If we confess…
May 4th, 2019
A very popularly quoted passage of scripture is 1 John 1:9.
Many will interpret this passage as a one-time purification of the corrupt human condition which exonerates us from any further action. Saying that dismisses a prime directive of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (CSB)
This scripture is no less true than any other passage in our bibles, but this knowledge is the minimum requirement for salvation. A more complete understanding of the process of salvation includes the pursuit of Jesus, making him the Lord and Master of our lives. Paul in his writings triggers off of Jesus’ servant message and says we become slaves in service of the Lord. We become the bondservant of God.
In the period of the new testament, slavery had a much broader definition than what we consider it being today. Bond servants were fairly common. In fact, within the Roman citizenry of the day roughly one-third of Romans willingly made a choice to become the indentured servant of another.
We can draw some very important parallels from the bond servant.
One of the more significant things we can pull from this comparison, is the requirement of repentance. Not just repenting once and then we are done repenting.
The bond servant would give their lives over to their masters, but in doing so they had a daily option to choose to be obedient to that master of be less than obedient servants.
We are no different.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones.
Matthew 3:7-10 (CSB)
John the Baptist who cleared the path for Jesus to start his ministry preached repentance to large crowds of people. The religious elite were terrified of John. He called these elitists a “Brood of vipers!” Their claim to righteousness was nested in the fact that they were part of the linage of Abraham. On that premise alone they assumed that they were able to be assured that they were in a position of right alignment with God.
John made it clear that what God required was repentance and not the presumption of righteousness through inheritance.
“Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.”
The growth cycle for disciples
We have a growth cycle as believers in Jesus.
We’ve been given the Holy Spirit to live in us and be our counsel. The understanding of God’s Word comes directly by way of the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 14:26 (CSB)
If the Spirit of God is living in us and we yield to his teaching, he will provide clarity to the Word of God as we engage in the scriptures.
Talk with anyone you see as a brother or sister in Christ and well imbued with understanding in the Word and confirm this with them. Ask them if they see new things in old passages they have read time and time again.
I can assure you that they have!
You can read the same scripture a hundred times and then there will come a time when, if we are yielded to the Holy Spirit, we will breeze through that same passages, when suddenly it hits us like a truck. The words, the inference; plunges us to a new depth of understanding in the familiar scripture.
I like referring to this as a personal revelation, because it is God revealing himself through his word to us.
This requires feeding on the Word of God, every day being that committed bond servant of Jesus, and yielded to the Holy Spirits teaching.
When we open ourselves up to this influence, these revelations of understanding, we will become convicted of inconsistencies with what God’s revealed to us through his Word and Spirit.
This conviction leads to surrender of that area of our lives we had been unaware of beforehand.
That surrender naturally requires a change of direction to realign ourselves with God’s will. Repentance takes place, when we alter our perspective and choose to do what God has made us aware of. It isn’t blind obedience. It’s predicated on an understanding that God is right, and we are wrong, which results in a change in our resolve.
The cycle then follows as:
- Yielding to the Holy Spirit – Acknowledge the Spirits role in our lives and commit to him teaching us primarily through God’s Word, but in its fullest manifestation yield to his every direction in our lives.
- Making the Word of God part of our lives every day – Immersion in the Word of God doesn’t need to be a big event. In fact, it really shouldn’t be. It should be a habit we form and maintain, because there is so much more in the scripture we simply haven’t been made privy to yet, and the way we realize it is exposing ourselves to the scripture while being yielded to the Spirit.
- Revelation – The Spirit will reveal to us new depths of understanding in the scripture which we hadn’t considered before.
- Conviction – We realize when understanding this new information we are not in compliance with the will of God expressed in his Word. As a result, we feel the pain of disobedience to our master’s will.
- Surrender – We resolve we will, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit living in us, alter our behavior to resolve this inconsistency in our lives.
- Repentance – We make the intellectual leap of understanding that what we formally thought was not an issue is an issue and choose to turn and change our alignment to the Lord’s direction as taught us by the Spirit.
- Renewal – The event of refreshment that comes as a result of being fully obedient with the will of God.
Then the process starts again.
Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah.
Acts 3:19-20 (CSB)
It’s through this refreshing that we most greatly display the presence of the Lord in us. It is through this cycle of refreshing that we discover the “Hidden Sin” buried deep in our flesh which serves to cause us to deviate from the path our Master directs us on.
Because we exist in the flesh today, we can never completely cast off every sin that besets us. But we should become more aware of the sin which is in our lives and surrender it to Jesus, upon the revelation of it.
Doing so, strengthens us, and allows us to grow in Jesus a bit more with every time we confess those sins and repent.
In the Grace of Jesus!