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Posted by Dr. Scott Solberg on Feb 28, 2018

Confession and Worship

VERY QUICKLY, I CAN THINK OF TWO REASONS why confession of sin is a very important part of our worship. For starters, we still sin. While our relationship with Christ is secure in his covenant promise, like any other relationship, it requires confession when an offense is committed.

Secondly, Jesus instructs us to confess our sin. When he taught us to pray by giving us the Lord’s Prayer, he assumed that confession of sin would be normal expression of our prayers. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

One of the purposes of our weekly gathering for worship is to rehearse our hope in the gospel, the good news of Jesus. Confession of sin is an integral part of rehearsing the gospel, for there is no forgiveness of sin apart from an act of repentance and forgiveness. And furthermore, when it is done corporately, it is something to look forward to, and it does something to us.

Consider these thoughts by James K. A. Smith in his book Desiring the Kingdom.

“On the one hand, the moment of confession of sin is not something one would ever relish or enjoy. On the other hand, there is something about this moment of confession – this moment of imposed honesty.

In the context of worship of a hospitable God, with a gathered people who together confess their sin – there is something about such an action that can also be incredibly liberating…I find the act of confession, while it makes me uncomfortable, also gives honest voice to what I know about myself. It gives me words to an impulse I would rather repress.

While on one level I would rather not be reminded of all my failures and sins and violations, on another level, I never escape the knowledge of them, and the rite of confession makes room for honesty about that.

We might say that there is a strange sense in which we want to confess, we desire to confess, and these rhythms of confession recognize not only the need for confession but perhaps also this strange desire for confession.”

If you think about it, it is the confession of sin that leads me to find rest in Jesus. And when we do it corporately, it helps me love my brother and sister because my confession keeps me humble.

By the way, here is a good confession to pray even today: “Reconciling God, quickly I belittle others with my thoughts, insult with my words, hate with gestures, and kill with a look. Take a gospel axe to the root of all this hostility, and by the power of your Spirit grow me to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful and friendly, doing good to my neighbors and enemies alike. Amen.”