Be Still and Repent

Each week, this time of exhortation leads us into a moment of corporate confession and then a brief interlude of private confession. Usually, by the time I get to that moment of silence, I’m ready for it. The exhortation may have shed much-needed light on an area of repentance in my life or perhaps I have some unrelated sin on my mind, but either way I’m ready to confess it. Every once in a while, however, we get to that time of private confession and I’ve got nothing. My mind is blank. I suspect this might happen to you, as well.

Sometimes that happens because that moment of silence was the first time in your whole week when everything was quiet. Maybe you didn’t know what to do with that. Or maybe that moment was not quiet at all because you were chasing a toddler down the center aisle. There are benign reasons for drawing a blank during the time of confession, but it’s important that we don’t shrug off those blank moments too quickly. There may be good reason to linger and ask questions: "Why can’t I think of anything to confess?", "How often do I confess my sins?", "When was the last time I confessed any sin to God?", "What was it?"

The Bible is clear that the life of a Christian this side of glory is a life of repentance, a life of turning away from sin and to Jesus. If your life is not marked by repentance for specific sins, you have to find out why.  The stakes are too high to ignore.

One possible reason for your lack of repentance is that you do not believe you have any sin to confess. Now, we would never say it that way out loud, right? We wouldn’t declare ourselves sinless, would we? But do we? By the way that we live? When we live our lives however we see fit, regardless of what our Bible says, we find ways to justify all that we do. From there we move from justifying ourselves to making ourselves the judge of right from wrong. And if we get that far, it’s not a great leap to declare ourselves sinless.

God’s word will not let us get away with that. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” This is scary because it implies that if your life is not marked by repentance, you may not be a Christian. If the truth is in you; if you know who God is and who you are you will know that you are a sinner and in desperate need of a savior. Our rescue comes in the very next verse. Verse 9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This reminds us of our need to confess our sins.