From time to time, you may hear one of the ministers end our prayer of confession with words like, “if we regard sin in our lives this prayer will be ineffectual…” What does it mean to “regard sin”? To regard sin is to respect sin. It means to let sin have some place in your heart or life. To regard sin is to make peace with sin—to invite it into your life and make it a cozy bed to sleep in.
And what does “this prayer will be ineffectual” mean? It means that the prayer will have no effect. You’ve come to confess sin, and if you walk away with your pet sin still living cozily in your home, unchallenged, unthreatened, then the confession will not have changed you.
So, how do you effectively challenge and threatened your pet sins? Turn to the cross of Christ. Meditate on the magnitude of his death in your place for that pet sin. Contemplate the cost he paid. And at the same time realize that the cost he paid is only equaled by the loved he has for you. He hasn’t grown tired of you. He won’t give up on you. If you belong to him by faith, he will conquer every sin that keeps you from him.
So, let’s not make peace with sin. Let’s go to war with lying, and gossip, and greed. And as God grants us victory over those sins let’s be watchful that we don’t begin to regard pride in our hearts because we see victory over sin.
Let’s pray and confess our sins together.
We come to confess that all of us have our own pet sins.
We love our reputation enough to lie. We have idolized our children and so we lose our temper when they fail us.
We worship attention and so we engage salacious speech to gain an audience. We love our own comfort, so we refuse to go out of our way to get to know others in our own church and community.
And when we are confronted with these pet sins, we instantly begin to make excuses for why we aren’t all that bad. We’ve made peace with them in a million ways. Father we confess that even those excuses are sin, and therefore we repent of our excuses as well.
We know that our sin nailed Jesus to the cross, and therefore we do not want to cozy up to sin. We also know how much you love us in Christ and so we want to give ourselves fully to you in obedient love.
Father, we know that if we say amen to this prayer while regarding sin in our heart this prayer will have no effect, so hear us as we confess our individual sins to you now in silence.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen!
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – John 3:16-17
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.