Hope for tomorrow - Only with Honesty!
Romans 3: 19 – 31.
1 John 1: 5 – 2: 6.
John’s first letter has become one of my favourite passages, and there are many brilliant truths in here for those who study it to find. John holds out the promise of Fellowship – one with another, but also each with our Triune God. But how can we, mere sinful mortals, have fellowship with God who is perfect, above all, all powerful and completely just and holy. The Greek word means ‘to have something in common with’. What can sinful human beings possibly have in common with Holy God?
There is a tendency with many Christians today to skip over the implications of this portion and go straight to 1 John 1: 9 – Confess and be forgiven! There is a tendency to trivialise our sinfulness, or to minimise God’s Righteous Wrath and Justice when we do this thoughtlessly. I am guilty as charged at times. I have confessed sins and thought to myself ‘I mustn’t do that again,’ or ‘how could I have done that?’. Perhaps we promise God that we won’t do it again. But we do! Because we on our own cannot defeat the temptations of the Devil, or even the ground in habits of a lifetime.
Let us read on – God can cleanse us from all sin. But why would He, isn’t He Just, and aren’t sins punishable by death? Yes to both, but in Chapter 2 v 2 we read that Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins. In 2 Cor. 5: 21 we read. ,,, He takes away not only our sins, but the sin of the whole world. This is why He is referred to as the Lamb of God, the sin offering that takes the punishment for us.
Because of Jesus’ death we have the right to call God our Father, and to become children of God, and to live in His presence for ever. What a mighty promise and Hope that is. But, God is Holy, and we as human beings are not. How then can this family fellowship work? John says that God is all light, and we must walk in the light. That if we say we have fellowship with God and walk in spiritual darkness we are lying, and we are not living in God’s presence. Light then here means Truth, seeing and revealing things as they are. Darkness is covering up the truth.
Fellowship we said was having something in common with God. What can we have in common - a recognition and agreement on who and what we are, and who and what He is. Complete honesty between God and ourselves, just as in the best families there should be complete honesty between parent and child. Light reveals the dirt of our sin – but light ( God ) cannot be contaminated by that dirt. As a matter of fact we can think perhaps of the ultra violet light tubes we used to see in milk bars etc. doing a sanitizing work.
To be in fellowship with God means that we walk in the light and are exposed and have to face the truth about ourselves and God. God is Just, the Law must be kept, we are guilty, but Jesus has stepped in and paid our fine – more He taken our punishment of death on His own shoulders. All we need to do is to confess – to admit truthfully who and what we really are.
So, all we need to do is confess, yeah right!
As a general rule in Scripture confession is a dual action, a recognition and admission of who and what we are, and of Who and What God is. These
must not be just formulaic, but founded in deep belief, acknowledging that God is in control and we are not.
Confession is to agree with God about the complete unrighteousness of our sin. It is a recognition of our complete inadequacy to do anything about our own sin or our sinfulness, and our absolute need for God to act in us to cleanse us. It is a relational talking over our problems – as with child and parent. Not just pleading guilty before the Judge and hoping for a minimum sentence. Most importantly confession must involve repentance.
To repent is to make a decision that changes the total direction of one’s life. It is NOT just a feeling of deep sorrow, a feeling of regret or remorse, or a flowing of tears. All of these things can be part of repentance- but essentially there must be a change of heart that changes our lives. Our confession must honestly recognise and admit not only our sins, the daily little slips that we all have, but our Sin – the total direction of our lives directed towards self rather than towards God. Then when we are truly walking in the light and seeing ourselves as God sees us, and agree with Him about our sinfulness, then He can cleanse us and forgive us. Then we have fellowship with God and begin to grow and blossom in the pure light of His presence.
Keeping His commandments enables us to remain in His Love and walk in the Light. Remaining in His love and walking in the Light enables us to keep His commandments.
Jesus intercedes for us. At the final judgement when Satan brings his accusations of wrong doing against us and claims us for himself, Christ our advocate stands and says that no matter what we have done, we through faith and repentance having accepted Jesus in our lives, go free in His presence as the price has been paid in full by Him for us.
God in His Mercy withholds what we justly deserve.
God in His Grace freely gives us what we do not deserve.
God is our Hope and our consolation. Hope for the future that we may walk in the Light and have fellowship with God. But of what use is our hope unless we are redeemed by Christ, and having accepted Him as the controlling influence in our life, become cleansed by God so we can walk in the light. Don’t just lightly brush over the facts and confess our little sins, confess our true state of sinfulness, open our lives to the Light of God’s presence and Repent. Turn away from self and turn towards God that we might truly have Hope for the future as we walk in the Light with our Lord and Saviour, and agree truthfully with Him about who and what we are, and how truly Great and Merciful and Wonderful He is. You might says ‘yes, I am saved’ but salvation alone is not the end. God’s forgiveness and cleansing light opens us to His transforming of us truly into His children walking with Him in the power of His Love. Come to the Saviour today, confess and repent, that He might cleanse you of all unrighteousness and you will experience His great faithfulness and power. Amen.