When I was a member of the word of Faith charismatic cult many years ago we were big into “positive confession.” One thing we regularly confessed was that “we were the righteousness of God in Christ.” Our confession was we were now righteous before God and thus that was all we identified with. It is laudable to understand our position in Christ and to act accordingly. There is also nothing wrong with confessing or praying back to our Lord what He says we are because of what Jesus Christ has done.
As I consider this practice today I see how unbalanced it is and the danger inherent in attempting to build on such a shaky foundation. What is missing is the other “dirty little secret” that all the positive confession sects (PCS) ignore is the reality that they are also sinners in need of forgiveness almost moment by moment if they truly saw their condition before our holy God. The PCS build within their minds an image of themselves a righteous people by their repetitive verbal or mental affirmations of how perfect they now are. Their sinful actions are diminished by redefinition and spiritual status. Obviously, a righteous person will act righteously and eschew and avoid sin so when they do sin they must redefine their sin as “a mistake,” or the result of a lack of mental renewal (Rom. 12) and thus not any sort of spiritual sin. Sin has become to them something akin to more of a misstep along the highway of holiness (Isa. 35:8). Ask these people if they are sinners they will automatically respond “no we were sinners saved by grace, but now we are the righteousness of God in Christ.” These folks believe they have become spiritually elevated to the place where they no longer have a “sin consciousness.” False teachers including Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Jessie Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Charles Capps, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Paul & Jan Crouch, Jerry Savelle, Robert Tilton and a host of other liars all declare to have achieved this level.
How blind these poor souls be. How stygian the darkness they call light! Millions of souls have sought refuge beneath the fetid wings of this lie which as Saint Irenaeus, may his memory always be blessed in our minds,
patron saint of all Heresy-hunters said:
“They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretense of [superior] knowledge, from Him who rounded and adorned the universe; as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.” Against Heresies, Preface.
This so called superior knowledge and spiritual attainment is exactly the opposite. When God’s people become hardened and dead to their own personal inherent sinfulness and sinful actions (with their repercussions) they are FAR from God, not closer to Him. Their delusion is so deep they actually believe they are in close communion with the one Who is holiness personified, one who will not even tolerate a garment “spotted” with the flesh (Jude 1:23). They fail to understand the God whom they pretend to worship is the same God who consumed Nadab and Abihu (Num. 26:61) for offering strange fire, worship not ordained by God to Him in their own “novel way.” God changes not (Mal. 3:6) and He still rejects profane worship today.
The sickening reality of our sin must not be diminished by our pretending it is some reality apart from our own. Our sin must be dealt with a brutal honesty, we must “own” it in order to confess it and receive forgiveness from our Lord. Ignoring sin leads to a hardening of the heart and a deafness to the Spirit of grace. This is the great danger of an unbalanced “confession” of righteousness.
The more we enter into the genuine presence of the Lord the more acute our awareness of personal sin should become. His light always exposes, confronts and destroys our darkness. Jesus manifested a little of His glory on the boat with Peter and how did Peter respond? “Depart from me for I am a sinful man,” (Luke 5:8). Peter’s sinfulness was made manifest by the presence of Christ. Job’s response was the same as many other prophets in the Old Testament when they encountered the Living God. Let me be quick to note that in these divine encounters our God is merciful in His response to those with whom He deals.
The years of my spiritual pilgrimage have taught me this —- the closer I get to the Lord, the more He shows me of myself, and it is not a pretty picture as I see myself accurately in the mirror of His Word. As I study the Bible, meditate on His Word and worship the Lord, the enemy comes to steal what I’ve been laboring over and it drives me to my knees and back into the Word and meditation and worship. Luther knew this well and taught the same regarding the struggle of prayer. As we mature spiritually the more clearly we begin to see ourselves in the light of the Scriptures. In order to walk humbly with our Lord we must have an accurate understanding of ourselves . . . which God alone can grant, and He does so willingly to all who ask.
Fallen man has never needed to think highly of himself, he would kill God and usurp His throne if given half the chance. This idea that having a “sin consciousness” is demonic as the cultists claim is simply a lie from the pit of hell. I have learned that as I see myself in the light of God’s Word and in His presence at the altar I am driven to cry out “Kyrie Eleison” Lord have mercy on me —- and you know what? He does! Selah.