The Forgiveness We Need

If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Apart from the countless times that I have confessed my sins directly to God, there have been some occasions when I felt that I needed to make a public confession of sin. I’m not bragging in any way. The Holy Spirit laid it on my heart, and I went through with it. On a few occasions, I knew that other believers present had committed similar sins, but they confessed nothing. That is between them and the Lord. Yet I have watched over time how failure to acknowledge our sin can breed a pride that is almost impossible to root out.

It is human nature to want to cover our sins. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. In modern times exposing peoples’ sins has become almost a sport. This lessens peoples’ willingness to make confessions. Not that people need to hear all of the sins we have committed. They don’t. Most of the time our sin is between God and us. However, there are times when we do need to acknowledge wrongdoing publically. The old timers used to say that our confession should be proportional to peoples’ knowledge of what was done.

I have always marveled at the way in which people can condemn others knowing they have done similar sins. I attended a court hearing once when a judge scolded a young man and ended his rantings with a sobering question, “Do you know what the difference is between you and me? You got caught and I didn’t!” True story. I have to wonder, do people really think that the basis of guilt is whether or not a person is actually caught? Does he think that because he is a judge on the courts that God is somehow going to excuse his sin? What makes people believe they are “above the law?”

 



 
Agreeing With God
 
How can God forgive a sin that we refuse to call sin? That doesn’t even make sense. How many sexual sins have suddenly become non-sins? People may accept the behavior but God calls all types of fornication sin. Do people not understand that God forgives our sin when we acknowledge that our actions were (are) sin? If we say we have not sinned when God says we have–we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 
 
I met with a man some time ago who has spent most of his life refusing to acknowledge his sin. He has rejected God’s word concerning his behavior and therefore has never changed. Everyone knows the things that he has done, but like that judge, he views himself on a different level than everyone else. He knows that if he acknowledges the sins of the past he will be obligated to turn from the behavior in the future. Rather than do that (what we typically call “repenting”) he just goes on making excuses. He has convinced himself that “God made him that way.” God would never make a person behave contrary to His revealed word. 
God’s route to forgiveness has never altered. We see this spelled out in 1 John 1:9 and have an example of it in the life of David the king. Nathan the prophet confronted David by using a simple story to touch his heart. The result? And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. There was a point when David was angry at the outcome of the story, but suddenly hears the voice of God in the mouth of Nathan. His reaction? And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. God’s reaction to David’s acknowledgment was… And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 

David deserved death, but because he acknowledged his sin, God put away his sin. He would have to face the consequences of his actions, but his relationship with God was restored. What has God said? If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Amen.

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