Monday, April 23, 2007 AD Proposed Bumper Sticker: "Think Corporately, Act Individually" Wayne Larson (HT Barb) has written a fabulous post on corporate confession, making the point that in corporate confession, we confess our sins.
When Achan took the forbidden things, God brought defeat not just to Achan, but to all Israel. Thirty-six men died horrific deaths in battle all because one man thought he had to have himself some new clothes and free cash. The Lord's anger burned against all the people, and was not removed until their sin was dealt with.
Thanks be to the Lord of mercy that we don't have to stone one another when a member of Christ's body transgresses, but we still need to recognize the corporate nature of that sin (even sins we don't know anything about!), and deal with it corporately. When we gather together to worship on the Lord's Day, we are not just a collection of individuals, we are one body. We should come before God in a first-person-plural frame of mind: We praise You, Lord; forgive us, Lord; thank you for blessing us, Lord; give us this day our daily bread; etc. And when we go about our daily lives, we should carry that corporate mindset with us: the communion of saints is not something that happens just for seven minutes near the end of the service when we share bread and wine. The we obeys when the I obeys. The we sins when the I sins. The we suffers when the I suffers. The we rejoices when the I is honored (1 Cor. 12).
Back to corporate confession, I believe it should comprise three things:
1) I confess my sins. In doing so I seek mercy for the whole body, which has sinned in my sinning and will suffer for it. If we think this way, love for the brethren will become a powerful deterrent to sin. This is where the bumper sticker comes in: "Think corporately, act individually" means "Love the church and pursue her purity and peace through personal obedience."
2) I confess your sins. I may or may not know your sins, but that needn't stop me. I am seeking mercy for you and for the body that has sinned in your sinning. Again, this corporate thinking should prompt us to love and encourage one another. But we must be careful not to use it as an excuse for being busybodies.
3) We confess our corporate sins. What a guard this would be against complaining about weaknesses and deficiencies in our local bodies and even in our denominations and in Christ's body throughout the world! Don't whine...take sober, personal responsibility: own the Church, own the sins of the Church, own the redemption of the Church, own the Christ of the Church.
Now I'd better finish this and get out of here, or the whole body of Christ is going to be late for work! Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/23/2007 08:11:00 AM
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