Last week I drove down to Dearborn for a couple of evenings to sit in on the Annual Conference for the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. This year’s theme for the conference was Renew Our Strength, and its purpose was to renew the strength of those serving the Lord within the ministry of the local church. Each message and workshop was chosen to touch on a specific way in which someone at the conference may have needed to be renewed.

The first night I had the privilege of singing a song with my wife and oldest daughter. In light of the theme, we chose the song, A Mighty Fortress, and prayed that God would use it to encourage those who heard, to worship God for the way in which David described him in Psalm 18,

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” I constantly need to renew my strength in the truth of these verses.

The second night I had the privilege of listening to my friend and fellow minister of the gospel, Mark Shaw, preach a message from Psalm 51 where he encouraged us concerning renewing our strength through the confession of sin. Trying to serve Christ with undealt with and unconfessed sin in our lives is miserable and draining. I’ve tried, and maybe so have you. The only solution is genuine confession, and Psalm 51 is a great passage to teach us about genuine confession.

Let me encourage you with a reminder that Mark encouraged me with in his message two weeks ago. As you consider the first part of the Psalm, you notice that the first step of genuine confession is reminding ourselves concerning the character of God. Consider these words of David, who by the way was confessing his sin of adultery and murder, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Did you catch the aspects of the character of God that David spent time reminding himself of and thinking about? It wasn’t His holiness. It wasn’t His righteous wrath. It wasn’t His zeal for his own. It was His mercy, steadfast love, and grace.

Confession of our sin to God, that simply focuses on His holy wrath doesn’t lead to a lot of renewed strength, but instead it can be rather intimidating and discouraging. Because of the work of Christ on the cross, our sins have already been forgiven and we are a child of God’s. Confession of our sin then becomes a time where we acknowledge that we did something that God our Father has said is wrong; and that by doing it, we have disappointed Him. Confession is also a time for us to soak ourselves in God our Father’s abundant mercy, steadfast love, and grace.

While I believe that we all need to have a healthy fear of God in our lives, as it will be a deterrent to us sinning to begin with, I also believe that when we do sin we often focus on the wrong character traits of God. God doesn’t want us coming to Him in fear, but rather he wants us coming to Him in thanks for His grace, mercy, and steadfast love. It isn’t God’s holiness and righteous wrath that brings about healing in our relationship with Him when we involve ourselves in sin, it is His grace, mercy and steadfast love.

So, if you are wrestling with some undealt with and unconfessed sin in your life today, get on the path of renewal by soaking yourself in God’s incredible mercy, grace and steadfast love.

Pastor Scott