TITLE: No Sin = No Confession
DATE: June 27, 2019
TEXT: 1 John 1: 8-9 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
45 years ago, when I graduated from the seminary and was installed in my first parish, Saturday mornings were set aside to hear private confessions. For two months I waited, and for two months nobody came. When I asked my Elders “why?”, they replied: “Pastor, people are watching to see whose car is parked in front of the church. If the gossips see a car there on Saturdays they know the owner is confessing some big sin. Nobody wants the town to know they’ve got a big sin.”
From then on, private confession was come when you want.
Some time ago, the Archdiocese of Washington rented time on the radio, posted placards on buses and subways; and sent out 100,000 brochures to tell their membership about a program they called “The Light is On for You.” The program is designed to get people back into the confessional.
For those who have forgotten how to confess, every church member was given a card with step-by-step instructions. For those who haven’t been able to make regular confession times, every church was scheduled be open on Wednesday nights. I hope they have better luck than I did. .
For a number of reasons getting people to make private confession is a difficult proposition.
Ours is an age where some churches do their best to avoid any mention of sin, guilt, confession or absolution. Naturally if there is no sin, there is no need for confession
At the same time we must admit out free-wheeling (im)morality has produce nanny folks who think absolution from a Pastor or Priest is totally ineffectual and unnecessary. Adf to that the folks who believe confession is an antiquated relic from the middle ages
Of course there are always many who feel God has no right to convict their consciences of anything.
In spite of what some people believe, the Lord Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins and the condemnation which those transgressions had produced.
To minimize those sins, to pretend they are inconsequential is to lessen the sacrifice the Savior made for us.
Scripture is clear: ‘if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.’ We need to remember, as did the Psalmist, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Maybe Luther said it as well as any when he wrote in the Small Catechism: “What sins should we confess?
ANSWER: Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even those we are not aware of, as we do in the Lord's Prayer; but before the pastor we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts.” Then, having made our confession, we should rejoice and believe the Savior Who tells us, ‘I have come to save you from your sins. You are forgiven.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I confess to you all my sins and iniquities; that which I have done and left undone. Humbly I ask forgiveness, and rejoice that because of Jesus that forgiveness is already complete. For what He has done, and Your good grace, I give thanks. In the Savior’s Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html