Why Do We Confess?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!

Psalms 106:6

For the most part, Psalm 106 is an extended confession of sin. The anonymous writer begins by saying “Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!” (106:6). Then, for the next 34 verses, he chronicles some of Israel’s most conspicuous and grievous sins.

Why did the psalmist do this? Why did he tell God what God already knew by confessing the sins of Israel? What good did this accomplish?

And, for us, should we confess our sins? If so, why? Given that God already knows all that we have done, and given that we are forgiven through Christ’s death and nothing that we do, why bother with confession?

A quick answer to this question might simply quote biblical imperatives that tell us to confess our sins (for example, James 5:16). Or, we might note that people throughout Scripture confess their sins, so we should follow their example.

But, deeper reflection suggests that, as the saying goes, “confession is good for the soul,” and even more than just the soul. Truly, our forgiveness comes from God’s grace in Christ, expressed in Christ’s death for us. We don’t earn forgiveness by confessing. But, when we tell God what we have done to dishonor him, we open our souls to receiving our forgiveness in ways we can comprehend. What is ours in truth becomes ours in experience.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What difference has confession of sin made in your life and work? Has it helped you to experience God’s grace in those contexts? What if you took some time today to confess?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the example of Psalm 106. I appreciate this example of confession. It reminds me of the freedom and joy that come through confessing my sin. And, frankly, it reminds me that I’m overdue for a time of extended confession.

I thank you that my forgiveness rests on your grace in Christ, not on anything I do, including confession. But when I confess, Lord, I avail myself of what your grace offers. I am reassured of my forgiveness, and I am freed from the grip of guilt on my heart.

All praise be to you, gracious, forgiving, merciful God. I pray in the name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


Aligning Talents with Dreams

This article is part of a series at The High Calling on Aligning Talents with Dreams. We’re talking about dreams—both big and small—that flow from an intimate relationship with God. And our talents? It’s the way God’s made us, though we may have to sharpen our raw talents into skills. Ideally, we’re equipped with talents to support the dream we’re given. But often, life’s timing isn’t perfect. Maybe we’re waiting to discover the dream, or maybe we’re waiting to develop the talent more fully. What’s it like when our talents and dreams converge? How can we get there? What can we do in-between, when we’re waiting? Join us as we discuss our God-given talents and dreams. Why not encourage others to join the conversation by sending these articles through email, social media or jumping into the comments at our website?

Featured image above by Cristina L. F.. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.