SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT CONFESSING OUR SINS?

 

I read an article recently by Kevin DeYoung in which he addressed the subject of the confession of our sins as believers (TGC, May 10, 2014). This is what he said:

“God loves us fully in Christ, but this does not mean we are incapable of doing things that are displeasing to God. We can get out of step with the Spirit. We can grieve him too. Even after we have been redeemed, our sin continues to be offensive to God. And this has an effect.

Think of adoption. You complete the paper work, pay the money and the child is yours. You are not sending him back. Never, ever, ever….You will always love him deeply, more than he can possibly realize. But you can still get upset, still be offended, still be very pleased or very displeased. In the same way, God still notices our sin and it disrupts our fellowship with him.”

It seems that sin is a big deal to God even for the believer who has been saved from his sins. Here are some reasons why confession of sin is so necessary & vital for our well-being:

First, our sin is a disruption of fellowship. DeYoung was right. Even though we are “in fellowship” with God in our relationship, sin disrupts the enjoyment of that fellowship. We no longer enjoy the intimacy of “sonship” or appreciate the blessings of our redemption. For example, sin blinds us to gratitude. Remember Israel’s sin of complaining in the wilderness where they detested God’s provision of manna and pined for the leaks and garlics of Egypt? (Hey, I cannot imagine pining for leaks & garlics -pizza maybe). Their complaint was sin and that disrupted the enjoyment of their fellowship with God. God could not do anything right in their eyes. The leaders God gave them were fools. The provisions God gave them were tasteless. The path God led them on was meaningless. The promises God gave were discounted. The victories God won were long forgotten. The presence of God among them was ignored. Disruption…Disruption…Disruption!

Second, our sin is a precursor to disaster. The disrupted fellowship in the family of Israel brought discipline to them…and yet… they remained the people of God. Ps. 99: 8 shows us the balance of grace and truth resident in our God in terms of our sin: “O LORD our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God, but you punished them when they went wrong.” James reminds us of the progressive path that sin pursues when we surrender to it in our lives when he says,  “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it it fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). Why do I call sin a precursor to disaster? Because sin is partnered with death. They walk hand in hand. They are “buddies,” “inseparable pals,” connected by a  deep passion for each other. If you partner with sin, then look out because connected to sin is his old partner “death.’ Israel got their wish for flesh to eat (quail) but oh, how sick they became on that meal. Later, they were bitten by poisonous snakes and many of them died. What a precursor  to disaster our sin becomes. They discovered the partnership between sin and death to be crushing and destructive.

Third, our sin is a drag on the wonderful life God has given to us.  DeYoung likens our sin to barnacles on our ship of life which keeps us from moving forward in our growth: “The cleansing, mind you, is not like the expunging of a guilty record before the judge. That’s already been accomplished. This cleansing is more like the scraping of barnacles off the hull of a ship so it can move freely again. I  John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (barnacles).

Confession of sin is a big deal. It is so because God declares it to be so. And it is so because of the tragic and terrible consequences that come from a lack of confession of sin.

DeYoung’s conclusion is worth noting:

“Some of us become Christians and just go on our merry way, never thinking of sin, while others fixate on our failings and suffer from despair. One person feels no conviction of sin; the other person feels no relief from sin. Neither of these habits should mark the Christian. The Christian should often feel conviction, confess, and be cleansed.”        THINK IT THRU

DO SIN AND “SPIRITUALITY” CONNIVE TOGETHER?

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I read something recently from the writings of John Newton, the pastor who wrote the beloved song “Amazing Grace.” This is what he said that so gripped me:

“I often saw the necessity of religion, as a means of escaping hell; but I loved sin, and was unwilling to forsake it. I was so strangely blind and stupid, that, sometimes when I have been determined upon things which I knew were sinful, I could not go on quietly till I had first dispatched my ordinary task of prayer, in which I have grudged every moment of time: when this was finished, my conscience was in some measure pacified, and I could rush into folly  with little remorse.”

There are three statements he made that got me to thinking about how sin and “false” spirituality conspire against me to bring me down.

First of all,  am I reluctant to admit that I love sin and sometimes am unwilling to forsake it? Some sins are enjoyable for a time [covetousness, sharing juicy gossip, gluttony, etc].  We can become comfortable with some of our sins and cultivate a love to practice them. It is like committing adultery against God though, isn’t it?  Was that not what the prophet Jeremiah  warned his people Israel about in Jeremiah 3 where Jeremiah accused them of playing fast and loose with their “husband” God? Are there any sins you love? Do you reconcile that love for sin with the thinking that you are still serving and loving God? Of course Jesus said in Matt. 6:24 that no man can serve two masters. John Newton found that out.

Secondly, do I use prayer to salve my conscience when I am thinking about sinning?  Newton said he would do something spiritual like praying and then he would feel better about sinning, like it sort of balanced the scales.  Did you ever fervently read your Bible and pray with the thought of acting on something you knew was sinful and yet that very action was softened by your “false” spiritual practice? It could even be the “innocent” sin of worry or anxiety. Well, you might think this: God knows I am human  and weak anyway. I can’t be perfect.  What about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that grants to us strength and wisdom to weather all the storms of trial and temptation that come our way? How easily we are bidden to forget where He is and what He is there to do!

Finally, do I sin with the thought in the back of my mind that I will just ask for forgiveness and be clean again? The old saying is NOT true: “It is easier to do it and ask for forgiveness than ask permission and run the risk of not being able to do it at all.” The Psalmist prayed that God would keep him from presumptuous sins [Ps. 19:13].  Dare we presume on God’s grace and mercy like that? There are always consequences even when we are forgiven of our sins.

So…Is sin and your brand of spirituality conniving to enslave you as it did John Newton? Think it thru