Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ignore, Deny or Confess: Dealing with Sin by Engaging the Word of Life

Reading in First John, chapter one.

John opens with a brief exposition of Jesus Christ, whom, “We have heard …we have seen with our own eyes … we have looked upon and our hands have handled.” He is the Word of Life made known in the flesh. Now John bears witness and declares that same Word of Life who was with the Father in heaven and manifested on the earth. But there is more, and it makes for fullness of joy—there is fellowship with the Father and with the Son.

Then John goes after some theological ideas which were incorrect, which do not line up with the fellowship we have in the Father and the Son. It has to do with sin, our teaching about it, our attitude toward it. What do we do? Ignore it, deny it, or confess it.

Ignoring sin. There was a teaching going around that said sin does not matter, that we can safely ignore it and live as we please — and still have fellowship with the Father. John responds clearly, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Therefore, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Our darkness has nothing in common with the God of light. There is no place where they can connect together, and so, by definition, there can be no fellowship. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” We must acknowledge the light of God, and let it direct us, then the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from all our darkness.

Denying sin. There was a teaching going around that sin is not a reality at all, but a deception, and that this is the truth which sets us free. But that actually turns the truth on its head. John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” To say we have no sin, that it is not a reality, is a self-deception. It is a denial of God’s Word. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

Confessing sin. Instead of ignoring sin, or denying it, take it to the Lord. He is bigger, greater, and much more powerful than our sin, and He has already provided the solution for it. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Greek word for “confess” is homologeo, which means to “say the same thing.” To confess our sins means to say the same thing about it that God says. It is coming into agreement with God about our sin: that it is real, that it is wrong, that it is darkness, that it does not belong in our life. When we come into agreement about the nature of the problem, then we are ready to receive the solution that God has prepared. The Bible says that God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is why, when we confess our sins, God can rightfully forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is about Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

It is not faith to ignore or deny sin, because that is contrary to what God has said. Faith approaches God with repentance and confession, believing that He is full of faith to forgive and cleanse us in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the very Word of Life.