Wednesday of the 15th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Malachi 3:6-4:6; Matthew 4:12-25

What is Confession? Confession has two parts. First, that we confess our sins, and second, that we receive absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven. (Small Catechism: Confession)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We say it all the time, "I, a poor, miserable sinner confess unto You..." Week in and week out we say that we are by nature sinful and unclean, that we've sinned in thought, word, and deed. We can handle the idea that we're sinners. After all, the Bible says so, and we have to agree with that, right? But we don't like that we have sins. Real sins. Flesh and blood sins. With our flesh and blood, mouths, bodies, and minds we've sinned. We've hurt real flesh and blood people, used them, treated them badly. We have real flesh and blood sins that we commit daily and much, and we have those sins rotting in the closets of our consciences--skeletons we hope never see daylight.

This is why we don't like confession. We're ashamed by what we've done, and we think that confession is embarrassment time. We think God invites confession so that He can shame us. But that's just our old Adam talking. He wants to stay hidden. He wants our sins to rot and fester. He wants to hang on to them, to hide them, and to make up for them. He may even try to use our own confession to do so!

But confession is there to take out the trash, to remove your burden of sin, and to take away your shame. The Lord isn't going to cast you out because of your sin. He knows you've done it anyway. He calls you to Himself for you to confess what you've done--not to embarrass you but to forgive you. He says, "That sin, that exact one, the one you've done again and again, again and again, the one you're ashamed of, it's forgiven. Jesus has died for it. His blood covers it. He left it in the tomb. He rose and left your sins behind." You hear this when your pastor says, "In the stead and by the command of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Amen.

From Your own mouth comes forth a word; Your shepherd speaks, but You are heard; Through him Your hand now stretches out, Forgiving sin, destroying doubt. (Baptismal Waters Cover Me, LSB 616:4)

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