confession, it is significant to also look at the way the Jewish people of Jesus' day understood it. In the Pentateuch, specifically Leviticus, God established the practice of confession. Throughout chapters four and five of Leviticus God commands the people of Israel that if they sin, they are to make their transgressions known and then offer an atoning sacrifice. This pattern can be seen in many other Old Testament passages such as Nehemiah 9:2-3, Psalm 32:5, Proverbs 28:13, etc. Based off the pattern it can be concluded that Jews believed movement away from sin must be made in order for the confession to be sincere (though it was ultimately by God's grace that they were forgiven). This concept can be seen especially in Ezra 10. Coming to Ezra, the people of Israel confessed that they had taken foreign and unholy women as wives. After making this transgression known they promised to lay their women aside and return to the Lord (Ezra 10:3). In all of these passages it is clear that historically the Jewish people did not view confession as an end. Instead they used it as an impetus for reconciliation with God. It is with this stance- where confession and repentance are naturally connected- that Jesus operates.
             This relationship between confession and repentance is evident from the beginning of the New Testament.

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