Anglican Morning Devotion for 2 September 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
In the Anglican worship service, we repeat a Prayer of General confession at Morning, Evening, and Holy communion Service. Some have wondered why we feel that we should confess our sins both morning and night. The reason, of course, should be obvious to the forgiven sinner – there is no point in time when we have no reason to confess our sins simply because we sin from morning to night. Often, we are not even aware of all the sins of thought, word, and deed that we have committed. Below is the Prayer of General Confession repeated at both Morning and Evening Worship:
A General Confession.
¶To be said by the whole Congregation, after the Minister, all kneeling.
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
Not simply a few of us have erred and strayed from the ways of our Lord, but ALL. We have inclined our minds to the desires of our own hearts and not to the Will of the Lord. We have committed two categories of sin which cover them all: 1) We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And, 2), we have done those things which we ought not to have done. Our spirits suffer lack of health because of this. In confessing our sins, we relieve our souls of that great burden of sin that weighs upon us.
It is not enough to confess with our mouths, but with our hearts as well. True repentance in confession is borne of a genuine shame and sorrow for our sins. The verbal confession is one that is plain to all listeners, but the hidden confession of the heart is known certainly only by God. Only a heartfelt confession can lead to restoration at the end of day. Following such confession, we must resolve to avoid every sinful act in our future endeavors, though we may fail again and again in keeping that resolution.
Pharaoh proclaimed a confession that was not real: “I have sinned!” Pharaoh confessed to Moses. Why was this confession not acceptable to God? It was because it was out of the horror of the hail, fire, and brimstone the Lord rained upon Egypt. As soon as these had past, Pharaoh sinned again after the same manner. We must avoid repeating the same sins over and over again, and when we confess, it must be sincere.
There is another kind of confession that is the result of hypocrisy. Balaam coveted the reward offered by the king, yet, he refused to curse Israel out of fear of the Lord. On his way to meet the king, the Lord stopped him on the way. Balaam said: “Said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.” (Numbers 22:34) He confessed out of fear that would later dissipate and he would betray Israel. This confession was hypocritical
Let us briefly examine the nature of a true, heartfelt confession. After a life of degeneracy and riotous living, the Prodigal Son exhausted his inheritance (like many sons and daughters of the Father). He began to be in want – both physical and spiritual. When he came to his right mind (no mind is right when separated from the Father), he confessed: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:18-19) None are more spiritually wealthy than the Prodigal of the pig sty without God. When we realize our predicament and depravity, and remember the promises of God the Father, we will be drawn by shame and sorrow to confess. By the way, any sin against our parents, or anyone else, is also a sin against God. It is only when we realize that we are without any worthiness whatsoever without Christ, we, too, will humbly confess.