Confession

Simil Justus et Peccator: Saints Are Still Sinners (Part 2)

Detail from Saint Peter Penitent, Gerard van Honthorst (1592 - 1656)

Read Part 1.

An Urgent Petition: “seek your servant”

Basically, this is a prayer for spiritual restoration. The psalmist has strayed from the “paths of righteousness,” and he cries out for the Great Shepherd to rescue him. He wants forgiveness, and he wants to know again the joy of his salvation. As he makes his petition he’s conscious of at two realities:

He Needs Grace

He’s pleads for God’s gracious intervention: “seek your servant.” He not only acknowledges his wayward heart, but he confesses his own inability to do anything about it (cf. 33-37). Taken together, the psalmist’s confession and petition are very similar to a prayer of Saint Augustine: “Lord, to sin I am able. But I am not able to return.” This is the prayer of a man who puts no confidence in the flesh but whose trust is in the Lord.

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Simil Justus et Peccator: Saints Are Still Sinners (Part 1)

Detail from Saint Peter Penitent, Gerard van Honthorst (1592 - 1656)

Christian biographies are a great means of edification and godliness. And yet, their benefits aren’t free from dangers. One danger that comes to mind is that of developing an unrealistic view of the Christian life. Often, Christian biographers maximize the virtues and minimize the faults of the saints. The picture they paint has too rosy a hue. We can partly understand this. Obviously, we want to view Christians in the best light. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. We want to showcase their faithfulness to God. But we can come away with the idea that genuine Christians rarely, if ever, commit sin. This perspective begins to affect the way we view ourselves and one another.

Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t make that mistake. While it does extol the virtues of the saints, it also exposes their sins. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Peter were all great men of God. And their godly lives are worthy of imitation. However, the Bible doesn’t hesitate to present the other side of the story as well. Though it portrays these men as eminent saints, it also portrays them as sinners. Perhaps nowhere is this reality stated more concisely than in the last verse of Psalm 119, which reads,

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments (119:176 ESV1).

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God Forgave My Sins. Why Do I Need to Keep Asking for Forgiveness?

"...the New Testament authors apparently don’t think the once-for-all forgiveness (justification) conflicts with the need for ongoing forgiveness (sanctification). This can be seen not only in the Lord’s Prayer, but also in 1 John 1:9: 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'" - TGC

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Are Daniel and Ezra Models of Corporate Repentance for Historic Sins?

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been preparing a review of Latasha Morrison’s Be the Bridge book and Bible study materials. In so doing, I’ve been reading her recommended resources, and have been struck by how central the following claim is to this genre of “racial reconciliation” material: “members of a group have the responsibility to confess and seek reconciliation on behalf of that group for sins that those members themselves may not have even personally committed.”

I went back and forth on whether I should post this portion of my critique separate from my full review of Be the Bridge, or leave it inside the longer review (which is posted here). I decided to run it separately because while it is only a small component of Be the Bridge, this theme reoccurs in other resources. In other words, I’ve encountered a repeated argument that white people have a responsibility to confess the sin of racism that other white people have committed in the past, to repent for those sins, and then to seek reparations on behalf of those wronged by the sin.

So today I want to address that specific argument. Then, in my review of Be the Bridge, I can refer back to this post here.

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Pope: Confess sins directly to God if no priests available during virus pandemic

"A Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, including confession, called the Apostolic Penitentiary, issued a notice Friday, stating that though absolution of sin is the usual means through which sins are forgiven by a priest, in times of 'grave necessity,' such as now with the ongoing spread of the virus, other solutions are needed... Confession is considered a sacrament in the Catholic Church." - CPost

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