20 August 2016
Reading: Jeremiah 48-49; Psalm 67; 1 John 1
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:8-10 NLT)
It really caught my attention reading through Jeremiah this time that God sorrowed over his people, saying again and again, “If only they would acknowledge and confess their sins so I could forgive them!” The profound truth here is hard to grasp. It’s easy to read about, easy to theologize about, but really hard to grasp. God forgives sin! God really wants to forgive sin!
David understood this truth and wrote about it in his Psalms. But that didn’t make it any easier for him to actually do it. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Psalm 32:5 NLT)
And what about us? The truth that God forgives honestly confessed sin is at the core of our theology. Yet we often bluster and deny and excuse ourselves, and all the while, the wall between our hearts and God’s heart grows thicker and taller.
Fooling others, fooling ourselves! Sometimes I act like a religious person. I attempt to justify my attitudes and behavior with excuses or sacrifices. I compare myself with others who are obviously “more sinful.” When I do this, I become less honest with God and myself. Then when I finally fall on my face and say, “Father, I have sinned!” and it all comes out in honest confession, I receive his forgiveness. The wall comes down, I sorrow for my sin, God comforts and restores me. It’s hard to believe it’s that simple!
It’s easy to say we believe it, it’s harder to live it. I do believe it! God forgives sin!
Father, Forgive me, for I have sinned. Thank you for the power of those simple words and that I can always be freed from the prison of “fooling myself” by honest confession and repentance. Thank you for an honest antidote to religion. Amen.