Communion Letter: July 25th
Dear Family at Christ Community,
On Sunday, we will hear from Romans 3:5-8 the danger of ignoring our ongoing need for confession of sin and repentance. The Lord’s Table will invite us to remember our forgiveness and resurrection to newness of life in Christ. Both of these realities make our ongoing confession of sin effective in freeing us from present shame, guilt, and fear. J. Ligon Duncan, III has a helpful description of our ongoing need for confession and repentance that is worthy of our meditation in preparation for communion. He wrote in his essay on Matthew Henry’s A Method of Prayer in The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritans edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason:
Indeed (Matthew) Henry knew that there were at least four biblical reasons why Christians must continue to confess sin. First, believers, though united to Christ, still sin. Hence to be realistic we must acknowledge it (Rom. 6:12; 1 Jn 1:8). Second, repentance is not a one-time past action in the Christian life; it is an ongoing project (1 Jn 1:9; Rev 2:5). We will not be finished with repenting until this life is over and the age to come has arrived. Third, sin is essentially displeasing to God. True, he has dealt with the punishment we deserved for our sin at the cross, but this does not make sins committed by believers any less displeasing to God (indeed all the more). The Lord does not take pleasure in evil. So when believers sin the Lord is displeased. This displeasure with sin will not be eradicated until he eradicates sin in all the saints in the last day (1 Jn 3:4). Thus we confess our sins as grieving to our loving and longsuffering heavenly Father. Fourth, the goal of our salvation is not rescue from hell, or even justification. It is holiness and the glory of God (2 Cor 5:21). Until that goal is achieved, there will always be baggage in our lives that will have to be left behind (and which needs to be repented of) before we enter glory. For all these reasons, it is important that believers confess their sins in prayer, privately and congregationally.
Take time to give thanks for your access to God’s throne to receive both mercy and grace as needed because of Christ’s atoning work on your behalf. Confess the ways in which you have made your glory and righteousness greater than God’s. Ask the Spirit to show you where pride keeps you from loving God and your neighbors in humility as you have been forgiven and loved. Repent of both, and rest in Jesus’ forgiveness that restores you to God. Walk in newness of life in the power of the Holy Spirit granted in the resurrection of Christ. Come to worship free of your sinful burdens through confession expecting your faith to be nourished because of God’s faithful promise to do so through His means of grace!