A Personal Devotional Journal

I invite you to journey with me. Sometimes we will look at short passages of Scripture and I will give my first thoughts and impressions. Other times, I will just share my thinking about spiritual issues. Always, you are welcome to comment and add your thoughts. Together, we could learn something.

Monday, May 19, 2014

1 John 1:9 "Why Confess?"

 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

 1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God desires to carry our burdens.  He cares about the things that weigh us down and keep us separated from Him.  Sin is an awful heavy burden.  The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death.  The Bible also tells us that the soul cleansing blood of Jesus washes away our sin.  Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we are forgiven and restored to right relationship with God.

Even though through Jesus we are forgiven, we still struggle with the burden of sin. The experience that many Christians have is that even though we have been changed from people who like and enjoy sin into people who hate sinning, we still continue to sin. I do not want to excuse this fact or make light of it, but it does us no good to pretend.

We live in a fallen, broken world, we are constantly surrounded by evil influences, and we are weak willed people; so, even though we believe in Jesus and have accepted His death as the punishment for our sin and have turned to Him for forgiveness and new life, we still struggle with sin. 

Because we still struggle with sin, God made a continuing provision for sin.  The Bible tells us, “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This rich promise was given to the church -to Christians.  It reminds us of the fact that Jesus has already paid the penalty for sin –in that sense, God made provision for our forgiveness once and for all, and for all time.  The penalty has been been paid, and we have been forgiven.  Yet, Christians are specifically instructed to confess sin as it occurs.  We should probably seek to understand what this means and why it is such good news.
There is a very good reason God wants us to confess our sin.  It’s because unconfessed sin turns into baggage that we have to carry around with us.  When we sin and do not confront it, and do not repent, and refuse to confess it, we end up with a load of guilt and shame and bitterness and anxiety and fear.  God doesn’t want that for us.  God wants us to unload those kinds of burdens.  We unload by confession and repentance.

Now, don’t misunderstand.  God doesn’t need to hear our confession so that He knows what we’ve been up to.  He already knows every wrong thing and every right thing we’ve ever thought or said or done.  Our confession doesn’t change God, and it doesn’t change God’s mind, and it doesn’t change God’s opinion of us.  Our confession changes us.

When we are humbly confessing our sin to God, something happens.  In order to truly confess, we must examine ourselves.  In order to realistically examine ourselves, we need to quit pretending to be people we’re not –we need to let our defenses down, we need to take our masks off.  In order to confess, we need to be brutally honest about ourselves before God.  And it is in the context of humble honesty, with no pretense and no defense that a relationship with God begins to develop.  And the relationship is what God desires.

When we confess our sin, God forgives our sin.  But He does even more.  He cleanses us from unrighteousness.  Unrighteousness is a result of participating with the enemy.  Sin defiles us.  The defilement of sin is a continuing burden even after we have been forgiven.  Forgiveness takes care of the guilt -but the cleansing is what takes care of defilement.  God doesn't just forgive, He cleanses and restores.  He carries the burden.  That's how much He cares.

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