“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1.8-10
If there is one thing I am aware of it is my sin. I have no delusion as to my sin yet I may not understand the extent of my disobedience and depravity from God. This doesn’t mean I have to be a sinner. By no means! I am not advocating sin but just answering John’s statement — “If we claim to be without sin.”
The claim to be without sin means we are deceived and the truth is not in us (v.1). Who defines sin? God. How is it defined? In the Bible, confirmed by the Holy Spirit, and is lived out by the people He has created. If we deny sin, we do not have the truth of God in us. This is a bold statement in light of our culture and many of our churches compromising on social issues. Are these churches deceived and not living in the truth? Apparently.
However, the Good News is never far away — all we must do is “confess our sins.” We do this individually but also collectively. We confess our individual sin to brothers and sisters who hold us accountable. We confess our collective sin as a church to the Church and to the Lord, asking him to restore us, make us right, and renew our love for God and the world.
So if we confess, what then happens? Not a long delay, not years in waiting but immediate forgiveness and restoration of the Church and the person. He will forgive and purify us from all unrighteousness. When we confess, we are still impure, dirty, sinners, gross. But at the moment of our confession (we do this while in the state of depravity) then Christ cleans us up. Isn’t that great? We can come to him dirty and after we confess our dirt, he washes us white as snow.
Yet, John writes, “if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” Which is the worst of the worst. Claiming not to be sinners makes sure we remain in our sin. If we say we are not sinners, then we are saying that you Jesus are a liar. And, as a result, his Word does not live within us. This can be disastrous for a person and and a ministry or organization. How can he bless us without his word being in us? How can we be in ministry without his Word? What direction do we follow if not the voice of God? The voice of this world — the prince of this world — Satan himself?
To cut to the chase, this comes so close to home as my beloved United Methodist Church is about to split over issues such as same sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and priests. This liberal side of the church believes these things are acceptable practices along with pro-choice abortion. But the traditional, orthodox, evangelical side see these issues as a sin and going against God’s Word.
Will you pray with me that our Church might see the truth of the Bible and do (and believe) what it says? God will have the final victory but the pain of our sin will wreck many maligned United Methodist Churches and “believers” today as they listen not to his Word but to the world on these issues.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am a sinner saved by grace. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to walk in newness of life and to strive for holiness. I know I am far from perfect but I strive for it nonetheless. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power and love. Help your Church and especially the United Methodist Church seek truth in your love and by your Word. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen