“I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled [praised] with my tongue. If I regard iniquity [sin] in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
CONFESSION THEN TRUE WORSHIP published week of jUNE 6, 2021
Two men, a Native American and a white man, were both listening to a sermon that deeply moved them. Later that evening, the Native American received Jesus Christ as his Savior; but for days the white man refused to accept Christ. After a few weeks, the white man also repented and enjoyed the sweet peace of having his sins forgiven. Later he asked his Native American friend, “Why did it take me so long, while you responded right away?”
“My brother,” he replied, “I can best explain it by this little story: At one time, a rich prince wished to give each of us a new coat. You shook your head and replied, ‘I don’t think so; mine looks good enough.’ When he made the same offer to me, I looked at my old blanket and said, ‘This is good for nothing,’ and gratefully accepted the beautiful garment. You wouldn’t give up your own righteousness. But knowing I had no goodness of my own, I immediately received the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness.”
This is a good illustration of what biblical confession of sin is all about. Confession of sin means giving up our own righteousness. After all, when we truly confess our sins to God, there is no room for arguments, self-righteousness or excuses. True confession is not a one-time event, but rather a lifestyle. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will constantly be revealing hidden sin in our hearts and we will constantly be agreeing with Him and turning from it.
Psalm 66:17-18 tells us with great certainty an important truth that is often overlooked in the Christian community. These verses say that if there is unconfessed sin in our hearts, the Lord will not receive our worship. Notice the contrast in these verses of what is on the tongue, and what is in the heart. God is much more concerned with the state of our hearts than with outward praise. He desires – and deserves – to be fully worshiped in truth. When we exalt Him with our lips, but our hearts hide known sin, we are nothing but liars. True worship begins in the heart. This explains why confession is so important. We cannot see God clearly, know Him fully, or enjoy Him abundantly if we are entertaining sin in our heart. The Lord stands ever waiting to receive our confession and shower us with His amazing grace . . . if only we are willing to give up our own righteousness in exchange for His righteousness.
“Heavenly Father, I know that there is no good in me me apart from You. Please reveal any hidden sin in my heart so that I may come to You in honest confession and pure worship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”