HONESTY IS THE KEY
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 is not in us. (1John 1: 8-10)
I had a recent experience when this Scripture came home to me very vividly. I was in a group of believers and told a story which contained a lie. It came out so unexpectedly that I was caught out and could not wriggle out of it without great embarrassment. On reflection I tried to tell myself that it was nothing and that it didn’t matter, but I could not shake it off my conscience.
This passage of Scripture came repeatedly to my mind. It was not the content of the story that mattered but the fact that I had embellished it with a lie that bothered me. Not even confession to the Lord and taking responsibility for what I had done would give me peace. I knew that I had to own what I had done to a trusted fellow believer.
I am very close to my pastor and I chose to write a letter of confession rather than speak to him because I am able to express myself more freely in a letter. His response was kind and gracious. He said something like this: “Don’t you just love the Holy Spirit? He so gently does everything He can to protect our fellowship with the Father.” That’s it, my dear readers! And the moment I received his message and knew that I had acknowledged my sin to another person, God’s peace once again flooded my heart.
How difficult it is for us to face our sin and own it! Why are we so reticent to acknowledge what we have done when we leave the path of God’s Word and go our own way? John said that we deceive ourselves. Self-deception is just as damaging as Satan’s lies because they have the same source – the devil; and his intention is to disturb our fellowship with the Father and keep us away from enjoying our union with Him.
From God’s perspective, it is not our sin that is the problem – He has taken care of that through the death of His Son. It’s our unwillingness to own it and to come clean with Him. Why do we keep lying to ourselves and to God when we know that He knows our deepest and most intimate thoughts and actions? Pride keeps us from being honest with ourselves and God and robs us of the fellowship we could and should enjoy with Him.
He did everything possible to restore us to Himself so that we could return to the state of innocence and righteousness that Adam and Eve enjoyed before they chose their way above His. It cost Jesus His life to bring us back to the Father. Why do we forfeit the honour of closeness to Him just because we won’t acknowledge that we have sinned?
God is not demanding that we drag up everything we have done since birth. That’s not the issue although some people tag the same refrain onto their prayers over and over again, “And forgive my sins,” as a blanket statement just in case they have forgotten something that God might be holding against them. Have they forgotten that God has cleaned the record, once for all?
John’s first chapter is about fellowship. What is it that gives us the confidence that we can have fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ; and what disturbs our fellowship with Him?
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 1: 3
Did you get that? We have fellowship with one another and with the Father and the Son because we know and believe the truth about Jesus. What disturbs our fellowship with one another and with God? Not our sin but our dishonesty. We are still in the flesh and in a fallen world. Sin will still be a part of us until we shed this body and depart for the realm where we are no longer subject to sin.
The Holy Spirit does not convict us of sin; He convicts us of righteousness (John 16: 8-10). He holds up God’s standard of righteousness so that we can come back into line with God’s Word. When we are honest enough to take responsibility for our sin, He responds by washing away our unrighteousness and restoring our fellowship with the Father.
Isn’t that worth a little bit of humility?
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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