Be-Still-ConfessionWe have been traveling this journey through Lent while studying some spiritual disciplines so that we can “Be still and know God.” Today we come to confession and then the result, which is forgiveness. Let me first say that at the very heart of God is a strong desire to give, as well as forgive. How can we not see this through the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ?

Let me tell you today; God wants to forgive you. Whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve said, wherever you’ve been, God wants to tell you this morning that it doesn’t matter. Confess all of that stuff to God and let him take care of it. Let the forgiveness of God wash over you and give you the new life that is promised to you.

Now, there are three things needed when we begin talking about confession.

We need to have an examination of conscience. We need to reflect on our lives and our actions, allowing not only ourselves to examine them, but also God. We need to allow God into all areas of our lives, all those dark places, all those hidden spots that we don’t want anyone else to see. Know that God sees all, but we still must confess in order to be forgiven.

There needs to be sorrow. We need to have a contrite heart, a heart that has a desire to do and say the right things. We need to feel sorrow for the times when we don’t. This is how we know that we are really repentant. This is how we know that we truly desire forgiveness. Peter, after denying Jesus three times, weeps and runs away. Sorrow grabbed a hold of him and he knew that he had done something terribly wrong.

And finally, there needs to be a determination to avoid sin. John Wesley once said; “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God…such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”

We need to have in our hearts, a disgust for sin. We need to fear it so much that when we are in the very presence of it, we do all we can to avoid it. We need to speak out against it. Whether it is in our own lives or of those around us. Identify it, fear it, run from it, confess and eliminate it from your life.

Confession is naming all of those places in our lives when we have fallen short of the glory of God; all those times when we have sinned against God. We hear the prodigal son proclaim that to his father as he tells him; “Father, I have sinned against God and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

The son confesses, face to face, with his father. He tells him all that he has done, and that he no longer feels worthy. He no longer feels worthy to be called a son, a relative, or a friend. The son now wants to be treated like a servant. But the father does something amazing. He tells the other to put a ring on his son’s finger, get a nice robe for him, and killed the fatted calf because they were going to celebrate that night. For this son who was lost is now found, he has returned, and the father sacrifices everything for him. He sacrifices his reputation, more of his estate, and risks relationships with other members of the family.

As the son returns home, the father sees him far off and runs to him, grabbing him and wrapping his arms around him. This is the sign of Agape love, an unconditional, extravagant, and maybe even reckless love. And this is a story about how God loves us! He loves us so much, that he sacrifices everything in order to regain the relationship he once had with humanity. To reconcile each one of us back to him. God puts everything on the line to make it possible for us to confess and be forgiven. God spared no expense, no reputation, set no limits on welcoming us back to that relationship. God sent his only son, to die. God sacrificed Jesus Christ, for our sake. Jesus died on the cross so that you and I could be forgiven. It’s already been done. Why would we want to push that aside, thinking that we can handle this life on our own, when we don’t have to.

Jesus willingly gave up his life so that we can approach, confess, and be forgiven of all that we’ve done wrong. This isn’t a guilt trip, because we’re all in the same boat. Paul tells us that we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God, we’ve all sinned. But we don’t have to live in our sin. We have a loving God that desires to forgive us, that desires to reconcile us to him, that desires to welcome us home, put a family ring on our hand, a robe on our back, and throw a huge party in our honor. All this because of the forgiveness that is offered on the cross by the spotless lamb of God, Jesus Christ.