Question:

This is with deep regret that I am asking this. This past Saturday my neighbors threw a going away party for my wife and I. I ended up getting drunk in front of all of my peers and I feel terrible. I have work so hard to be the best Christian possible. My question is this, do I have to go before a congregation (I have not placed membership with any) and confess my sins? I am also moving, so I won't be there any longer. What should I do? I want to repent but can't because I am unsure.


Answer:

"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3).

There is a lack of consistency in what you are saying. You said you worked hard at being the best Christian possible, but then tell me that you got drunk and that you've been living in an area without being a part of a church. Those behaviors are more descriptive of a person who is a Christian in name only, who lives as a Christian when it is convenient to him.

The one you've harmed most by your sins is the Lord and it is to him that you need to first apologize. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:8-9).

Next, you need to face the fact that you have a drinking problem. You aren't going to make it to heaven this way. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). It is difficult enough to live a Christian life while being sober. "Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:6-9).

Wherever you do move, it is long past time that you join your brethren in serving the Lord. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25). See: Christians Without Churches?

You did more condemning of my actions than answering my question. I find you do that a lot. The only reason I did not place membership with a local congregation is because we are moving and prior to the move I just repented of a sinful life style. I do not have a drinking problem. I made one mistake when it came to alcohol; that does not mean I have a drinking problem. However, I see the error of my ways and have repented, and when I move I will be placing membership where we go.

In order to repent, a person must face his problems. "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:9-11). I'm sure you would have had problems with John the Baptist and Paul, if you lived in Corinth. I know you don't like rebukes, few people do, but they are a necessary part of change. "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (II Timothy 4:2-5).

I note that you wrote to me for help, knowing my reputation. Your question was answered. I'm glad you have decided to change and that is all that is important.

You're right.