Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Confession and the Lenten Life

At the beginning of our service, we confess our sins every week, but this is not an invitation to save up all your sins for Sunday. If you come here with a pile of sins to confess then you really must confess all of those sins and the sin of waiting until now to confess them all. This confession in this service is a reminder to you to always be confessing your sins immediately as you are confronted with them. And in the off chance that you walked in here this morning huffing and puffing about something or another make it right now. And if you snapped at your husband or wife or one of the kids at the soonest opportunity ask their forgiveness. Confession of sin does not happen only once in the Christian life. There is not just one cataclysmic conversion with tears and long laundry list of sins to confess and viola! You’re a Christian and everything is bright and shiny from then on. Sometimes God does confront people like Saul in a sudden mid-life sort of way which presents the need for a great mountain of confession at that point. But the entire Christian life, which normally lasts from your baptism when you were a newborn baby to your last dying breath in old age is an entire life of conversion, an entire life of confession and repentance. Saving sins up for Sunday is a miniature version of revivalism, the heresy that thinks it can put the Spirit of God in a bottle only to be unleashed on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9pm. And we must not be so dull as to think that that cannot happen with a season like Lent. It is important to take regular and scheduled opportunities to reflect and take inventories of our lives, and make proper confession and repentance as needed. And that is what our weekly confession is for; that is what Lent is for. But it most certainly does not mean that you are off the hook the rest of the week or the rest of the year. We do this as regular reminder, even a profession of faith, that we are sin confessing people. So don’t come here and go through the motions of confessing your sins and go out there and live like a hypocrite. If you confess your sins here, you must go right on confessing them as you leave here today and as you get up tomorrow morning. You are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Do not quench the Spirit by saving sin up, and thereby cluttering up your Temple. Confess your sins regularly, constantly, continually offering the sacrifices of God.

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