What is the purpose, could we even say benefit, of planning a time in our worship service every Lord’s Day to confess our sins? Is our focus on sin a way of worshipping sin? It’s certainly not meant to be. Is worship with a focus on our sin a guilt-producing event? “You probably haven’t felt as bad as you should have this past week, sinner. Don’t you realize what a worm you are?” Did God created us and then reveal all the ways we’ve failed so that He could rub our faces in it? “You will never be Me. You will never be as good as Me.”
God’s law does reveal that all of us have sinned and fall short of His glory. We have broken His Word and failed to reflect Him properly as image-bearers. His Word cuts and convicts. His Spirit grants mourning over and repentance from sin. But all of this is a blessed burden because it brings us to know Him better. That is the purpose and the benefit of confession: that we learn more about who God is.
Worship is an expression of love for God. Confession of sin, and the process to get to that confession, reminds us of the holy and righteous character of God. His holiness is part of His excellence, a reason for highest praise. His holiness is part of His beauty, a reason for deepest admiration. Our sin not only blinds us from seeing Him, sin also makes us think something other about Him. If we ask Him to open the eyes of our hearts so that we can see Him, confession is cleaning the gunk off of our glasses.
The exhortation to confession–no matter the specific subject or if that particular week’s address pierces your conscience–is an act of theology reminding us that God is holy. He calls everyone to worship Him, but in order for us to worship Him rightly, we must worship Him as holy.