The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Friends, the current series regarding confession of sin is centered on the meaning of the word "confession" in the New Testament, namely, "to say the same thing." We are considering what God says about our sins, and how we join Him in His grace, mercy, and truth in order to adequately confess our sins.)
"Confession of Sin"
Part 2 - Forgiving the Forgiven
""We have an Advocate "now to appear in the presence of God for us," a mediator upon who the Father looks with perfect satisfaction as the atonement for our sins (Hebrews 9:24). We must join our Father in His view, seeing by faith our blessed Lord as far more than capable of maintaining our salvation, and also of restoring our fellowship with God in times when we wander."
In my first days as a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, fellow believers taught me rightly that Christians can still sin, and that we must be forgiven and cleansed when we distrust and disobey our Lord.
"If we confess (say the same thing) our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
A question, however, came to my mind: Why do the forgiven and cleansed - believers - require forgiveness and cleansing?
"We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
In the sense of our relationship with God and righteous standing with Him, believers are completely and forevermore forgiven and cleansed to the degree Scripture speaks of both our justification and glorification in the past tense: "Whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Romans 8:30). We could not be more forgiven in the relational aspect of God's saving grace. Our Father has pardoned us to the degree that He will not place sins on the account of born again believers (all our sins have been placed on the account of Christ when He died on the cross). "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:7-8).
It remains true, however, that believers still sin, and that sin has consequences regarding our fellowship and walk with the Lord. We therefore confess our sins as sons and daughters to our loving Heavenly Father for different reasons than the sinner who comes to Christ in need of salvation. For salvation, we approached a Judge who had Himself made a way to forgive our sin and cleanse the inner temple of our heart. His own Son is that way, that truth, and that life (John 14:6). Initially trusting the Lord Jesus justifies us, or constitutes us as righteous in God's sight, based on our Savior's sacrificial bearing of our sins, and the suffering of God's wrath against them. Conversely, the believer, already "justified by faith," approaches the throne of grace for a different reason. We require the forgiveness of a Father, and also the vital cleansing of our conscience through the merits of Christ's blood shed for the atoning of our sins. This maintains our fellowship with Him whereby we access His grace for the living of the Christian life. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all our sin" (I John 1:17).
We require a cleansed conscience - "a conscience void of offense" - in order to walk with God in loving, trusting, and effectual fellowship (Acts 24:16). This, we best know by the peace that comes with obedience, always the optimum way of maintaining our internal state of confidence and determination. The Apostle John commands accordingly: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." However, John also strongly affirmed the contingency of mercy for restoration in times of failure: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1). We walk with God by either consecration to His will in obedience, or by confession of our sin in repentance. In either case, we "say the same thing" as does our Father about the Lord Jesus, namely, that Christ is the power of God for faithfulness, and the penance of God for restoration. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
Our Heavenly Father would not have us wallow in our sins. We do Him, others, and ourselves no favors if we do not quickly avail ourselves of His forgiveness and cleansing in times of unbelief and disobedience. We have an Advocate "now to appear in the presence of God for us," a mediator upon who the Father looks with perfect satisfaction as the provision for every contingency (Hebrews 9:24). We must join our Father in His view, seeing by faith our blessed Lord as far more than capable of maintaining our salvation, and also of restoring our fellowship with God in times when we wander. The forgiven and cleansed must receive forgiveness and cleansing to illuminate the realization of our Christ-secured relationship with God, which makes possible our Christ-enabled fellowship with God. Grace of an unfathomable magnitude makes possible both aspects of a salvation that supplies for every need of our hearts and lives, both now and forever…
"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Tomorrow - Part 3 - The Cost
Weekly Memory Verse
"Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee."