mt pleasant church of the brethren north canton ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

Pastor's Blog

hand holding pen writing on paper

“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.””

(1 John 1:9-2:2 ESV)

    In a recent conversation around our kitchen table with a group of young adults, our study led us to the passage above, and a good conversation about confession, repentance, and forgiveness. It was mentioned that confession is admitting to wrong; to own something that we have done; and to agree with God about the wrong that was done. There’s something within us that seems to be very resistant to the act of confession, even when it is perfectly clear and obvious that a certain wrong was done. A whole room full of people could have seen the act, and yet the perpetrator denies their involvement.
    When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden, their first response was to run and hide. The awareness of their nakedness coincided with the awareness of the wrong that they had done in disobeying God—their wrong was exposed to God. When asked about eating the fruit of the tree which they were commanded not to eat, their response was to blame another. Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed the woman that God had given him. Both of them had responsibility in the action. Both of them made a decision to disregard the commandment of God, and both were guilty, but neither was willing to own their decision.
    Confession is necessary for the believer as it is an act of submission to the authority of God, and acknowledgment that we have run afoul of that authority. True confession comes with another important component for the believer, and that is repentance. It’s not enough to say, “I’m sorry”, but to then go out and repeat the act over and over. That confession of “I’m wrong” needs to be followed up with, “I’m going to work at turning away from the wrong that I’ve done.”
    As we recognize God’s authority and our wrong in regard to that authority, repentance becomes our purposeful action to seek restoration with God; seeking forgiveness from the one we’ve offended. That forgiveness is provided by the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice that Christ offered on our behalf. He willfully allowed His own blood to be offered as the full and complete sacrifice for our sin. That is how God is able to be “faithful and just” to forgive our sins. To forgive sins without sacrifice, without payment for our sins is the height of injustice. Someone has to pay the penalty. The penalty is paid by the shed blood of Christ, and so God is able to be completely just in forgiving us, because Jesus Christ paid our penalty.
    Hear the love in John’s letter to the recipients of this letter. “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.” It took a righteous advocate to accomplish our forgiveness. Someone with their own sin to deal with could never have paid that price, only Jesus Christ, the righteous one. I’m glad to have an advocate like Jesus, who cared enough about me to provide this measure of grace for me. How about you?

By His Grace Alone,

Pastor Bruce Jacobsen

 

 

 

 
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