What is sin? One definition is that sin is anything within me, or an action produced by me, which fails to bring glory to God (Romans 3:23). Whenever the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of your heart to see your sin, it is healthy to turn to the Scriptures to fill your mind with truth. One of the most helpful portions to deliberately meditate on is 1 John 1:8-2:2.
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. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Here we discover ten significant truths that you and I affirm every time we acceptably confess sin to God. Ponder these thoughts concerning God, sin, grace, forgiveness, and the sufficiency of Christ and his sacrificial work on your behalf. When I confess my sin…
- I acknowledge my innate sinfulness, not merely my “sins.” This is a very important reminder. I am not a sinner because I sin. Rather, I sin because I am a sinner. My sinfulness is directly linked to my connection with Adam (Romans 5:12). If I ever get to the point of believing that I “have no sin,” then I have deceived myself.
- I demonstrate that God’s truth is at work “in me.” To deny my innate sinfulness, or guilt concerning my sins, is to deny God and his truth and to admit that neither is in me.
- I fully agree with God that my thought, word, deed, motive, attitude, or any combination of them falls short of his glory. To “confess” means to say the same thing, that is, to agree with God that his judgment concerning my sin is accurate.
- God’s faithfulness and righteousness go to work on my behalf. When I agree with God concerning my sin, then he acts according to his promises that he made on my behalf. When he forgives, God manifests that he is faithful and just.
- God releases me from my debt. To “forgive” me means he lets go of my sin as an offense to him. He no longer holds it against me or seeks to punish me because he has already punished his Son, which displayed his amazing love (see Romans 5:8).
- God washes my sinful heart and conscience. He “cleanses” me from all sin. That is, he washes me again—in a fresh way—in the blood of Jesus, which was shed once for all (see Hebrews 7:27).
- I testify of God’s truthfulness. When I stubbornly refuse to humble myself and agree with God, then I “make Him a liar.”
- I confirm that God’s Word is at work “within me.” Dealing honestly with my sin before God and others is one of the evidences of my “new creature status” as a regenerated believer (2 Corinthians 5:17; James 1:18).
- Jesus steps up to be my righteous “advocate with the Father.” Jesus acts as my defense lawyer, bringing forth his wounded hands and feet as proof that my sin has already been paid for.
- I rest in the astounding sufficiency of the blood of Jesus, my propitiatory sacrifice. Each and every time I rightly agree with God concerning the accuracy of his assessment of my sin, my wearied soul finds rest in the wondrous truth that my Jesus has already satisfied the righteous demands of the Father and absorbed his wrath. I also testify that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is sufficient for the sins of every man, woman, and child who ever has been or will be.
Excerpted from my book Reasons for Unanswered Prayer by Cruciform Press.