So there I was in the shower tonight... pondering my sins of the day, and turning to God and praying, "O God, I hate these sins. Please, forgive me, please, for the sake of Jesus. Please, for His name's sake..." And then my soul paused, as usual, as if to wait for some kind of subjective communication or response that lets me "feel" like I am forgiven. Of course, it never really comes, so I just move on hanging onto His promise -such as 1 John 1:9.
Then it dawned on me all of the sudden. That is not what it means to confess our sins. It does not mean we squirm before God pleading for forgiveness and waiting for a response. To confess means simply to acknowledge, assent, concede, not refuse, or declare. It means to not hide them. It means that, unlike Adam in the garden, we acknowledge our nakedness and do not run and hide from God. Why on earth would we do this, being sinners? Because we know we have nothing to fear, having tasted God's free grace. Away with my works righteousness! The promise given in 1 John 1:9 is that we have an outlet for that which weighs on our conscience -that we may unload and concede our inability, even as the most seasoned and aged of believers, and rest in the arms of He who justifies the ungodly.
Maybe some of you reading this are like "yeah, I already knew that." If so, then good. But if you were like me and had the impression of confession as a thing you do -not a privelige- and involving some kind of pleading as if forgiveness is withheld until I do so, then like me, this is even more good news.
Confession, it seems, is a fruit of repentance. It is openness with God about our inability. It is the opposite of erecting a righteousness of our own. In loathing our sin, we assent to it and let go of our own alleged righteousness. So yes, I confess -I am a sinner. I am all of those wicked things I have done today, and yesterday, and the day before. I am unrighteous, my God, but You are faithful and gracious and just, in Christ Jesus, to forgive me... just as You promised. Amen.