April 23

1 John 1:8-2:2

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” vss. 8-9

For some these are familiar words. They were once said by pastors as an invitation to confession in nearly every regular worship service. We might not have known them as bible verses, but we accepted that they were true. At the core of our faith, this is what we believe. First of all we are sinners–all of us–there are no exceptions. And secondly, if we confess our sins God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It all seems straightforward and true–and yet we wonder. We wonder about the “if”! Is God’s forgiveness really contingent upon our confession? And does the rote repetition of the same words Sunday after Sunday really constitute a genuine confession? Shouldn’t the experience be more wrenching and humiliating? Sometimes we’re not even thinking about what we’re saying! And yet the words are true. There is forgiveness in God–that’s really the best news ever. But maybe the forgiveness is there even before our confession! That’s what Jesus said in his parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s what we discover when we turn back to God–before we’ve even said a single word. This doesn’t mean confession is unimportant–of course it is. It’s good for the soul. But forgiveness does not hang on it! That’s God’s gift whether we confess or not!

Thought for the Day: What part does confession play in my life?

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