Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity – Wednesday
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —I John 1:8-9.
Connected directly with the Office of the Keys is Confession. Confession embraces two parts.
One is that we confess our sins. We are poor, miserable sinners, and remain such unto our dying hour. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We should repent of our sins and confess them with heart and mouth. This is the first part of Confession. The term “Confession” clearly indicates this.
The other part is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the pastor (or from whomever is hearing our confession) as from God Himself. We should in no wise doubt, but firmly believe that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven. For if we penitently confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as He has promised in His Word. And in Confession, God does this through the confessor (the one who hears the confession and pronounces the absolution).
To be sure, if a hypocrite comes to Confession and only with his mouth confesses his sins, but at heart is impenitent, he does not receive forgiveness of sins; for, not having faith, he naturally does not accept the grace of God, though it is offered to him, too, in absolution. What a salutary act of worship Confession is! There children of God come to their heavenly Father and penitently confess their sins, and implore grace for Christ’s sake; and the heavenly Father most mercifully and kindly forgives them all their sins.
Do not hesitate to confess your sins, dear Christian! You may use the following confessional prayer (the General Confession as found in our Hymnal and Catechism), and be certain that it has been granted.
PRAYER – O Almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserved Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray Thee, of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being. Amen.
Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth,
Our Shepherd is the Lord, and He
At last shall set His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow.
Hymn 415, 5. (ELHB)