As we gather in this time of corporate worship, we follow the plan of Covenant Renewal found throughout the Scripture. Having been brought into the presence of God in all His holiness, we are reminded of our sinfulness, our shortcomings, our compromises, and we are reminded of our need to repent. Paul warns us that there is a sorrow of the world, a fake repentance, that produces death. People are truly sorry, but they are sorry for the consequences of their sin, they are sorry they have been caught, they are sorry that they are getting in trouble – but they are not sorry in a godly way. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. This is a sorrow that hates the sin, that hates the distance it has made in their fellowship with God who is their Savior, their Friend, their Shepherd, their Stronghold – and they want back – they want the joy of their salvation returned.
Worldly sorrow – the fake kind – can easily creep in here because we have scheduled it. Sunday confession can become a stepping stone to religious-speak, to going through motions, to saying things with your mouth while your heart is far from God. Don’t do that. In the name of Jesus, do not do that.
Instead, remember again where you have come, what is required of you, and all that is provided for you. What is it that is distracting you this instant from giving your full attention and your full devotion to the Lord? Throw that bauble far from you – it is not worth it – it will never satisfy – it will never solve any issue – it will never please – the way the Lord Himself will care for, will satisfy, will take care of, will listen and hear and respond, and will draw near to you as you draw near to Him.
But this does mean you have to be aware of your sin, your sins, and your sinfulness. But this is a gift; godly repentance is a gift, and if you are in Jesus Christ, then you are summoned to take hold of that gift again and be cleansed, brought near, raised up, be nurtured and fed and equipped, for all that you need for life. Come and worship – but come and confess first as you do so – for you have come to the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords.