Last year we had our annual university students conference with five main talks from Deuteronomy. One of the last sessions was to have a confession based on the 10 Commandments. As I looked for existing confessions online I could not find much, the best was the ‘Corporate Confession at the Worship God Conference’ led by Bob Kauflin. In the end, I wrote our own. It is much longer, and formed a lengthy part of the liturgy that night. I offer it here for anyone who might be looking for further working examples of a congregational confession based on the 10 Commandments. I expect that theological and language alterations may need to be made as appropriate. It is better suited for a conference due to it’s length.
10 Commandments confession
I am praying that this is edifying but it will take concentration and contribution from all of us if it will work.
In light of God’s law we’re going to confess our sins with prayerful reflection.
There are four speakers in this:
1. Italics = service leader.
2. Bold = Group 1, left side of the congregation (readers of God’s Word).
3. Normal font = Group 2, right side of the congregation (confessors on behalf of all of us.)
4. Underlined = All say
(Leader:) Father we confess that Your law is holy, just and good; that it was given to Your people Israel that they might dedicate their entire lives to You the Lord who brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
We realise that Your law is powerless to help us obey You or to change us, and so we thank You for the gracious sending of Your Son to bear the curse of the law and for the gracious sending of Your Spirit to give us new hearts to love and obey You.
Father as we hold Your law up to our lives, with the help of Your Spirit we acknowledge that:
(Group 1:) Your first and second commandment say: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
AND “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters below.”
(Group 2:) You are the one true God worthy of all our thanks and praise.
And yet we have had other gods that we have worshiped and adored besides You or alongside You.
Likewise, we have often created You in the image we desire, rather than humbly worshipping You as You have revealed yourself.
(Group 1:) Your third commandment says: “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
(Group 2:) We have misrepresented You to the world, both in our speech about You, but also in our lives which are intended to bear proof of Your Name.
(Group 1:) The fourth commandment says: “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.
On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
(Group 2:) Your work of salvation has given us true rest.
Yet often this is not reflected in our busyness, or our worries, or even in being able to stop working for one day of the week.
(Group 1:) The fifth commandment says: “Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
(Group 2:) Yet we have often not shown proper respect to those You have placed over us in authority, and as Your representatives.
(Group 1:) The sixth commandment says: “You shall not murder.
(Group 2:) Yet in our angry and destructive actions or words or thoughts we have often not treated others as fellow image bearers of You.
(Group 1:) The seventh commandment says: “You shall not commit adultery.
(Group 2:) Yet at times we have not upheld the sanctity of marriage, and sex, and relationships as You designed it for our good.
(Group 1:) The eighth commandment says: “You shall not steal.
(Group 2:) Yet we have often displayed both a lack of trust in what You have given us, and a lack of love in caring for what You have entrusted to others.
(Group 1:) The ninth commandment says: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
(Group 2:) Yet in our words, instead of bearing truth we have uttered destructive falsehood.
(Group 1:) The tenth commandment says: “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.
You shall not set your desire on your neighbour’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
(Group 2:) Yet, we know our hearts.
We recognize that often we to fail to rejoice with others over what You have given them.
Instead we lust for the possessions and circumstances of others, displaying a lack of trust in You to provide for our needs.
(Leader:) Father as we gaze into Your Holiness that Your law reveals, we are struck by our sinfulness – we have not loved you or others as we should.
(All:) Lord have mercy on us!
(Leader:) Your people of old longed for your salvation, to be rescued from their sin.
Their eyes grew weary looking for what You had promised.
Knowing their sin they cried: ‘When will You comfort us?’
(Group 1:) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
(Group 2:) Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
(All:) So we are no longer slaves, but sons; and since we are sons, God has made us also heirs.
(Leader:) Father, we praise and thank you for the great love You have shown to us in Jesus.
(All:) Because of Your grace to us in Him, please forgive us our sins.
Please comfort us in our struggles with sin.
By Your Holy Spirit please help us to love You with all of our heart and soul and strength and mind.
Help us to love others as we love ourselves.
[The service leader:] Friends, the declaration of Scripture is that those who confess their sins to God, who trust in Jesus, their sins have been taken care of.
Have you done that?
Your sins have been forgiven.
As we sing the next set of songs:
1. For those of you weighed down with sin, be reminded of the forgiveness found in Jesus.
2. For those of you who know the forgiveness in Jesus, sing with joy, oh sing with joy to our great God!
Song: Come ye sinners.
Song: Avulekile Amasango eZulu
A moment’s reflection:
“Run and work, the law demands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. A sweeter sound the gospel bring, it bids me fly and gives me wings.” (John Berridge, – 18th C)
Song: Christ is Risen (Matt Maher)