Confession – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  May 12, 2002

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  • Repentance
  • Sin
  • Forgiveness
Psalm 32:1-11
RS 148-06


We’re studying spiritual disciplines in the book of Psalms. Today, we’re looking at another practical spiritual competency you must engage in if you’re going to grow into the person God wants you to be: confession.

When you know you’ve messed up, when you know you’ve failed, when you know it’s your fault, how do you get up again after you’ve fallen in such a way that you have more joy and power than before? How do you get up not broken but get up in better shape than you were before? Let’s look in psalm to see our need for confession, the way of confession, and the secret basis of confession.

Understanding Psalm 32

It’s crucial to grasp the spiritual importance of confessing our wrongs and receiving God’s forgiveness, a key principle in Christianity. Psalm 32 teaches us the value of admitting our mistakes and seeking God’s mercy. It provides practical advice on how to repent and confess, which leads to greater happiness and strength. It emphasizes why we need to confess, how to do it, and the often overlooked secret power behind it.

1. Why we need to confess

True joy and blessing come from forgiveness, which encourages a life of kindness and empathy. People may have different views on their need for forgiveness, but admitting this need and receiving forgiveness is vital, even in a world that might downplay guilt and confession. The greatest freedom and acceptance are experienced through God’s forgiveness.

2. How to confess

True happiness comes through confession, but it’s important to understand the difference between genuine guilt, which aligns with God’s teachings in the Bible, and false guilt. We need a “ruler” to measure guilt instead of just relying on personal or societal standards. Genuine confession and repentance mean fully accepting responsibility for our actions, letting go of selfishness and self-pity. Many people fail to grow because they don’t handle this process correctly.

3. The hidden power of confession

The moment we confess our sins, God forgives us instantly, like a teacher ignoring a failed quiz when calculating the final grade. Jesus’s crucifixion, where he was exposed so that believers could be wrapped in righteousness, shows the importance of seeing forgiveness as a gift, not something to be earned. Confession and repentance are about mending our relationship with God, differentiating between real and false guilt, and finding a new shelter in God’s love; leading to overcoming guilt and experiencing joy in Jesus.



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