In Bible study I was looking at Psalm 51 this evening. And I was very struck by the power of these words.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
The sacrifices being spoken of are sacrifices of worship/thanksgiving from the Levitical code. What is very striking here is that it is not simply saying that worship is about the heart of the worshipper (a profound and important point though), but that confession itself is worship. When I run to the Lord with my sin in brokenness and contrition this is true worship. It honours God and brings him glory. It is not that I'm twisting God's arm in order to make Him merciful to me, but I am actually humbly honouring Him as a holy, pure, gracious Saviour. Confession is right at the heart of a God-honouring life and is worth more than a thousand songs that do not have it. What a wonderful gracious God we have!
John Owen, of course, saw this as obvious, "There is nothing that Jesus Christ is more delighted with than that his saints should always hold communion with him by giving him their sins and receiving his righteousness. This greatly honours him and gives him the glory that is his due. What great dishonour we do to Christ to try and get rid of our sins in any other way.....It is Christ's great aim to be highly esteemed by his people. And how could he be more highly esteemed than to be acknowledged as the oe who takes our sins and gives us his righteousness."