As with anything we do regularly, this can become routine and rote, so let me ask you to consider two things this morning as we come to confession. First, don’t save up your sins for Sunday. God wants you to confess your sins right away, not wait until Sunday. And if you already confessed it, already sought forgiveness, and already made things right, don’t bring it up again here. If you’ve been forgiven, this is not a moment for you to pretend that you haven’t been forgiven. Sometimes, during the moment of silence for individual sins, there might not be anything that comes to mind, and it’s perfectly fine to ask the Lord to search you and show you if there’s anything that needs dealing with. But it’s not a moment for dredging up old stuff.
The second thing is to recognize how forgiveness works. Forgiveness is God’s promise not to hold your sin against you for the sake of Christ. And the gospel is clear: “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” This forgiveness is the aroma of the gospel. Many families and marriages and church communities begin to get a little rancid smell because they do not forgive one another. How does God forgive us? As far as the east is from the west, He has removed our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:12). He has cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:19).
Therefore, in a moment when I declare to you that your sins are forgiven through Christ, you must not only receive it for any of your individual sins, but you must also receive it for the forgiveness of your husband’s sins, your wife’s sins, your father’s sins, your mother’s sins, your brother, your sister, your grandparents, your employers, your roommate, especially if they have asked for it. And if they haven’t asked for it yet, you are to have that forgiveness in your heart for them, all ready for when they ask. How can you withhold from them what God gives you so feely?