“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
Fifth in a Series–
The Confession of Sins
“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
These words of the Prophet David are spoken in keen recognition of the fact that we are no match for Satan, his followers, and their evil designs. He begins the psalm by confessing: “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive. . . . ” (Ps. 124:2-3a).
Every day, each second of our lives, we are in need of God’s help. We need to hear the Lord speaking to us from His Word constantly. His Word is His Name–and there is where we will find our help in every need. In “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword . . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:35,37).
Whatever may be our circumstance in life, we should recognize that our “Help” is ready and able to aid us. For this is the One “who made heaven and earth.” He it is who spoke, and the world became. He commanded and the heavenly bodies took their place. His “let there be” formed every tiny molecule of life–and man was created the crown of all creation. As Solomon advises: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem” (Prov. 18:10).
In the midst of an adulterous and sinful world which challenges and threatens our trust in the LORD GOD, we need to be reminded and openly confess, “Our help is in the name of the LORD who made heaven and earth.”
“I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5b).
The Prophet David knew from experience what agony of heart and mind sin causes. His sins of adultery and murder together with all of his other transgressions of thought, word, and deed, caused him to cry out, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4).
Words cannot express the essential importance of heartfelt penitence–true recognition of our sins and what we deserve because of them. “The wages of sin (regardless of how small they may seem or how huge they are) is death” (Rom. 6:23)–spiritual, physical, and eternal death. Sin is rebellion against God who has done nothing but love us. How dare anyone treat this matter lightly! How dare anyone who professes to be a child of God treat sinning like a game one plays with God with no heartfelt sorrow and no genuine desire to make amends!
It shall ever be true that “to whom little is forgiven the same loves little” (Lk. 7:47b). If one’s sins are treated as little or of no account, then forgiveness will likewise be a matter of little or no account. Similarly, if one’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus is of little or no importance, one’s thankful love will be negligible or non-existent.
As we make this confession, may each of us have a mental picture of the lifeblood flowing from the sacred veins of the Lord’s Christ for us. May each of us say, “That is what my sin caused. There the price of my sin is paid. There I have perfect redemption, spiritual healing, total forgiveness.”
What a joyful blessing it was for David to realize: “Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” When he finally confessed his sin before Nathan the prophet (“I have sinned against the LORD”), Nathan was quick to assure him, “The LORD also has put away your sin” (2 Sam. 2:13). What a blessing to come to realize by faith that “Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Is. 1:18).
“Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against Thee by thought, word, and deed. . . .”
On behalf of the people, the minister begins the public confession of sins. It is addressed to the “Almighty God” who has created us and redeemed us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ poured out for us sinners upon Calvary’s tree. Our heartfelt confession to the Almighty recognizes that our sins are a result of 1) “that we are by nature sinful and unclean”; 2) “that we have sinned against Thee in thought, word, and deed.”
In other words, we recognize the scriptural truth that sin is in our genes, so to speak. We inherit it from our parents and we pass it on to our offspring. As the psalmist David recognizes by inspiration, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). As a result, we recognize that before God we cannot produce anything that is good. In His eyes “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6).
Out of a heart that is sinful comes forth sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. As the Lord Jesus tells us very clearly, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt. 15:19).
Where is hope? Where is mercy? How can we stand before God? “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24)
” . . . Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Without any merit or worthiness in us, we have just one place to take refuge, namely, in the “infinite mercy” of God and His “grace” (undeserved love) which He showers upon us “for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
–Pastor L. Dale Redlin