Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"As We Confess..."

(Dear Friends: Every few years, I am inclined to address the following subject in a series of messages that takes about a week to complete. It's seems to be that time again, and I hope you will find this helpful. Thanks, Glen).

Part 1
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9)

The Greek word translated as "confess" in I John 1:9 does not mean what we normally think it does. "Homologeo" means "to say the same thing." Therefore, the Apostle's literal meaning is "If we say the same thing about our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Normally we think of confession as admission, that is, we acknowledge with honesty and contrition that we have disbelieved and disobeyed God. There is truth in this perspective. "I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, and my iniquity have I not hid" (Psalm 32:5). Certainly the confession of our sin involves the simple admission that we have strayed from the path of righteousness, and our fleshly tendency to hide or excuse our sins can make this a great challenge indeed.

However, to "say the same thing" implies far more than admission. First, with whom or what are we saying the same thing when we confess our sins in accordance with the meaning of "homologeo?" God and His Word are the answers. True confession of sin means that we are saying the same thing about sin as revealed by our Lord in Scripture. This greatly amplifies the consideration, and makes possible a far broader experience of God's forgiveness and cleansing that powerfully restores our walk with Him when necessary. For the consecrated believer who seeks uninterrupted faithfulness to the Lord Jesus, there are few more important understandings.

Over the next few days we will consider the meaning of "homologeo." What has God said about our sins in the Bible? The answer is multifaceted, and while every episode of confession does not require us to verbally express to God as much detail as we will address, the doctrinal teaching of Scripture concerning this vital matter is necessary if confession - and more importantly, our experience of God's forgiveness and cleansing - is to have the most vital impact in our hearts and minds. Our Lord loves to forgive, cleanse, and restore. The more we understand the blessed means whereby He does so, the more we will effectively avail ourselves of the rivers of mercy that flow from the Lord Jesus.

For today, let us begin by proposing that we will never ourselves desire forgiveness and cleansing as much as God desires to provide it. "He delighteth in mercy" declared the prophet, and just as the father of the wayward son in Luke's Gospel ran to welcome his beloved home, so will we find open and receptive arms awaiting us as homologeo, properly understood, paves the path of restoration (Micah 7:18; Luke 15:20). Indeed, the first thing we must say with our Lord and His Word about sin and forgiveness is that as much as our Heavenly Father hates sin, He far more loves to forgive and cleanse. His beloved Son bears wounds upon His hands, feet, and heart that sing the blessed anthem of mercy to us both now and forevermore...

"Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For Thou, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."
(Psalm 86:3-5)

Tomorrow: the first truth about sin

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