In the house I grew up in we had an impressive cabinet in the dining room. It looked old and had a somewhat stately quality to it. When I visit other people’s homes I notice similar cabinets, some designed not merely for storage but with fancy glass panels to display and celebrate the treasure inside. In these cabinets is kept the fancy dinner set, the ornate cutlery, the stuff that is reserved for special occasions. Only ever used for very special guests. So special was the set in my house growing up that I think I could count on one hand the number of times we used those plates and cups. I don’t remember them being a particularly expensive set, but I do know they were set aside for special occasions.
On one level that makes sense, you don’t want the fancy plates dealing with the wear and tear of every day use. But at the same time plates are designed to hold food, to be eaten off, that is their function. To leave them in a cabinet, no matter how impressive is to not utilise them. It’s to miss out on the benefit of something that you already have in your possession.
When we come to God for the first time we pray, asking for his forgiveness and trusting him to provide it because of his great mercy. By grace we are forgiven, loved and welcomed in. However for many of us what we do with grace at that point is place it in a display case.
We talk about the grace of God, we are thankful for it, we like to show people when they come to visit, but as our journey of following Jesus becomes longer our experience of that grace feels more and more distant.
God’s grace to us was not for a moment or just for the beginning. Grace is not just for special occasions, it’s a daily necessity. We know the reality of our ongoing battle with sin and if we don’t confess our sin regularly to God it’s like we are trying to deal with it on our own. Confession is an opportunity to experience again the joy of salvation, to encounter again the sufficiency of Jesus' death in our place and the power of his Spirit to lift our guilt and shame.
Psalm 51 reminds us that even great kings who love God fall, and shows us that confession is God’s gift to call us back to him. Confession is the ongoing practise of expressing faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Confession is the habit of people who know both that they are unworthy, and that Jesus alone is enough.
May we be people who boast not that we have no need to confess (for God’s word tells us that is a lie!), but rather those who delight in the convicting work of the Spirit which leads us to confession and repentance. For in our confession we magnify the grace and mercy of God and we experience afresh his unconditional, irreversible and eternal love for us.
Sam joined the team in 2018 as one of our inaugural church planting residents in our Planters Academy. Sam is now the Lead Pastor of City on a Hill Gold Coast which will launch publicly in 2020. Sam has a passion to see people discover the life, joy, and hope that is only found in Jesus. He loves to preach the Bible to whoever will listen and is energised by seeing leaders developed and released to use their gifts and passions for God’s glory. Sam is married to Sally and they have two sons Bailey and Hudson. He is an ordained Anglican Minister and member of Acts 29.