Monday, September 20, 2010

the Christian's necessary relationship with sin

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10

There are three inescapable facts about a Christian's continuing struggle with sin that John keeps squarely in front of us in this passage. Christians will be better Christians with a robust understanding of how we deal with sin. It is not that we are to be "holier than thou" in our attitudes. It is that we are to be committed to fighting our own tendencies to continue to do wrong things. This comes at a price. Commitment that is worth making always does.

The first realization is that we cannot claim to no longer have a sin nature that struggles with doing what God would have us do. The sin nature is not eradicated when we come to put our trust in Christ. We are forgiven and justified in Christ, but we still struggle with what Paul calls "sin in me". If we claim to have no more sin nature, John warns us that we are deceiving ourselves and have no relationship with the truth until we live with the fact that there is a general principle of sin still within us, even as we live within Christ.

The second fact to keep in mind is that confession of sin continues to bring forgiveness and healing to our lives. We never stop living a life of confession. Believers must humbly come to God and admit specific sins that plague us still. When we do so, God is faithful to forgive. There is never a sin that we confess that He will think is unforgivable. He always cleanse us from unrighteousness. But He will not tolerate the attitude that refuses to acknowledge the ruin of sin in our relationship with God.

The third thing to keep in mind is that if we refuse to deal with specific sins, our theology is warped. We ultimately make God out to be a liar. How? By inferring that we have not specifically sinned, we are telling the convicting Holy Spirit that He is wrong. We are telling Jesus that we do not need His atoning work. We are telling God the Father that He should not be offended by our actions. That is pretty serious and callous stuff when we think about it this way. However, when we confess sin, we in a manner of speaking worshiping God by yielding to the convicting work of the Spirit, receiving and trusting in the precious redeeming blood of the Son, and confessing our guilt before a Holy and gracious God. So a practical theology of sin results in an orthodox relationship with God.

- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.

No comments: