1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Yesterday, I came across an excerpt from an interview with a well-known pastor and writer who preaches at a “mega-church.” In the interview, that pastor admitted that he never talks about sin in his sermons, only about how people can transform their lives. This is a bit alarming, since the word “sin” (“sinned, sinners, sinning”) occurs nearly 200 times just in the New Testament. If the Son of God came into the world to FORGIVE our SINS – and even directed us to pray for such forgiveness – then how can someone share the gospel WITHOUT mentioning sin?
Of course, the problem is not just with that pastor, it’s with all of us, too. A recent survey found that 81% of people felt that adultery – i.e. sex beyond the marriage bed – was a sin, and yet only 45% felt that pre-marital sex was a sin. What’s the dividing line there, a marriage ceremony? One can float from bed to bed as often as one likes, simply because they have not said “I do” to one of their partners?
As John says in the passage above, we deceive ourselves if we say we have no sin. We are prone to sin. It’s in our nature to lie, to hurt, to steal, to envy, to be lustful and profane, to covet, to ignore God, to idolize money and things and people. Look at the lists of sinful behavior found in Romans 1:28-32, Galatians 5:19-21, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5, and just see if you don’t find more than a few things you are guilty of on those lists. You see, sin isn’t just about the Ten Commandments, it’s about an attitude toward God and our fellow men and women. And let’s face it, quite often our attitude stinks.
The great thing about Jesus is that if we confess our sins and repent, then He is faithful and willing to clean the slate for us. But the key here is repentance, leaving our old sinful selves behind. It’s not enough to just SAY we don’t sin anymore, we really have to DO it, we really have to acknowledge that OUR standards of what is sinful have been wrong, and then strive to live up to GOD’s standards. God’s standards are very high indeed, but with the right attitude toward God – LOVE – then we will succeed. When we love God, we love His standards as found in His Word, the Bible:
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!
3 They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.
Let us acknowledge who we are and not be afraid to say the “S” word: sin. We do that not to focus solely on sin, but to show the world that we have been forgiven of our sins by the atoning work of the Son of God, Christ Jesus. When we do that, then we can truly walk in His ways.
Heavenly Father, all praise and worship belong to You, for You alone have the power to forgive my sins – and You have done just that through Your precious Son Jesus. As the Psalmist says “Oh that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!” Help me do that, dear Lord. Help me follow Your ways and Your love, so that I truly can go and sin no more. Amen.