Hump Day Hymns: Lord, We Confess Our Numerous Faults

Lord, we confess our num’rous faults;
How great our guilt has been,
How vain and foolish all our tho’ts,
And all our lives were sin.

But, O my soul, forever praise,
forever love, His name
Who turns thy feet from dang’rous ways
Of folly, sin and shame.

‘Tis not by works of righteousness
Which our own hands have done,
But we are saved by God’s free grace
Abounding thro’ His Son.

‘Tis from the mercy of our God
That all our hopes begin;
‘Tis by the Water and the Blood
Our souls are washed from sin.

‘Tis through the purchase of His death
Who hung upon the tree
The Spirit is sent down to breathe
On such dry bones as we.

Raised from the dead, we live anew;
And justified by grace,
We shall appear in glory, too,
And see our Father’s face.
-Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

I find the confession of sin in the worship service to be a profoundly comforting moment. I have had some argue that we should not have a confession of sin because it makes people feel bad or because they think that it trivializes Jesus’ execution.

There is something liberating to being able to not have everything together. I don’t have to have everything together, I don’t have to be perfect, because God has everything together in ways that I could not even dream of.  Having the luxury of being able to admit my faults is one that I covet. In a day when admitting a fault is something which many could not dream of, I can stand before God and say, “I messed up, and I’m sorry” and I know that God is merciful and gracious to forgive.

Being able to confess is a sign of our trust. We can confess our shortcomings and faults to God because we trust that God will deal graciously with us. We trust that God has the ability and desire to guide and keep us. I trust God enough to tell God when I’ve messed up or done wrong. I trust that God is merciful and gracious and will not smite me based upon my admission of guilt. I also trust that God’s mercy is far greater than anything that I can do, and that in the end, with all my imperfections, I will see God’s face. This is why we confess, and why it is so wonderful.

Confession is always an expression of trust, and that trust is what gets me through any given day.

2 responses to “Hump Day Hymns: Lord, We Confess Our Numerous Faults”

  1. I was recently in a group discussing confession (we are all Protestants, some not regular churchgoers), and one person said she preferred the idea of Catholic confession where you actually confess to specific acts/omissions, rather than the more general confession of the people, which she often finds difficult to relate to. I think that whichever form confession takes, there is (as you say) something very comforting and humbling about it. And the idea of confession as an act of trust is really interesting and new to me. Not to mention Scripture tells us to do it, which is always a good reason. Thanks for this hymn & reflections; I enjoy this blog.

    1. I also like the confession of specific sins as well. While I do not think it absolutely necessary to be able to name every single act/omission, it can help us to remember that we are guilty of these things every day. Sometimes the general prayers of confession can seem a bit like, “Oh yeah…sorry.”

      So glad that you are enjoying the blog!

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