Teshuvah Week 1 – Making a Sin List
During the first week of Teshuvah, you want to make a sin list. Before we can start asking God for things during the season of an Open Windows of Heaven, we want to get right with the Lord.
In Hosea 14:2, the Bible reads, “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.” (KJV) The Bible talks about taking words with us to the Lord when we return to Him. The Lord knows where we fall short. Are we humble enough to write our sins down?
The word of God mentions that records of our deeds are kept in heaven (Revelation 20:12, Hosea 13:12, Nehemiah 13:14, Psalm 109:14). In Colossians 2:13-15, Paul wrote, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (KJV).
In this verse, the phrase “handwriting of ordinances” is the Greek phrase choriegraphon dogma. Choreigraphon means bill of indebtedness written in the debtor’s handwriting. Dogma means a man-made decree. This phrase refers to our sin debt. The phrase “blotting out” means to erase something that is written. Christ erased our sin debt by nailing it to the cross. Revelation 12:10 explains that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He accuses us because we have outstanding sin that we have not repented of! When we repent, our sins are blotted out of the books in Heaven. This puts the forces of the enemy, the powers and principalities of this world, to an open shame! By writing our sins on a sheet of paper and burning them, we are showing God our desire to have our sins wiped out and never remembered!
Some people will call this strange. Aside from the verse in Hosea that commands us to use words when we return to the Lord, there are plenty of examples in the Bible to reinforce this concept. In Joshua 7, Achan and his entire household was stoned and then burned because of the trouble he caused. Sodom and Gomorrah were burned due to their sin. In Acts 19:11-20, some converted Christians got their magic scrolls together and burned them publicly. In the book of Leviticus, the burnt offering had to be brought before the priest. Your sins had to be confessed over the animal, which was subsequently killed and burned. There is a Biblical precedent for burning sinful things with fire. This is not something weird or new age. It is different than what you have heard before, but it is the Word of God put into action.
The sin list is simple: spend time alone with God and write the sins you have committed on a piece of paper. If this is your first time making a sin list, go back as far as you can remember. If you have done this before, you only have to go back as far as your last sin list. God is glad for us to pray prayers like this because He wants us to be right with Him. Sometimes Christians struggle to hear God’s voice, but if you ask Him this question, He will gladly answer!
There are three main Hebrew words for sin in the Old Testament: chattah, pesha, and avone. Chattah is a word which means to miss the mark. It expresses the desire of someone to do what is right, but they simply fall short. Pesha means rebellion and it refers to someone who knew what was right and went the wrong direction anyways. Avone is a Hebrew word meaning perversity. It refers to perverting a situation to justify your own sin. It can also convey the intent of a person who knew what was right and chose to go the other way because they did not want to do right.
When we repent, we want to be specific. We want to repent not just for the action, but for the motivation behind the action.
In Psalms 32:5, David wrote: “I acknowledged my sin (chattah) unto thee, and mine iniquity (avone) have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions (pesha) unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity (avone) of my sin. Selah.” In this passage, David is reflecting on His sin with Bathsheeba. He asks God to forgive His chattah, pesha, and avone. He admits that he missed the mark, had rebellion in his heart against God’s commandments, and that he had perverted the situation to justify his sin.
Praise God, we have a promise in Exodus 34:7 that God will forgive us of these things when we repent! In the verse God said that He is “…maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness (avone), rebellion (pasha), and sin (chattah). Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
If we will simply confess our sin, we will receive forgiveness from Heaven, and the times of refreshing will come from Heaven (Acts 3:19). The times of refreshing come during the Feast days! After making your bricks without straw and facing your sin, you will need refreshing. The key is to be as introspective as possible. Look deep within your thoughts, intents, and motivations. Examine yourself outwardly as well. Do you portray the New Christ-like creature you were designed to be? Did you love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength? We know that the answer will likely be that we have not. Write these things down.
The level of your repentance is the level of the outpouring you are to receive during the Fall Feasts. Christ expressed His passion for us by taking the cross with its shame, pain, and disgrace. We show passion for Him by getting the sin out of our lives. In the Bible, there were always great God encounters when corporate repentance took place. In Hezekiah’s time, the people came together and repented of their sins. They celebrated the best Passover since the days of Solomon, which was 200 years before! In a like manner, Josiah rallied the people to corporate repentance. They had an even greater God encounter on Passover, which had not been experienced since the days of Samuel! Samuel lived about 80-100 years before Solomon’s reign began.
You want to burn the sin list the Sabbath before the Feast of Atonement.
You do this before Atonement so that you are as clean as possible going into this Feast Day. It is the Holiest Day of the Year.
At Hungry Hearts Ministries, we practice this. If you discuss this with our members, you will find that people have had life-changing experiences through this process. After putting sin lists in the fire, many people have seen the color red when they close their eyes. This is a vivid reminder of the blood of Jesus covering our sins and washing them away.