Read Psalm 51:12-13
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you. (NIV)
If we read the Bible a certain way we can come to think that confession of our each and every sin is what saves us. I sin, I lose my salvation, I confess, I regain my salvation. When you think about it, a very precarious way to live. What happens if I sin and die before I can verbally confess it?
Our salvation depends on the once-for-all death of Jesus on the cross and our acceptance of it. His work on the cross covers the guilt of my sins past, present, and future. My sins are not forgiven because of my verbal confession of them but by my trust in what Jesus did for me. Otherwise our salvation would be very fragile.
So why are we urged to confess? The very fact we offend God ought to impel us to admit and express sorrow for it. My confession enables me to enjoy relationship with God: the air is cleared. Just because a child goes astray doesn’t mean she is no longer part of the family. But she can’t enjoy the family membership any more. There is a cloud over it.
So with us. As our text reminds us, when we confess our sins the joy of our salvation is restored. We didn’t lose our salvation by our sin, but we lost enjoying the benefits of it. Being a member of God’s family is one thing. Drinking deeply of its blessings is another.