One of the sins of God’s people is that of covenant presumption. First we presume the covenant, like the Pharisees, “We are sons of Abraham and have been slaves to no one.” We sometimes assume that just because we consider ourselves Christians, that the covenant is secure. There is also another form of covenant presumption. We assume that because we are sons and daughters of Abraham we can approach God whenever we feel like it.
In both cases we have failed to recognize the breadth and depth of God’s mercy to place us in a covenant with Himself and how, in that covenant, we are even permitted to speak a single word before the throne of the Almighty. We are all people of unclean lips.
Part of this presumption comes from evangelical sentimentality. We get songs like, “Just as you are.” And we are told again and again from popular preachers that God loves you just the way you are.
The reality of the Gospel and the covenant is that God does not love you just the way you are; He loves you in spite of who you are. God loves you in spite of who you are. He loves you because He loves His Son. All of this should make us stagger and stumble as we come to God to confess our sins.
The promise is that if we confess, God will forgive. We often forget that this is not a right, it is a covenant privilege, and nothing to be presumed upon. The possibility of confession should make us tremble and at the same time make us bold. Here, a holy God has permitted sinners to come before Him and here we tremble. We are bold however, because we have faith in this holy God. We come before His throne and say to Him, “You promised that if we did this, if we confess our sins, You would forgive us in Your Son. So, Father, here we are.” Let us not presume confession, but let us go to God with humility, boldness, and thankfulness in faith that God will do what He promised.