I beg your pardon, but I have one more word on this topic of confession:
“The wise prayer of confession always leads to an acceptance of God’s pardon.” George Buttrick
Coming clean before God isn’t simply airing out your dirty laundry.
(There are plenty of day-time talk shows available for that kind of thing.)
It also isn’t groveling in sackcloth and ashes, ruthlessly berating yourself.
(That just leaves us feeling hopelessly worse off than before.)
Doing the dirty work of unearthing our inner stinky garbage must be followed by heaving it into the trash can, rolling it out to the curb, watching the waste management truck squish it to smithereens and waving goodbye. Sure, there will be another load next week — all the more reason to stay on top of it — but God never fails to remove our confessed sins, as far as the east landfill is from the west landfill.
Although God invites us into forgiveness, it didn’t come without cost.
But He prepared and paid for it, so we dare not squander such a gift.
When I am invited over to a friend’s house for lunch, I don’t wait for the bill. I don’t ask her how much I owe her. I don’t leave a few dollars on the table for a tip. She paid for the food and she prepared the meal from a heart of joy for our friendship. Receiving her gift in the same spirit of joy is the only appropriate response.
As I wrap up my confession, I might say something like this:
“Lord, I’m so sorry that it took Your Son’s blood to pay the price for my sin, but since it’s been done and my sins have been completely paid for, I will not insult You by refusing to receive forgiveness. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.”
Then I preach to myself by speaking aloud an assurance from the Word. Any of these would do just fine.
- There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)
- Blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not count his sin. (Rom. 4:8)
- I, I am He who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isa. 43:25)
- If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness. (Ps. 130:3-4)
- In Him we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Eph. 1:7)
- If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)