Perhaps one of the more misunderstood and feared aspects of our Christian life.
It’s not included in many worship services. Perhaps because many people don’t understand it or are scared of it. After all, confession can conjure up scary images of people spilling their guts at an open mic. Too much information.
Or we see confession as sitting in a booth and spilling our deep dark secrets to a spiritual leader.
But, confession is a valuable part of the worship experience.
Consider the Scriptures:
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)
Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. (Psalm 24:3-4)
1 Corinthians 11:26-29 points us to the value of self-examination before communion.
Psalm 51 is a heartfelt cry of David as he deals with sin and confession before God.
Confession is about recognizing when we have fallen short, admitting and acknowledging sin, and drawing to Jesus to receive forgiveness and cleansing in a time of need.
Sometimes it needs to happen individually, and sometimes it needs to happen corporately. At times the nation of Israel needed to confess their corporate actions before God. And sometimes churches need to confess attitudes and actions that have taken hold.
Confession must happen before repentance. I believe confession must also happen as a precursor to true spiritual worship. If our lives are full of sin, then it will be hard to worship in spirit and in truth. As Isaiah recognized the presence of God in Isaiah 6, he immediately recognized his sinfulness and confessed before God.
Before he worshiped or responded to God.
Confession forces us to deal with the seriousness of our sin before a holy and just God. At the same time, confession isn’t about making us feel scummy. We have a mediator, Christ Jesus, who stands before God and intercedes on our behalf.
And because of that we can confess directly to God. We don’t need to do it through someone else. And we can lead others to do the same as worship leaders and pastors.
Confession allows us to again remember and live in the amazing grace and mercy of God found in the forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
And the great thing about confession? We don’t have to wonder if it works. Forgiveness is guaranteed. God won’t hold our sin against us.
I don’t know if confession is a part of your worship services. If not, I encourage you to consider incorporating it. How, you might wonder? Come back tomorrow and I’ll offer five (non-scary) ideas for including confession in a worship service.
Until then, answer these questions in the comments:
Is confession a part of your corporate worship experience? Your private worship times?
What does it look like?