Since we will gather for worship and to partake of Christ’s body and blood given and shed for the remission of our sins, it is indeed good and right that we examine ourselves in accord with 1 Corinthians 11:28-29: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
We do so this week on the basis of Psalm 32:1-6, where we read: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer … I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin … For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.”
When we have guile in our spirit – our hearts being self-deceived – and think that we have no sin which offends the LORD God and that we are not guilty before Him on the basis of His commandments, the only ones we are fooling is ourselves, for each and every one of us has sinned and come short of what God requires of each of us in His law (Rom. 3:23).
It is as David writes in Psalm 51:4: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
And when we keep silent about our sins, attempting to hide or cover them up and refusing to hear God’s Word and admit our guilt and the just condemnation we deserve, God’s hand weighs heavy upon us. Instead of joyful living, our lives become filled with depression and anger toward God and those who speak God’s Word.
But, when we confess our sins unto the LORD God, agreeing with the judgment pronounced in His Word that we are guilty and condemned by God’s holy commandments, God reaches out to us with His Gospel offering to us forgiveness and righteousness in another way – by faith in the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of His Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:7 – 2:2).
When we confess our sins unto the LORD and look to Him in faith for mercy, He forgives “the iniquity of our sin” for the sake of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all.
And the psalm urges all to repent and confess their sins to the LORD God that they might receive His forgiveness through faith in Christ Jesus: “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” Those who acknowledge their sin and guilt to the LORD and trust in Jesus and His blood shed upon the cross for pardon and forgiveness will not be swept away in God’s judgment. As believers in the crucified and risen Christ Jesus, they have forgiveness for all their sins and will not be condemned in God’s judgment but have everlasting life!
And so, I ask you before God: Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner and have sinned in thought, word and deed? Do you confess and agree with God that you are guilty and deserving of his wrath and punishment? Do you trust that Christ Jesus has truly redeemed you from the curse of God’s law? Do you also believe that Jesus, in the Sacrament, gives you to partake of His body and blood which were given and shed that your sins might be forgiven you? As a fruit of your faith, do you truly desire and seek God’s help to amend your life and live it in accord with God’s Word?
If you are truly sorry for your sins and look to Christ and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for pardon and forgiveness, I announce unto you the grace of God and, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.