Confession and Renewal

Receiving Grace

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Sometimes during vacation, my husband and I visit a different church. This year we visited a church I would call liturgical—they follow a certain ritual every week. Since the church’s order of worship was unfamiliar, I was struck by a certain part of the service they called “renewal.”

The renewal began with a congregational prayer of confession. The prayer was excellent and covered almost every sin in a general way. A time of silent private prayer followed. Each person was supposed to confess his own specific sins.

The word confess comes from a compound Greek word homolego meaning “same” and “speak.” When we confess, we say the same thing as God says, namely, that we are sinners, guilty as accused.

But the renewal segment of the worship service didn’t end there. The congregation read Romans 5:1-2 to signify a time of “receiving of grace,” a reminder that when we confess our sins we receive forgiveness and grace (1 John 1:9). The next part of the renewal was a reminder that “this is the word of the Lord,” and all responded in thanksgiving.

Fancy names are used for all these steps, but all the steps are important and should be a regular part of our lives.

When we omit one part, our lives may become unbalanced. If we don’t confess our sins, we may feel no guilt even when it’s appropriate. Without a “receiving of grace,” we may be overwhelmed when confronted with guilt or feel “I’m the only one who is such a wretched sinner.”

Recently God confronted me about a sin I was allowing in my life. When I saw it, I was devastated. How could I do such a horrible thing? That Sunday, visiting the other church, I was reminded that we are all sinners who need grace, and we need to be renewed by accepting God’s grace.

When was the last time you confessed your sins and said, “Thanks be to God for his marvelous grace”?

DIG DEEPER:

Read Romans 3:19-24 and 1 John 1:8-10. Who is a sinner? How can we be cleansed from sin?

Read Hebrews 7:17-28. What is the role of Jesus Christ? What characteristics set him apart from the Israelite priests of the Old Testament?

Read Zechariah 3:1-5. God gave another picture of the work of Jesus Christ to the prophet Zechariah. Who is described in this scene and what are they doing? How does Joshua the high priest become clean?

Nancy J. Baker

This devotion is part of our Dig into Prayer series.

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