In Sunday’s sermon from Genesis 3, “Did God Actually Say?,” we watched sin enter the world through Adam’s attempt to dethrone God. We watched God drive the first human couple out of his presence, but not without the promise of One who would crush the head of the serpent.

It is difficult to name a more relevant chapter for any of us. We have in this account an embarrassingly honest portrayal of the inner workings of sin in our hearts, and hope for the day when sin won’t be a problem for us anymore.

One take-away for the Christian is to learn how not to confess our sins.

Adam is our bad example, avoiding the matter and finally saying, “I ate,” but only after blaming both his wife and God (Gen. 3:12). As those who have put off the “old self,” let us confess sin straightforwardly (Eph. 4:22–24).

This is not easy, but we find help in texts such as Psalm 51 or Psalm 32. We also find help from saints who have gone before us. Here’s a good example of a prayer to help us pray from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Personal and corporate confession sin—genuine, straightforward, heartfelt confession—is basic to the vitality and healthy of any gospel church. As we confess our sins to God, let us do so with thankfulness for God’s grace in Christ, which is greater than the sin we confess.