In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, this church opens wide her doors and offers welcome to all who are spiritually weak and seek rest; to all who mourn and long for comfort; to all who struggle and desire victory; to all who sin and need the Savior; to all who are strangers and want fellowship; to all who hunger and thirst after righteousness; to all who are poor in spirit and desire the riches of the gospel; and to whomsoever will come to Jesus Christ in living faith and repentance, looking to him as Lord and Liberator.
Confession of Sin
- Written by: Rich Lusk
- Category: Liturgy
Near the beginning of the liturgy each week, we confess our sins. Think of this confession as the welcome mat where you wipe your feet clean before entering God’s presence. God washes our feet on our way into his house.
As we confess our sin, we kneel because it is appropriate for us to humble ourselves before God. Kneeling is an outer sign of inner contrition, and actually encourages inner contrition. Our bodies certainly express emotion, but we can also use our bodies to shape emotion so that we feel what we ought to feel.
The point of confessing sin in the liturgy is not to check a box. It is to acknowledge in our hearts and with our voices that we are sinners and deserve wrath and hell if left to ourselves. We have broken God’s law and so we deserve to be broken and shattered by God’s judgment.
But then having confessed our sin, we hear these words of encouragement, of comfort, of absolution, of forgiveness:
Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ: Know surely, your sins are fully and freely forgiven! Believe the gospel and rejoice in the hope of eternal life. Amen!
As I announce these words, I am making a declaration as Jesus’ representative. You should receive those words as if they were spoken by Jesus himself from heaven. These words are spoken with Spiritual power, to loose you from your sins.
And so as you cling to those words by faith, you can be assured you are clean and your guilt is taken away. Trust those words. Rest in them.
The words of absolution remind you of your baptism, where God made a perpetual promise of cleansing to you. Much of the Christian life is a matter of remembering your baptism; the words of absolution are a weekly reminder. Further, those words remind you you of Christ’s blood, they remind you that God’s wrath has been turned away, they remind you are a new creation, with new power to obey and new freedom to truly love. Those words of absolution are the gospel applied to you.
Christians are not people who never sin. We are people who know what to do with our sin: We take it to God in confession and he takes it away. We take it to Jesus and his cross, and he covers it forever.