Monday, January 15, 2007

Leaning On Myself = A Lack of Confidence

Over the past week I've been dealing with a low-grade guilt (as C.J. Mahaney puts it in The Cross Centered Life ). I've been seeing difficulty with the passage in 1 John 1:9 where it says, that God only forgives us when we confess our sins. I've been making that verse LAW instead of seeing it as a GOSPEL truth. I would look at that saying, "I sin all the time; so, that must mean I'm never fully forgiven because I don't know ALL the sins I commit at all times."

In reality, this passage is discussing two truths about the sinfulness of man: 1) We are to acknowledge the fact at all times that we're sinners. 2) We need to agree with God that those sins are treasonous and we desire to grow relationally with our Father. Instead of this verse saying that God's wrath is on His children who do not confess their sins (which could never be the case). We must view this as a verse that helps us to draw closer and closer to our loving Father who desires that we know Him to the fullest!

That said, I came across the prayer "Confidence" from The Valley of Vision . One particular phrase (which will be italicized below) struck me. Very simple yet always profound.

O God, thou art very great,
My lot is to approach thee with godly fear and humble confidence,
for thy condescension equals thy grandeur,
and thy goodness is thy glory.
I am unworthy, but thou dost welcome;
guilty, but thou art merciful;
indigent, but thy riches are unsearchable.
Thou hast shown boundless compassion towards me
by not sparing thy Son,
and by giving me freely all things in him;
This is the foundation of my hope,
the refuge of my safety,
the new and living way to thee,
the means of that conviction of sin,
brokenness of heart, and self-despair,
which will endear to me the gospel....

See, the reality is that we always know we're guilty, but we also know that God is always merciful. He covers our sin in love and then forgives us when we come to Him again with our uncleanness.

Look at Romans 3:23-25: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." We tend to use that for the unsaved world, but do you see that this passage particularly talks of the Christian? It says that all have sinned and all are justified. That's not the unbelieving world. It's those who have been given (received) Christ by faith. And, the beauty of this passage ties in what I want to say: for all have sinned (past tense) and fall short (present tense - continually fall short). But, the reality is that God is boundless in his compassion towards us.

We are justified FREELY because of Christ. Hope in Him. Go to Him and be satisfied in His perfect way.


AgapeTheologian said...

It's so amazing that we are always guilty, but God is always merciful. That is truly amazing.

"We are justified FREELY because of Christ. Hope in Him. Go to Him and be satisfied in His perfect way."


Anonymous said...

Luther said, that the man who can distinguish between Law and Gospel should have the "Doctors" cap placed on his head.

Gage Browning
Post Tenebras Lux

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