Monday, November 22, 2010

Worship: Confession

Today we are taking a look at Confession. Confession is rarely our favorite aspect of worship. When we think of confession, we think primarily about sin and often confuse confession with repentance. Our scriptures today highlight two separate aspects of confession, one that seems to confirm our preconceived ideas and one which is completely outside the box of our confession definition, even though it is a very familiar scripture. Let’s start with that one first.

Romans 10:8b-13 "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart "-that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved ; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek ; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

Here we see that confession is a part of the process of salvation. But what is being confessed is Jesus is Lord. This is not dealing with sin. This is about proclaiming God’s truth in our lives. Confession from Old Testament and New is more about speaking out, proclaiming, declaring and standing on God’s truth than it is about sin.

In the NT the words for confession mean to speak out or the speak the same thing—to agree. When we confess the truth of Jesus' lordship we are saved. When we confess our sin we are in the truest sense of the word agreeing with God about our sin. He has set out what is sin—what is destructive and brings death in our lives. He knows all about our sin. When we confess our sin, we are not telling God anything that he did not already know. Rather we are agreeing with him openly and honestly declaring that we have allowed that destruction into our lives.

1 John 1:8-10 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

We see that God has already said we have sin. By denying that we have sin, we call him a liar. By confessing our sin, we are simply agreeing with God, speaking and declaring his truth over our lives. By being honest about our condition, by agreeing with God about our sin, we open the door for his redemptive work in us. If we deny our sin and disagree with God, we shut the door on forgiveness and healing and redemption, because we are saying we don’t need it. God is certainly not going to force us to receive what we believe we don’t need.

How do we live out our worship everyday including the concept of confession? Last week we talked about taking time to stop in awe and wonder when God reveals himself and sharing that experience with others. Similarly we can speak God’s truth, declaring it in our everyday lives. When we feel alone, we can confess to ourselves the truth that God is with us. When we face trouble we can confess to ourselves that God is caring for us. When we fall short, we can confess the truth that we have sinned and open the door for his healing.

By saying out loud what we believe we reaffirm that truth in our own lives and we testify to the truth in the lives of those around us. When we say to people, times are tough but my God will provide we testify to his faithfulness. When we say to people I feel so alone, but God is with me holding me up, we testify to his goodness. When we fall short and confess our sins before others, seeking their forgiveness as well, we testify to God’s available redemption and healing—both for us and for them. Go this week and live out your worship by Confessing his Truth in your life and the lives of those around you.

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