Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The goal of confession

“The admission of sin highlighted above reveals that this mercy and grace does come to the guilty, but only when they confess their culpability. This confession, however, is not merely an external verbal articulation but involves a real change in disposition and behavior. This is suggested by the way in which Ps 103:11, 13, and 17 play on the character creed in Exod 34:6–7, noting that God’s mercy is afforded to those who fear him. It is made explicit in the way in which these psalms accentuate the fact that forgiveness is not the ultimate goal of God’s mercy but rather the transformation of one’s inner disposition and a fundamental change in behavior. According to Ps 130:4, there is forgiveness so that Yahweh may be feared. In Psalm 32, forgiveness is what leads to a new lifestyle (vv. 6–11). Psalm 51 places the priority on a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. Transformation of this sort is not left to humans. Rather, the psalmists regularly cry for God to do a work within them, asking him to reveal, teach, and lead them in his ways (Psalm 25), to create in them a clean heart, renew a steadfast spirit, and sustain a willing spirit (Psalm 51).”—A Severe Mercy, pages 446-447

<idle musing>
Crash goes the self-improvement theology of so many! It has to be God doing it, or it won't work! They knew it in the Psalms; they knew it in the New Testament and early church. Why do we get it wrong here in the good ole US of A?!
</idle musing>

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