February 1, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO FORGIVE (part 3)

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Even though this is one small verse, I must take up at least three of these devotional entries to try to, at the very least, skim the surface. Trust me, we could spend some more days on it. But I do feel it necessary to answer one underlying, confusing, misunderstood principle about the forgiveness of God:

“Why do I need to confess my sins for forgiveness, if I was forgiven of all past, present, and future sins when I got saved?”

It is a great question. Let me answer as simply as I can. As you know, the Bible mentions that God is not just “God” to us. God is our “Shepherd”, our “High Tower”, our “Rock”, our “Judge”, and of course our “Father”. (And many more) For us to understand this verse, we must understand that God is our “Judge”, and God is our “Father”. Now when we were saved and our sins were covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, God our “Judge” forgave our past, present, and future sins. We were given a “judicial” pardon for our sins. At the Judgement Seat of Christ, we will be seen as pure and sinless in the eyes of God our Judge, because our sins were cast as far as the East is from the West when we put our faith in Christ. We will never have to answer for our sins, because Jesus Christ answered for them.

However, God is also our “Father”. He is grieved by our sin. Our sin creates a distance in our closeness with God the Father. Our relationship is still the same when we sin because He is still our Father. But the fellowship has been damaged. The same thing happens when one of my three sons disobey me. I am still their father, and I still love them, but our fellowship is not as close until they ask me for forgiveness. We confess our sins, not because we are afraid that God will hurt us, but because we are aware that we have hurt God. We seek “paternal” forgiveness through confession. We already have a “judicial” pardon from God our “Judge”, but we desire “paternal” forgiveness from God our “Father”. Our “judicial” forgiveness keeps us clean under God, but our “paternal” forgiveness keeps us close with God. Do we need to do some confessing, so we can enjoy some closeness? If you do, God has promised to forgive and cleanse.

One thousand times over, I am persuaded that He is able to forgive!