Friday, May 5, 2017

"We have erred and strayed from Thy ways..."

.... Confession is inherent to the Christian life. We approach the Lord as sinners who are loved and forgiven as his children. That’s simply who we are, according to the Christian gospel. If we neglect either of these truths, our Christian life is going to get distorted pretty quickly—so we want to remember both when we gather as church.

Here are four reasons why having a corporate confession matters:

1. It is worship that the Lord delights in
.... Every church is going to say that it worships God when it gathers. But we tend to associate worship with the more upbeat moments of the gathering—singing, inspiring preaching, etc. Yet one thing that honors the Lord and worships him rightly is humble confession; a contrite spirit. He looks in favor upon those who come before him and say, “We’re truly sorry and repentant.” ....

2. It is the shape of Christian living

The whole Christian life is one of repentance and faith. Repentance should deepen our delight in the gospel. Without it, our thanks for the cross is a vague pleasure in someone being kind to us. When we are penitent confessors we are acknowledging our deep need for Jesus. ....

3. It prevents self-righteousness

Corporate confession is a great leveler. It’s something every person in church does and so we’re declaring that all of us have fallen short of the glory of God and all of us need to come for forgiveness. A corporate confession prevents our “inner Pharisee” from looking around the room and saying: “God, I thank you that I’m not like…”

The corporate confession is a reminder that we need to be gracious to one another. Some of us hide our sin pretty well. But we all still have it. ....

4. The Bible models it

There are some obvious moments in the Bible when the people of God gather and express their collective guilt:
“The Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads … They stood in their places and confessed their sins.” (Nehemiah 9:1)
Then there a number of Psalms which were personal confession that have been turned into corporate songs to be sung when believers gather:
“For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2)

“You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 69:5)