It has been said that the Law afflicts the comfortable and the Gospel comforts the afflicted. Afflicted by the harsh realities of the Law as they confronted him in the pig pen, the wildly wasteful son finally came to his senses. In the confession that the young son planned to offer his father as he returned to his father's house, he recognized that his sin had a vertical dimension (he had sinned against God) as well as a horizontal dimension (he had sinned against his father): "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you." (Luke 15:21) Yet is was the character of his father that brought that tiny glimmer of hope into the heart of the prodigal son that perhaps his father would take him back, not as a son, but as a servant. The father's lavish love restored his sonship and celebrated the return of his son. So too in our lives, when we approach God in repentance, after the Law has jolted us out of our sin and made us uncomfortable, we find a forgiving Father whose Son has taken our sins to Calvary and paid for our waywardness in full.
Lord, to You I make confession:
I have sinned and gone astray,
I have multiplied transgression,
Chosen for myself my way.
Led by You to see my errors,
Lord, I tremble at Your terrors.
Yet, though conscience' voice appall me,
Father, I will seek Your face;
Though Your child I dare not call me,
Yet receive me in Your grace.
Do not for my sins forsake me;
Let Your wrath not overtake me.
For Your Son has suffered for me,
Giv'n Himself to rescue me,
Died to save me and restore me,
Reconciled and set me free.
Jesus' cross alone can vanquish
These dark fears and soothe this anguish.
Lord, on You I cast my burden—
Sink it to the depths below.
Let me know Your gracious pardon,
Wash me, make me white as snow.
Let Your Spirit leave me never;
Make me only Yours forever.