We have heard of men who have confessed their guilt, and afterwards tried to extenuate their crime, and show some reasons why they were not so guilty as apparently they would seem to be; but when the Christian confesses his guilt, you never hear a word of extenuation or apology from him. He says, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:” and in saying this, he makes God just when he condemns him, and clear when he sentences him for ever. Have you ever made such a confession? Have you ever thus bowed yourselves before God? Or have you tried to palliate your guilt, and call your sins by little names, and speak of your crimes as if they were but light offences? If you have, then you have not felt the sentence of death in yourselves, and you are still waiting till the solemn death-knell shall toll the hour of your doom, and you shall be dragged out, amidst the universal hiss of the execration of the world, to be condemned for ever to flames which shall never know abatement. Again: after the Christian confesses his sin, he offers no promise that he will of himself behave better. Some, when they make confessions to God, say, “Lord, if thou forgive me I will not sin again;” but God’s penitents never say that. When they come before him they say, “Lord, once I promised, once I made resolves, but I dare not make them now, for they would be so soon broken, that they would increase my guilt; and my promises would be so soon violated, that they would sink my soul deeper in hell. I can only say, if thou wilt create in me a clean heart, I will be thankful for it, and will sing to thy praise for ever; but I cannot promise that I will live without sin, or work out a righteousness of my own. I dare not promise, my Father, that I shall never go astray again.”
For meditation: Does your confession of sin to God include the excuses of a King Saul or the acquiescence of a King David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)?