For the past couple of years, 1 John 1:5-10 has been the passage that I’ve come back to more than any other. Have a read of it below.
(Heads up: darkness refers to deceit and and light refers to truth and honesty)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
The main reason i keep coming back to this passage is the shocking claim that it makes repeatedly in vs 6, vs 8 AND vs 10. The claim is – If you’re not honest about your sin then you’re not a Christian. 1 John is a book that is written to help us figure out and make sure that we’re Christians, and the first thing that John says is this – if you’re a Christian you must be a sinner and you must confessing that. If we’re not doing that we’re saying that Jesus is liar. Jesus said that we’re sinners who need forgiveness. He died on a cross for us- to forgive our sin. If we don’t admit that we’re sinners, we’re saying that what Jesus said wasn’t true and what he did was pointless. We’re massively minimising what he did on the cross for us and the forgiveness that he bought for us, to the point that we may not even be Christians at all.
(Just for you to keep in mind – later on in the book of John there’s also a second way that we can minimise the cross- and that’s by saying that it’s not powerful enough to turn us from sin, but I’m just looking at chapter 1 in this blog post)
What I’ve come to realise is that the true test in this matter isn’t whether we would ‘theologically’ agree that ‘we’re all sinners’, it’s whether we live our lives honest about who we are, claiming day by day to be nothing more than sinners saved by grace.
So when you sin, when you do something that you’re ashamed of- do you keep it a secret, hiding it away in the darkness, or are you willing to bring it to the light and admitting it freely? (Not to everyone you meet on the street of course – but to a select group of people – like your family and GC or dna or small group members).
What about when someone tells you that you’ve done something wrong – do you get defensive about it- even though you know there’s truth in what they’re saying? Or you willing to accept your own failure?
Most importantly of all – do you lie to cover up your inadequacy? Do you tell white lies to cover it up, trying to deceive people about what type of person you are?
The cross of Jesus frees us to confess our sins and acknowledge our faults because we know that he will forgive us. We have nothing to boast in except the cross of Christ. But if we’re hiding our sin, pretending that we’re good people, do we even trust and believe that he has forgiven us?