Monday, May 11, 2009

The Relief of Confession and the Joy of Cleansing

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. --I John 1:6-10
This passage really meant a lot to me earlier today as I was struggling with sins of pride and anger regarding a situation at work. The matter in question my sense of self-importance and arrogance in not wanting to be challenged, and my anger stemming from my self-important/self-righteous evaluation of my work performance and the real or imagined insult to my work ethic that was essentially being leveled.

Bottom line: in my heart and mind I was confronted with a boiling stew of sinful reactions to a situation that should be met with patient reliance on God's grace and strength, thankfulness for an occasion to see areas of improvement on the job, and humility to admit my weaknesses and sins.

So on the way home I prayed to the Lord and confessed these sins and meditated on this Scripture. I came to the realization that it's not so much forgiveness of these sins that worries me, it's the ongoing uncleanness of my unrighteousness.

My unrighteous pride and my unrighteous anger still remain under the surface. Yes, I'm sorry I sinned and yes I've confessed it, but I see my propensity to fall right into the same trap again. My pride, anger, and self-righteousness are deep-seated and not going away instantly.

But that's where the blood of the covenant comes in. It's the blood of Christ shed for my justification which also works my sanctification. As I walk in the light of the Gospel and confess my sin, the blood of Jesus cleanses me. This process of my sanctification is a certainty promised by Scripture, but it's not a process that will come on my timetable and conform to my whims. It is all of grace as the Spirit works within me, and as the Father sovereignly wills.

God is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and cleanse me from my unrighteousness. I am called to receive the promise by faith, confessing my sins and trusting in Christ for forgiveness and for the sanctifying grace to grow deeper in Christlike character and mortifying the flesh, dying to sin and self.

God is faithful to the covenant He has written in the blood of the Lamb (I Peter 1:17-19). He is just to forgive me because my sins are all paid for at the cross (Col. 2:13-15).

God is faithful to cleanse me of all unrighteousness because He finishes what He starts. He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6). God is just in cleansing me from all unrighteousness because I am already declared righteous by faith (Rom. 3:26; Phil. 3:8-11) in the finished work of the Son.

I'm called to trust in God's promises and walk openly in the light before Him, confessing and forsaking my sin, trusting in his promise of forgiveness and cleansing.

Praise God for sending his faithful and just Son the Lord Jesus to die in my place as the propitiation for my sins (I John 2:1-2), and who now ever lives to intercede for me (Heb. 7:23-25) as my advocate before the Father!

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