“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).
One important way to stay enthusiastic about the Lord—even as an officer—is to “keep short accounts with God,” as one preacher put it. To “keep short accounts” means that when you’ve sinned, you confess it to the Lord right away, so that He’ll forgive and cleanse you, as our verse says.
For the sake of clarity, you have eternal forgiveness for your sins when you receive Jesus as Saviour. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for ALL of your sins. 1 Peter 2:24 says that Jesus “…bare our sins in his own body on the tree,…” That term, “our sins,” means every sin: past, present, and future. So, Jesus even paid for sins not yet committed! We may not understand how that could be, but we can accept God’s Word that He did. If you have Jesus as Saviour, you can be sure that you still have eternal life, even if—or rather when—you sin again.
This other type of forgiveness, though, involves our daily personal fellowship with God. John is addressing saved people, and he even includes himself—”If WE say that WE have no sin…” and “If WE confess OUR sins…” [emphasis mine]. Saved people are still prone to sin, and even though our sin will not send us to hell, it can still damage our lives terribly. We do not need to be “saved again” when we sin, but we do need to confess sin to keep our fellowship with God.
God is still holy, and sin still displeases Him: “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:…“ (Psalm 5:4). Unconfessed sin in a Christian’s life hurts his fellowship with God. Say that an adult child habitually uses profanity in front of his parents. He is still their child, and they love him, but his behavior offends them and hurts his fellowship with them. Unconfessed sin in your life is likewise offensive to your heavenly Father and hurts your fellowship with Him.
Unconfessed sin also hardens your heart against God, and the more you refuse to confess sin, the harder your heart becomes. When God confronted Adam about eating the forbidden fruit, Adam replied, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12). Adam’s heart was hardened. He didn’t admit his sin honestly. He blamed Eve and indirectly blamed God: “The woman WHOM THOU GAVEST…“ [emphasis mine]
Your heavenly Father wants you to have close fellowship with Him, and enjoy a strong, happy, and productive Christian life. Make it a habit to confess known sin so God will forgive and cleanse you of it. If some sin is habitual, don’t give up. Keep asking the Lord for grace and help to break it from your life. Confessing known sin right away, “keeping short accounts with God,” will help you stay in close fellowship with your Saviour and keep your heart on fire for Him.
If you’ve never received Jesus as Saviour and aren’t sure if you have eternal forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven, please click “How do I go to heaven? on the sidebar under Helpful Links.
Brian Miller 2/3/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822