And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Confessing their sins. "There are two cases which lead men in communities to the confession of particular sins in the presence of their fellows, before God and before man. Any moral exaltation which places them so that they see evil from a plane higher than that on which they live ordinarily, and where its relations, its tendencies, its nature, and character are clearly revealed, constantly tends to produce confession. There is also a confession which results from social magnetism. Communities are sometimes possessed, for short periods, with a paroxysm of contrition." There are many, however, who are quite willing to confess their sinfulness who will not confess their sins. It may be asked - Why should confession be demanded? What moral value lies in it? God knows all things: why, then, does he want us to say to him what he knows? Yet we observe that man demands open acknowledgment of fault, that is, confession, as the sign of sincerity of repentance, on the part of those who grieve him. Repentance as mere sentiment is of no value. If it is more than sentiment, it will gain two forms of expression.
1. Acknowledgment of the sin.
2. Putting away of the sin henceforth.
It is not evangelical repentance we feel if we shrink from doing either of these two things. The moral value of repentance that finds expression in confession is exhibited in a very striking way by St. Paul. "What carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!" (2 Corinthians 7:11). The special point which may be opened and illustrated is, that confession assures of personal thought and feeling. It is the expression of the aroused, awakened man, whose indifference is gone, who sees himself, and is oppressed with the sight. If a man really confesses, he must have got a real self-hold.
I. A RELIGION OF MERE ASSOCIATION IS WORTHLESS. Yet that is all the religion so many have. It has no confession in it, save the unintelligent, parrot-like repetition of a formula.
II. A RELIGION OF PERSONAL CONVICTIONS ALONE IS WORTHY. One of its earliest signs is confession: because as soon as a man comes to think, he is dissatisfied with himself, and finds that he wants to say so. Saying so is the way toward gaining relief. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.