Today our church began a series that is focused on the great themes of the Reformation: Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone and Christ Alone. Today, in worship we reminded ourselves of God’s amazing grace. Our Prayer of Confession:
God of grace, we are reminded this morning that we are dust. You know our “dustiness”-our character that is so fragile and easily disintegrates. We bring our hearts and our souls to You this morning, trusting You to bring forgiveness and healing. We confess that sometimes we simply don’t trust You with our lives and the lives of those we love. We confess our unbelief of the promises in Your Word that Your grace really is sufficient for us. We confess our sins, the times we have willingly gone against Your good will for our lives, choosing that which is wrong. We confess that there are times we ignore the promptings of Your Spirit, and fail to do the good deeds You have prepared for us to do. Forgive us, Lord, and continue to shape us by Your grace. We pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.
We confessed our faith answering the Heidelberg Catechism’s question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer is probably my favorite in that catechism:
That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
This poem of John Newton, shared by Tim Challies, expresses, as only poetry can, what that grace really means:
’Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought;
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I His, or am I not?
If I love, why am I thus?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard His name!
Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove;
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Savior’s love?
When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark, and vain, and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?
If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed,
Tell me: Is it thus with you?
Yet I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin a grief, and thrall;
Should I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love at all?
Could I joy His saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find, at times, the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?
Lord, decide the doubtful case!
Thou who art Thy people’s sun;
Shine upon Thy work of grace,
If it be indeed begun.
Let me love Thee more and more,
If I love at all, I pray;
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today.