Monday, May 24, 2010

"As We Confess..." Part 4

(Friends: today we continue our consideration of confession of sin, addressing the literal Greek meaning of "homologeo," translated as "confess" in I John 1:9. Rather than "to admit," the word means "to agree with," that is, to agree with God and His Word about our sins. This broadens the subject, and rightly understood, leads to a more meaningful and effectual experience of God's forgiveness when we sin.)

"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8).

The Apostle Paul's benediction concerns all who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. God "will not impute sin" to us, that is, He will not place sin on our account for any reason. We do well to remember and affirm such blessed truth as we confess, or agree with God and His Word, when we sin.

Our Lord relates to us as a Father in times of unbelief and disobedience. We are sons and daughters in Christ, and loving restoration rather than rejection and wrath are the portion meted out to us in even our most wayward times. This does not preclude discipline, of course, and every seasoned believer will acknowledge that God's woodshed can be a necessarily severe place. Our Father loves us enough to administer corrective difficulty if we do not quickly repent and agree with Him when we sin. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).

Still, sins are not placed on our account as if we have created a debt with God. The Lord Jesus bore such obligation on the cross of Calvary when He was tortured to death, and forsaken by God and man to make atonement for our sins. They were imputed to Him, and His substitutionary sacrifice was so satisfactory in the sight of God the Father that He "will not impute sin" to His trusting children. Our relationship with God is founded on the solid rock of Christ's gracious mercy, and it is a loving Father with whom we agree, and to whom we confess.

Such understanding makes it far more likely we will approach God in times of even our greatest failures. This is vital because we do Him and ourselves no favors by wallowing in our sins. The person and work of the Lord Jesus is a powerful restorative for those who come to God on His terms. Agreeing with Him that He "will not impute sin to us" draws us to the the throne of grace where "we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). The Lord Jesus is the issue. To the degree He was condemned on the cross of Calvary, never will we be. Remembrance of such solemn truth motivates godly sorrow in our hearts, and merciful forgiveness will be found awaiting us just as wrath and rejection awaited the Lamb of God on His cross.

"He... bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
(I Peter 2:23-25)

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