Focus: Confession, forgiveness, and cleansing
1 John 1:8-10 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Recently, I heard about a religious group who believe that when they become ‘saved’ they don’t sin anymore. They think they have God in them—so they can’t sin.
I was contemplating that idea a few days ago and an interesting illustration came to my mind. I’m not sure where some people would draw the line between a sin and a mistake—but the real point is, ‘human error’ happens.
I’m guessing that if you think you can’t sin—then you wouldn’t be able to make mistakes, either. But, think about this. What if you were reaching for a glass bottle of molasses from a high cupboard in the kitchen. Molasses is sticky stuff used for baking—in case you aren’t familiar with that word. Let’s say you had the bottle in your hand—but for whatever reason, it slipped out of your hand and fell on the floor. It was a mistake. If you were a ‘god’ you wouldn’t have let it slip—but you did. You should have been able to catch it as it was falling to the floor. But, for some reason, you weren’t able to catch it—and it smashed on the nice, clean tile floor.
Oh dear—now there’s sticky stuff and broken glass all over the place. So, if you were a ‘god’—would you just leave all that sticky stuff and glass all over the floor—as though it wasn’t really there? Would you just be able to ‘will it’ to be cleaned up all by itself? Or, would you have to walk around it—so as not to spread it all through your house? Or, would you (as a ‘god’) be able to walk through it and not get it on your feet? Is it further possible that you could walk through it and not get messy or cut—but others who are not ‘gods’ would get messy and cut if they walked through it?
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The whole thing sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? The answer is: Of course you can’t ‘will it’ to be cleaned up—and of course you would get messy and possibly cut if you walked through it—and of course you should take responsibility for your mess and clean it up.
Let’s face it. We’re not ‘gods’. Even if we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and are filled with the Holy Spirit—we can still make mistakes—and sin, in spite of all our efforts not to. After we have repented of our sinful nature we still have to make ‘right choices’ and do our part everyday to live according to God’s principles. We can’t just write our own rules—or think we are ‘above’ God’s rules.
When we acknowledge our sinfulness and ask God to forgive us—He does, through the power of the blood of Jesus, which was shed on our behalf as a sacrificial payment for our sin. Blood sacrifice was not a human idea—it was God’s idea. Remember, we can’t write our own rules. He is the author of our faith and His guidebook, the Bible. He alone, is capable of forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
Once our sins have been forgiven—we don’t enter into some state of spiritual amnesia. We can’t automatically forget our history. But, after forgiveness, comes the cleansing. It is part of being set free. We are initially washed and continually cleansed as a beautiful ongoing process when we choose the path of righteousness instead of unrighteousness. It is a delightful thing, really. It’s the perpetual act of God setting us free. Whenever an awful memory of failure comes to mind–we receive the benefit of peace with our past as we are cleansed of things we can’t go back and change or fix. If we sin—we confess, receive forgiveness, and are cleansed.
This cycle of confession, forgiveness, and cleansing should cause us to live in a state of humble gratitude. God is watching us as we try to live right, but when we stumble momentarily—He is there to hear our confession, help us clean up the mess, and keep moving forward.
Declaration: I will find new strength by not writing my own rules or ignoring God’s rules. I will live in humble gratitude for the blood of Jesus and the forgiveness I have received. I will not take the importance of confession, forgiveness, and cleansing for granted.
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