Lord's Day Liturgy

Raising a Flag

Paul told Timothy:

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV)

This “good confession” wasn’t when Timothy admitted his guilt, but it isn’t disconnected from owning up to his sin either. “Confession” is ὁμολογία, related to the verb in 1 John 1:9 about confessing sin. While it could be, and often is, broken down into parts, homo = same and logo = word/logic so something like “be of the same mind,” it is more positive. A confession is perhaps less an admission and more a profession, it’s a statement of allegiance. It’s less getting something off one’s chest and more raising a flag.

Both parts belong with worship. Both belong with the gospel. For twelve years (to the day tomorrow) we’ve been making this confession.

When John Newton (pastor in the late 18th century, who wrote “Amazing Grace”) was dying, a friend visited him, and some of Newton’s last words were:

“My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.” (quoted in Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., 401.)

When we confess our sins to Christ and believe that our sins are atoned for and forgiven by Christ, we are making both confessions. We are denying any allegiance to sin and declaring allegiance to Jesus. Turning our back toward sin we tune our hearts to sing of His salvation.