Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rector's Rambling - August 22, 2010 - Confessing

I recently had a revelation about something concerning the Church and our Faith, and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you here.
In a discussion with someone about salvation, the talk also turned to the idea of ‘confession’. It was in this discussion that I had this revelation.
Salvation, of course, is about Jesus Christ. We believe it is by Grace, through Faith in Jesus Christ, that we are saved. He has accomplished the work of our salvation on the Cross and it is by His merits that we are saved.
This person I was speaking with was in a spot where he wanted to know what he had to do to be saved. Immediately I responded, as did the Apostle Paul to his jailers, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.” (Acts 16:31).
“Believe in what?” he replied, to which I answered, “that He is the Son of God, that He loves you, and forgives your sin”. It was at this moment that I had the revelation.
There are two general uses of the word “confession” in the Church. The most common one today is “confession of sin”. In our liturgies from the Book of Common Prayer there is a General Confession. Here we acknowledge our sin, and general sinfulness, before God and receive an assurance of our forgiveness. There is also the sacrament of auricular confession, where you confess your sins to God through the ministry of the priest and receive absolution as well.
The more ancient, and still current definition of the word “confession” is to make a statement of belief. St. Augustine wrote a famous book call The Confession. It is not about the sacrament, but an autobiography of his coming to belief in Jesus Christ as Lord.
For the first time I realized that both definitions are related concerning salvation. We confess that we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we confess our sins because we know that since He is Lord He can, and has, forgiven our sins.
This person was greatly assured by both definitions. He both believed that Jesus was Lord, and that he was forgiven by Him.
May we too believe that Jesus is Lord, and confess Him as such, AND confess our sins that we may receive that forgiveness from Him.