James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
A careful study of our text helps to eliminate the controversy concerning confession. We have already seen that the Bible teaches that confession of sins is to be made only to God. Yet, our passage tells us to confess one to another. Yet, the Bible stipulates that the confession involves one’s faults. The difference between sins and faults is quite simple. A fault is not a sin, but rather an area of weakness that could lead to sin. We do not profit from confessing our sins to each other or even to “religious leaders.” However, the Bible reveals the benefits derived from confessing that we covet the prayers of others to help overcome our areas of weakness. Perhaps, these brothers and sisters in Christ will fervently pray and even lend support and advice. This is why it is important to confess our sincere desire for their prayers. Unfortunately, misapplication of this passage to bodily healing has caused confusion. The context involves healing in areas of spiritual weaknesses, not simply a need for the body to be healed.
- (For children): Confessing your faults means you ask friends to pray for you so that you won’t sin. Yet, it is unnecessary to offer them the details discussed in the previous study associated with confessing our sins to God. Using the scenario mentioned yesterday as an example, you might say to your friend, “Pray for me that I would be happy with my own toys and that I would always tell the truth.”
- (For everyone): Do you have a “fault”? Do you have a brother or sister in Christ from whom you can seek prayer for strength in this area? What are some other ways he or she can support you concerning this fault?
- Think of some things that might help you understand the difference between a sin and a fault. How can people help you with a fault, while they cannot help you with a sin?
- Ask God to give you some caring believers who will pray for you.
- Ask God to help you see the difference between a sin and a fault.