Why bother with confession? Well, I'll tell ya. I want to have a meaningful relationship with God, but it seems like almost everyday I get drug down by what I like to call the "Diabolical D's," Doubt, Discouragement and Depression. All three of these are things that reveal that I don't really trust God and they erode away my bond with Him.
Why else? Well, I'll tell ya. I'd like to be useful to God, an instrument which He can use to share His love, forgiveness and promises with other people. But it seems like everyday I get side-tracked by my own appetites. Instead of being satisfied with His lavish gifts of grace, salvation, and all kinds of blessings, I my insecurity and selfishness have me constantly almost frantically trying to binge on pride, anger, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth and envy.
And of course, the more I try to fill that God-shaped hole with these forms of ungodly indulgence, the worse I feel, the more I need God.
I need confession because my selfish, human thoughts words and deeds undermines my relationship with God and tampers my relationships with others.
The liturgy of confession and absolution we used in church today made it pretty clear.
"...we cannot free ourselves from our sinful condition." When we admit that to God in prayer, that's confession. And when "we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)." God gives us a fresh start.
Romans 7:7-257But I can hear you say, "If the law code was as bad as all that, it's no better than sin itself." That's certainly not true. The law code had a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, "You shall not covet," I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it.
8-12Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.
13I can already hear your next question: "Does that mean I can't even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?" No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God's good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.
14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.
17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.