A Culture of Confession

“But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. “My son, give me thing heart” (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brother, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Confession and Communion in Life Together.

We have spent so much time in religion demanding behavior that the end has been a lack of transparency and a guarding of our true selves from our community. Growing out of that is a lack of Christian community; community based on mutual confession and clinging to the cross of Christ. We become, rather unintentionally, self-righteous in our good works and modified behavior which is in itself, no righteousness at all. Have we lost our call to repentance; the continual call of the life of a believer? To regain that, we will confess to one another. Not in some glory seeking way but earnestly among brothers that we might experience the grace of forgiveness as reveal through the body of Christ.

“He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone.” This is how Bonhoeffer begins his chapter on Confession and it is true. Christian community is not surprised by the gravity of sin because we know the gravity of the cross. An ounce of repentance and confession in our churches will bring such a flow of grace that we will speak of it as revival. Shall we be about it?

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