Friday, April 30, 2010

Deceiving Ourselves

1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)
If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

What commentary is needed here? Saying we have no sin, we deceive no one but ourselves. But this is what we would do. Deceives ourselves, and deceiving ourselves deprive ourselves of forgiveness. This is what man does, we think we can hide our sin with a fig leaf, and we hide it from no one but ourselves. The first lesson a Christian learns is to see his sin for what it is. We don’t ever mine the depths of our sin, we can’t even get to the point where we can see them all, at some point you just see that you are a sinner through and through. Not just in the big things, but such tiny things become such great sins when you examine them. Our attitudes, our selfishness the way we carry ourselves is so often such greater sin than even the sin we are trying to hide with our fa├žade.
Yet if we just confess our sins, see them for what they are, then Christ forgives them, and forgiving them we takes them from us in such a way that we no longer have to carry them under the fig leaf of self-righteousness.


Steve Martin said...

If we don't see our sin, if it's not kept in front of us, then we become Pharisees...we don't need (much) forgiveness (or we move beyond that).

It's sad, but it seems this is the case in many, many churches and with many people.

The two-edged sword of the Word must be utilized.

Rev. Daniel Robert Skillman said...

I wonder how many people truly confess anything at all during the general confession just prior to the introit of the divine service. I tend to think that when we confess everything, often we use that as a cover to confess nothing. Not always, mind you; but often.

I think that it is good spiritual discipline and simply wise to seek out a confessor, a man to whom you can confess both your sinful nature and those specific sins that weigh on your conscience. It is helpful to name your sin, and name it to a man ordained to hear it. It is even more helpful to hear the absolution that man has been called to speak, and thus to know that THAT sin has been forgiven.

If only we had a standard teaching tool we could use to instruct our members regarding the great benefits of private confession and absolution. You know...something simple, such as any father could use to instruct his own household. Perhaps it could be written in a to-the-point question and answer format at a reading level a late-term elementary school child could grasp.

You would think that if we had such a marvel, things would be different. People would know what a treasure God has given them in the form of private confession and absolution.

But alas, we would not only have to possess such a booklet; We would also have to use it, to read and study it.

Then, surely we would crawl on our knees a hundred miles to confess our fault and to hear God's absolution spoken by the servant He has ordained thus to speak.

Ah, but alas, that would mean that we would not only have to possess and study such a book, we would also have to believe it.

Perhaps if God Himself spoke through the words, some would believe. But how can words on a page be a vehicle for God's Spirit. Surely He's too great to stoop so low.

Oh well. Back to saying my prayers to Jesus in the closet hoping to feel forgiven.