If we understand that God is holy and perfect, it determines how we think about forgiveness. A wrong view of God will surely undermine our approach to confession.
On Sunday at College Park Church, we walked through 1 John 1:5-2:2 as we looked at the subject of forgiveness. We learned that our view of God, life, ourselves, and Jesus affect the way we approach confession of sin.
For many of us, our view of God is probably too small, too limited, too much like us, and too tame. A low view of God causes us to dabble with sin, tolerate hypocrisy, justify our short-comings, and spend very little time confessing our sins to him. Just think of all the things that you will pray about this week.
What percentage of time will you spend asking God to change your circumstances versus spending time in confession?
In order to model this in our worship service, we dedicated a time for reading a prayer of confession written by Bob Kauflin. We adapted it by adding an assurance of pardon at the end.
I commend this prayer to you not only for corporate worship but also for personal reflection:
ALL: Holy and righteous God, we confess that like Isaiah, we are a people of unclean lips. But it is not only unclean lips we possess. We are people with unclean hands and unclean hearts. We have broken your law times without number, and are guilty of pride, unbelief, self-centeredness and idolatry. Affect our hearts with the severity of our sin and the glory of your righteousness as we now acknowledge our sins in your holy presence.
LEADER: We have had other gods before you.
ALL: We have worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.
We have sought satisfaction in this world’s pleasures rather than in You.
We have loved to praise our own glory more than yours.
LEADER: We have taken your name in vain.
ALL: We have prayed religious prayers to impress others.
We have uttered your name countless times without reverence or love.
We have listened to others use your name in vain without grieving.
LEADER: We have murdered in our hearts.
ALL: We have often destroyed our neighbor with our tongues.
We have been quick to uncharitably judge others.
We have considered revenge when we were sinned against.
LEADER: We have committed adultery with our eyes.
ALL: We have loved temptation rather than fighting it.
We have lusted after unlawful and immoral pleasures.
We have justified our lusts by using the world as our standard.
LEADER: We have stolen what is not ours and coveted what belongs to others.
ALL: Our lives overflow with discontent, ungratefulness, and envy.
We have complained in the midst of Your abundant provision.
We have sought to exalt ourselves through owning more.
LEADER: We have lied to you and to others.
ALL: We have told distorted truths, half-truths, and untruths.
We have despised the truth to make ourselves look better.
Even in our confession, we look for ways to hide our guilt.
LEADER: O God, we have sinned against your mercy times without number. We are ashamed to lift up our faces before you, for our iniquities have gone over our heads. If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? How shall we answer you? We lay our hands on our mouths. We have no answer to your righteous wrath and just judgment.
ALL: We have no answer. But God Himself has mercifully provided one for us.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
LEADER: Hear the Good News. The LORD, our God, is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. God hears the earnest cries of the repentant and forgives our sins. Amen