Journal 1 John 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: If [I] say [I] have fellowship with [Jesus] while [I] walk in darkness, [I] lie and do not practice the truth.
If [I] say [I] have no sin, [I] deceive [myself] and the truth is not in [me].
If [I] say [I] have not sinned, [I] make [Jesus] a liar and his word is not in [me].
[However], if [I] walk in the light as [Jesus] is in the light, [I] have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (Sovereign and Justifying Grace)
If [I] confess [my] sins, He is faithful and just to forgive [me] [my] sins and to cleanse [me] from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:6-10 all mixed up but not mis-quoted)
Observation: Interesting on how these verses read when I rearrange them a little and personalizing the text, putting my actionables clearly separated from the grace of a Sovereign God.
Application: When I look in the mirror, do I allow myself to be convicted by my sin?
When I look in the mirror, do I hurriedly acknowledge sin and/or the guilt of sin and quickly move on to a comforting thought of being forgiven, cleansed, and my sin no longer counted against me? (key thought is “quickly moving on”)
Does personal sin bother me down deep?
John wrote this tiny letter using strongly worded and confrontational phrases, especially in this 1st chapter, speaking about the presence and practice of sin:
- You lie.
- You deceive yourself.
- You don’t practice truth.
- Truth is not in you.
- You make Jesus a liar.
- Jesus’ word is not in you.
This is basically asking, “If Jesus’ word and life is not in you, what IS in you?”
John presents and reminds his readers of God’s Sovereign Grace in redemption; He is not practicing condemnation through writing—but he IS making INFERENCE that I ought to think about this strongly. And with gritty, fierce, bottom-line thought.
Nope, inference is too light a word. John is using a 2×4 to my mulish, thick head—mostly because I am too easy on myself; I want to excuse my actions, thoughts, words, and deeds by quickly claiming the “blood covers all my sins.”
I end up soft pedaling the ACCURATE fact that my sin nailed Jesus to the cross.
Jesus described it, “…for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanliness. So, you outwardly appear righteous to others but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matt 23:27-28)
Paul described it, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Ro 6:1-2)
What do I do? What should be my response? I don’t want to live a lie.
One significant word: Confession; accurate and habitually as the Holy Spirit reveals it and I acknowledge it.
“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin…” Ps 32:5
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Prov 28:13
I wrote the following for myself so that I would keep a standard front of mind:
Be open, honest, candid with honorable concern,
merciful practice, and with fierce personal transparency.
Nobody is positioned to demand confession. Confession of personal sin must be from a position of personal conviction. There may be folks, gifted by God, to realize there is a “covering of sin”, but even then it is subject to the increasing measure of the process involved in Matthew 18. (Note: there is always Ananias and Sapphira referenced in Acts 5 to account for, I suppose.)
Prayer: Father, I am convicted that confession is a form of surrender to your rule and reign. If I sidestep confessing, then I am elevating myself to be an equal to you, not acknowledging my fault—me, created, trying to pardon myself in the view of your Holiness—what a laugh!!
Bring revival, O God. Holy Spirit rain and reign.
Ricky Two Shoes