Confession and Repentance
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:1-4)
Most of us know something is wrong with our world, our country, our communities, our families, and ourselves, but we are focused on remedies for symptoms instead of being cured from our dark disease called sin. We tend to think, speak, and act like David before he took Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed. We are inconsistent with the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, worship, and being light to the world because we often choose to waste time instead of doing the things we ought to do. Though the world is full of trouble, we have an opportunity to be more than conquerors. Every problem common to mankind can be solved if God’s people submit to His authority and align with His will, and the first place to start is in our prayer closets through confession and repentance of sin. Like Paul, if we want to experience real joy, we must learn to die daily by trusting God’s provision through Christ and living out our faith in thought, word, and action (1Corinthians 15:31).
Confession and repentance are a matter of trust, for we must believe God loves us and His ways are higher than ours before we can fully trust Him with our own highest aspirations and darkest secrets. The good news of the Gospel is in the covenant that God has provided to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of His beloved Son. The great I Am that spoke to Moses from the burning bush rejoices over us with singing and gives His best even when we are at our worst (Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 5:8).
Love gives us joy. Love gives us peace. Love gives us purpose. We trust God’s person and His promises, for we believe He wants us to flourish like a tree planted by rivers of water (Psalm 1:1-6). Confession and repentance are not about keeping lists or keeping scores but are responses to being in the presence of Holiness. When we experience God personally, it inspires us to be better versions of ourselves, for we become aware of how unclean we are (Isaiah 6:5).
Confession and repentance are essential to both salvation and to Kingdom living because of our relationships to God and people. When we come clean with God about our sin, it releases us from guilt and shame and into freedom and relationship. Confessing sin is acknowledging our breaking of God’s laws. Repentance is navigating our new lives with help from the Holy Spirit. Though it often means to turn and go in the opposite direction, repentance always means choosing God’s ways over every alternative. If we are far from God, changing our habits can take a great deal of body, soul, and Spirit effort, and maintaining relationship can seem monotonous or too difficult, so we must remain vigilant lest we fall. This is one reason we must assemble with others who are also contending for the disciplines of Kingdom living. Let us provoke and inspire each other to practice making a regular habit of confession and repentance as we put off the old man and put on the new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
– Richard Harwood from The Guild