Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 51
Unless there be a true and hearty confession of our sins to God, we have no promise that we shall find mercy through the blood of the Redeemer. “Whoso confesseth (his sins) and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” But there is no promise in the Bible to the man who will not confess his sins. Yet, as upon every point of Scripture there is a liability of being deceived, so more especially in the matter of confession of sin. There are many who make a confession, and a confession before God, who notwithstanding receive no blessing, because their confession has not in it certain marks which are required by God to prove it genuine and sincere, and which demonstrate it to be the work of the Holy Spirit.
the hardened sinner–pharaoh. It is of no use for you to say, “I have sinned,” merely under the influence of terror, and then to forget it afterwards.
the double-minded man—balaam. It is idle and useless for you to say, “I have sinned,” unless you mean it from your heart.
the insincere man—saul. To say, “I have sinned,” in an unmeaning manner, is worse than worthless, for it is a mockery of God thus to confess with insincerity of heart.
the doubtful penitent—achan. The most we can say is, that we hope their souls are saved at last, but indeed we cannot tell.
the repentance of despair—judas. If you have such a repentance as that, it will be a warning to generations yet to come.
the repentance of the saint—job. This is the repentance of the man who is a child of God already, an acceptable repentance before God.
the blessed confession—the prodigal. Here is that which proves a man to be a regenerate character–“Father, I have sinned.”
Sermon no. 113
18 January (1857)