April 23, 2010

Confession Restores Fellowship

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:5-10)

Happy Friday everyone! OK, here's the recap of what i've been looking at in this verse so far: the Light of God sees everything, even those sins we want to hide. If we say that we're not sinners we're big fat liars. Walking in the light means two things: understanding that God knows we will sin because we are human, and knowing that we must confess those sins to receive forgiveness. And today I will discuss what happens when we do or do not confess our sins.

Think about it this way: You have a best friend, who stays at your house to watch the cat while you're on vacation. When you get back, and after she leaves, you notice a huge pasta sauce stain on the couch. You ask your friend about it, and she says it was already there. Now, you know this is not true, because you would never and have never eaten anywhere near your precious white couch. So. Is it fair to say that most likely your relationship with your best friend will be a bit strained for a while?

That's kindof what happens between us and God when we ignore our sins, when we justify them, or when we outright deny that we've sinned at all. It breaks God's heart, and puts a barrior between us. Now if you remember from Monday, there is no barrior that can withstand the Light of heaven, so we're not really hiding from God so much as we are absolutely losing out on all that God is offering us for a whole and fulfilling life.

Plus, go back up to the top and re-read the verse. I'l wait.

Did you read it? Seriously, go read it. It'll take five seconds.

Ok, so did you read that last sentence? If we claim that we have not sinned, we are essentially calling God, the Maker and Creator of everything in existance, a liar. We're saying "Jesus didn't die for my sins, because I don't sin. I can get into Heaven just fine on my own. I make my own rules."

But realistically, we can make all the "rules" we want. It's the Truth, however, that will judge us in the end. We do sin. We sin every day. Many times a day. (ok, I do, I'm just assuming that you do too.) And each time we ignore this sin, we put another brick in the wall.

God can break down that wall at any time, but He wants US to ask Him to. He wants us to take out the first brick. I have a painting I did years ago that showed a wall with a brick that was halfway between in and out of the wall. That painting says one thing to me: "Either you're building the wall up, or you're tearing it down." Every time we go to God and say "I have sinned, please forgive me," He does. He absolutely does. He wants us to give Him our pure and heartfelt repentance, He wants us to change our ways, and He can give us that strength. But what matters is that in the moment, He is forgiving us for what we have done.

This is not a carte blanche to do it again.

Please understand this. God's forgiveness is NOT a carte blanche to sin again. In fact, you may as well go put stock in scaffolding if you think this way, because the wall between you and God is just gonna go sky-high if you think you can just keep going back to God every time you sin, with the plan to just go do it again. What did we say yesterday? Repent. Confess, then repent.Turn your life around.

Because when you confess, and meaningfully say that you want to turn your life 180 degrees in the other direction, you not only receive the forgiveness that washes you clean, but you renew your relationship with God. Because you can see Him now, instead of that brick wall.

Just think about your friend and the couch. What if she had called you while you were gone, or met you at the door and said "I am so sorry. I know you don't eat on the couch but I was watching the game and I sat down and it was such an amazing ending that I jumped up without thinking and my plate flipped over and landed on the couch. I know that you may find it difficult to be anything other than angry right now, but I am asking you to forgive me. I will never eat on the couch again and in fact I will pay for the cleaning costs and I will make it my personal job any time you have a party to keep people who have food in their hands away from your couch."


Do you think you'd find it easier to forgive this friend, instead of the one who insists it was your fault?

Confessing your sins to the ones you sinned against can be painful. But it is in doing this that we tear down the walls between each other, and allow for the renewal of relationships.

Just remember that when you sin against someone, you actually sin against Someone else. You may need to confess your sins twice--once to the person, and once to God. It is then that you will have life and peace and joy restored to you, for the walls between you and God will have crumbled, and His good gifts will be there for the taking.

Be blessed.

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